Caramel Apple Cupcakes by Cheryl Porro

These luscious cupcakes are a childhood treat reinvented for the kid in all of us. Welcome fall with a few friends by baking up a batch of these challenging, yet satisfying goodies. The soft, tart apple shines through the spiced, not-so-sweet cake. The cream cheese filling lends a sweet smoothness. All this is topped with a robe of chewy, sweet and slightly salty caramel.

Be sure to bake, cool and stuff the cupcakes before starting the caramel. You want the cupcakes ready and waiting as soon as the caramel comes off the stove.

Please note: you will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

Apple Cupcakes

9 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2-3 apples, Granny Smith
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Rinse and core the apples. Place them on an ovenproof pan or baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft. Remove the apples from the oven, let cool slightly, then remove peel and mush the apple with the back of a fork. Measure out one cup of apple mush and set aside to cool.

Combine flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine. Crack the eggs into a separate medium-sized bowl and beat with a fork to break up. Add the oil, apple juice, vanilla and cooled apple mush and mix to combine. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until all ingredients come together.

Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full so cupcakes will have a significant dome. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Filling
1/4 stick butter
4 ounces Philly cream cheese
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring the butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for one or two hours. Then
beat the butter vigorously with an electric mixer. Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Thick Caramel

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk to a boil over medium-high heat. With a wooden spoon, stir together and then slowly add the heavy cream. Continue to stir for about 20 minutes until the caramel has reached 248 degrees. It is important to continuously stir the mixture and to allow it to reach this temperature.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer to a bowl and continue to stir for two to three minutes, allowing the caramel to cool slightly.


Using a small pairing knife,
cut a cone shape out of the top of each cupcake. Flip the cone and cut off the excess cake. Save the top for later. Fill each cavity with a teaspoon or so of cream cheese filling. Replace the top of each cupcake pressing down firmly to adhere the top to the filling.

Using a small offset spatula, frost each cupcake with the caramel. If desired, sprinkle warm caramel with toppings, such as coconut or crushed nuts. Transfer the cupcake into the freezer to allow the caramel to set without dripping over the edge of the cupcake paper.

Continue frosting and topping the cupcakes and try to work fast. As the caramel cools, it becomes less easy to spread. If possible, work in pairs and let your helper top the cupcakes and transfer them to the freezer. By the time you reach the last few cupcakes, you will no longer need to freeze them and you can take all the cupcakes out and transfer them to the counter.

Top off each cupcake with a popsicle or craft stick to finish off the look.

Cheryl Porro is the cupcake genius behind Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit at www.cupcakeblog.com.



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