Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Okay, it’s official. I have a new favorite cupcake, and this is it.

Ready for their close up

I was super lucky to have been invited to bake all the cupcakes for my friend Meg’s wedding in Vermont, now officially one week ago. I’ve never done anything of that size or scale before, so I was my usual ball of stress worrying about it…but overall the whole endeavor was entirely successful! I ended up making five types of cupcakes, all of which will be featured on this blog if I haven’t posted them already. They were:

In short, so much fun experimenting with new cupcakes, and I was more than happy to do this for two of my favorite people. They also dealt with my stress, because I’ve never done anything of this size before, and I was determined to make sure that the cupcakes were the best! 🙂 But, judging by the line at the dessert stand, it went even better than expected…

Since the wedding was in Vermont, in the early fall (though since it’s VT, it feels like fall year-round I imagine!), I had to do an apple cupcake. It was my first time in VT, and I have to admit that I imagined VT to be like this fall paradise, with apples everywhere, maple syrup coming out of every tree (apparently it only comes out of maple trees….) and everyone driving through covered bridges and eating cheese. Well, it was very much like my imagination, and even better in some instances. So many small towns that were incredible, and everywhere was quite obsesses with VT-made products! I ended up flying back to Liberia with maple syrup, maple pepper, maple pumpkin butter, cheese, etc etc etc. And I definitely more than ate my weight in VT products during the weekend as well. 🙂

So in honor of Vermont, apples, and fall, enjoy these delicious cupcakes!

On Display

Apple Cupcakes

Makes two dozen cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup applesauce, at room temperature
2 large eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 peeled and cored Granny Smith apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit/178 degrees celsius.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, blend together the butter, sugar and applesauce until well blended and fluffy-ish, about 1 minute. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing with the hand mixer until combined after each egg. Blend in lemon juice and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

For the apples: I used one of the fancy peeler and corer machines that look like antique torture devices, and you can find them at many baking stores, including Williams Sonoma. After the apples were peeled and cored, I sliced into quarters – taking the apple, slice once down the middle, and another time down the middle the opposite direction, until the apple is in quarters. The slices should be chunkier, which I think packs much more apple goodness into these amazing cupcakes.

Fold in the sliced apples into the batter mixture. With a spoon, divide batter among paper lined muffin cups filling each cup about 2/3 full. The batter will be very chunky with the larger apple slices, so make sure to get enough batter and apples in each cupcake liner.

Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven for 17 – 19 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Caramel Frosting

1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup Caramel Sauce, recipe follows (cooled completely)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Using either a hand mixer or the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the caramel sauce and vanilla, and beat the mixture until thoroughly mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing between each cup.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup salted butter
2/3 cup heavy cream

First, place all the ingredients next to the stove, and measure out the heavy cream and butter, as you’ll need to add them quickly. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, first heat the sugar and water over moderately high heat. Using a whisk, stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Once the mixture begins to boil, watch the mixture as it continues to boil, swirling the pan lightly a few times, until it reaches a dark amber color.

At this point you will want to use an oven mitt before adding the next two ingredients, as the mixture will steam up, and potentially burn your hand (speaking from experience here!). With the oven mitt on, once the mixture turns a dark amber color, immediately add the butter and whisk until butter has melted. As soon as the butter is melted, immediately remove from heat. Wait three seconds then carefully pour in cream (still with the oven mitt on) and immediately whisk to combine. The mixture will bubble up, and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Allow caramel to cool several minutes in the saucepan, then pour into a glass jar to cool completely.

close up wedding

To Assemble

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes using either a decorating tool, or with a spoon. Using either the tip of a spoon or a plastic baggie with the end snipped off, drizzle each cupcake with the leftover caramel sauce. Then sprinkle sea salt over the tops of the cupcakes, and enjoy!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. PJ Sassifras says:

    Oh YUM! The little toppers are adorable, too. You’re so brave to do a wedding! I can’t wait to try these. I’ll be watching for the Maple Bourbon Pumpkin recipe, too.

    1. I still can’t believe I did a wedding either! And crazily enough, I am doing another one in May, where I am also a bridesmaid…I’m starting to stress about it already! 🙂 Thanks for the compliments, as always – so appreciated!!

      1. PJ Sassifras says:

        From what I’ve see, I’m sure you’ve got it covered, but check out this post : http://beyondfrosting.com/2013/06/28/diy-wedding-cupcakes/

        She baked cupcakes for a 300 person wedding and has some great advice. Godspeed and get a cute apron to match your bridesmaid’s dress! 🙂

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