Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

Apple and caramel are pretty simple ingredients, but when combined they are a delectable treat. Top off these cupcakes with toasted pecans to create a traditional fall favorite. We love to add the tiny crab apples as a garnish for extra-special occasions.

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Recipe from Southern Living Big Book of Cupcakes

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Ingredients

  • Fresh Apple Cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • Paper baking cups
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Old-Fashioned Caramel Frosting:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (16-oz.) package dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Toppings:
  • Toasted pecans
  • Fresh crab apples (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple. Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.
  2. To prepare frosting, melt butter in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in evaporated milk, baking soda, and corn syrup; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let cool completely (about 1 hour). Transfer to a bowl. Gradually add powdered sugar to caramel mixture, beating at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. Use immediately. Makes 3 cups.
  3. Frost each cupcake with Old-Fashioned Caramel Frosting. Top each with toasted pecans and, if desired, 1 fresh crab apple.
Note:

Most of the time at Dreamcakes we toast pecans and other nuts before using them because toasting really brings out the flavor. You can toast them in a skillet over medium-high heat, tossing them until you begin to detect their aroma, or bake them at 350 degrees about 4 to 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.

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