These caramel apple cupcakes feature an apple cinnamon cake topped with vanilla buttercream frosting, seasonal sprinkles, and a mini caramel apple candy.
If you’ve never made homemade candy, you’ll be surprised at how easy and rewarding it can be. Since the caramel gets up to 245 degrees, don’t let kids help until it has cooled to the touch; then, they’ll love making the little caramel balls. Also, be sure to wait until just before serving to put the candies on the cupcakes. The moist frosting will melt the candies just like putting them in your mouth.
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Apple Cinnamon Cupcake
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup apple butter
1 cup (about 1 medium-sized apple) of your favorite variety of apple, peeled and finely chopped (save the apple peel to make the candies)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in eggs and yogurt until blended.
5. Alternately fold in flour mixture and apple butter, beginning and ending with flour.
6. Fold in the chopped apples.
7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream
1. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Mix in vanilla and milk or cream.
Mini Caramel Apple Candy Recipe
1 cup heavy whipping cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup hard apple cider
Peels from one to two medium apples
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4” wood skewers (available at cooking stores or hobby shops)
1. Grease an 8x8 inch baking dish.
2. Fill a small bowl with the cinnamon and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, bring cream and butter to a boil, whisking occasionally.
4. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the cider, corn syrup, and sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
6. Continue boiling until mixture is a light, golden caramel.
7. Add the cream mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until candy reaches 245 degrees (known as the soft-ball stage). To test if the candy will be the correct consistency, drop some of the mixture into a cup of cold water. It should form a soft ball that is about the consistency that you want the final candy to be.
8. Pour the candy into the prepared baking dish.
9. Allow to cool for about five minutes or until you can comfortably touch it.
10. Working quickly, use a melon baller or your hands to make small balls of caramel. If the caramel gets too hard to work with, you can microwave the baking dish for one minute to soften it. Note that you will end up with many more candies than cupcakes.
11. Use a skewer to attach small pieces of apple peel to the top of each caramel ball.
12. Dip the bottom of each skewered caramel ball in the bowl of cinnamon.
13. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.
Stefani Pollack is the author of the popular cupcake blog, Cupcake Project. While she loves simple chocolate cupcakes, Stefani prefers creative cupcakes inspired by her favorite flavor combinations. She encourages her readers to branch out and experiment in the kitchen. Why cupcakes? They bring out the kid in us! Visit Stefani at www.cupcakeproject.com