Monday, January 28, 2013

Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Since I made the frosting look spiky, I obviously didn't need to do any other decoration.

Halloween is a glorious time of year where you get to dress funny and accept candy from total strangers (owners of windowless vans rejoice!)! This year I wanted to commemorate the glory that is a caramel apple by forever immortalizing it in a cupcake. The result was a teeth bustingly good combination of salty and sweet that will become a staple of my Halloween repertoire for years to come. (See, we're totally catching up to the present with these blog posts. Last week was Labor Day and now we're practically in November!)

Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Modified from Cupcake Wars
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Time: 45 minutes

2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and chopped
2 Fuji apples, cored, peeled and chopped
Salted Caramel (recipe follows)
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Your house will deceptively smell like apple pie, leaving you longing for pie and eating to cope.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. Combine the sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla extract in a stand mixer at medium speed.
  3. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and mix over low speed until just incorporated.
  5. Stir in the apples.
  6. Fill lined cupcake tins 2/3 of the way with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when touched (the toothpick test is a little tricky because of the apples). 
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  8. Top with salted caramel and let cool.
  9. Pipe on the cream cheese frosting.
The apples may have hurt the structural integrity of the cupcakes, but they really bursted with flavor.
The cupcake itself is fantastic even without the toppings (trick your friends into believing they're healthy muffins!). Any time you can combine apples, cinnamon and butter, you are instantly transported to the magical land of apple pie, and that is always a good thing.

Salted Caramel
Previously seen in Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes
Time: 15 minutes + cooling

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Sadly, attempts to bob for apples in the caramel were a colossal failure that wreaked havoc on my beard.
  1. Stir the sugar, water and corn syrup together in a medium-sized sauce pan (make sure there's plenty of extra room to avoid scolding hot sugar).
  2. Bring to a boil and occasionally swirl (do not stir).
  3. Remove from heat when the mixture gets a hint of amber color to avoid burning (it will rapidly change once it hits amber).
  4. Carefully add the cream in a slow, steady stream and stir with a long wooden spoon. Wear a cooking mitt and be wary of the steam.
  5. Stir in the butter and salt then let cool to room temperature.
Whenever a recipe calls for caramel and I'm not feeling overly lazy, I always rely on this salted caramel to deliver a winner. The delicious smooth caramel is perfectly sweet and gooey, while the bites of sea salt make it unforgettable. 

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Time: 5 minutes

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt

All my frosting pictures may look the same, but I guarantee they're all uniquely delightful.
  1. Beat the cream cheese with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer over medium speed. 
  2. Add the butter and vanilla extract and  beat until well mixed.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar and salt until smooth. 
I then proceeded to lick the tops of each cupcake. Trick or treat indeed.
This unassuming looking cupcake may not win any costume contests, but it'll hold a special place in your party guests' hearts. That cinnamony apple goodness and vanilla cream cheese provide a wonderfully sweet combination that is balanced beautifully by the salted caramel. When I set out to make a caramel apple cupcake, this is exactly what I was hoping for. Stick around to find out if this apply delight reigned supreme over my other act of cupcakery, The Reese's Peanut Butter Cupcake, on All Hallows' Eve.

No comments:

Post a Comment