Cupcakes are a popular way to showcase seasonal flavours and themes, and understandably so! They’re cute and small, and the decorating options are endless. When I found out that apples were our #FoodieMamas ingredient for September I knew cupcakes were the perfect choice! These Apple Caramel Cupcakes are sweet and delicious with an apple and spice-infused base and beautifully fluffy homemade caramel buttercream frosting. Garnish them with a homemade apple chip and you’ve got a gorgeous fall treat that no one can resist!
The caramel sauce recipe was inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s Easy Caramel Sauce, but the rest of this recipe is my own.
For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup milk
2 apples, cut into small chunks
For the caramel buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter
5 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp whole milk
a pinch of sea salt
1 cup brown sugar
7 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
a pinch of sea salt
3-4 drops of vanilla extract
It’s a good idea to start by making the caramel sauce since it will need time to cool before you use it. Add the brown sugar, 7 tbsp unsalted butter, whole milk, sea salt and vanilla extract to a medium saucepan over medium heat. As the pan heats up, whisk the mixture over the heat continuously as it begins to bubble and boil. Continue whisking the caramel mixture over the heat for about 7 minutes. Over this time you’ll notice it become smooth and a little bit thicker and once this happens, transfer the caramel sauce to a jar and stick it in the fridge to cool completely.
While the caramel is cooling you can begin preparing your cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix them together on medium-high speed until the mixture is creamy and smooth (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed until everything is combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger and whisk these ingredients together with a wire whisk. Add half the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Add 1/2 cup of milk and mix on low speed just until combined. Repeat this process with the remaining flour mixture and then the remaining milk. Be very careful not to over-mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly.
Chop the apples into small chunks and add them to the cupcake batter. I don’t bother peeling the apples because, well, I hate peeling (it’s my least favourite kitchen chore), but leaving the peel on also creates a really nice appearance to these cupcakes.
Gently stir the apple chunks into the batter just until they’re distributed evenly throughout and spoon the batter into the 18 muffin cups you’ve prepared with paper liners.
Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and set them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, you can begin to prepare the frosting by adding 1 cup of unsalted butter to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip the butter on high speed for about 2-3 minutes or until you notice it is very creamy and smooth and it turns pale. Add the cooled caramel sauce to the butter and mix these together on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth. The caramel must be cool when you do this! If it’s even a little bit warm it will change the texture of the butter and make the frosting too soft and runny to pipe. If you’re worried about this, it’s a good idea to make the caramel sauce the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Once the caramel and the butter have been combined add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Once all the icing sugar has been added and the mixture is smooth, add the pinch of salt and add the milk 1 tbsp at a time and whip the frosting on high speed until it becomes fluffy and light.
Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes in a circular motion (only once they’ve cooled to room temperature!).
The perfect garnish for these cupcakes is a homemade apple chip. My recipe is easy and fun to make, and it really adds a little something special to these cupcakes! Once the cupcakes are frosted, lightly press an apple chip into the side of the frosting, and serve!
These Apple Caramel Cupcakes are just so delicious and perfect for fall, and the apple chip garnish just adds a little something special.
These cupcakes are a great fall treat and at 13 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per cupcake, you’re going to want to save these for a special day. But they’re so delicious, and if you’re an apple-lover you’ll definitely want to try them!
I hope you enjoyed my #foodiemamas recipe for the month of September! Check out the other #foodiemamas apple recipes I have linked below!
Doesn’t Sabrina’s Armenian Apple Chunk Cake look fantastic? She blogs over at Dinner, Then Dessert and if you’re not already following her blog, you should be!