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It is fall and most importantly October. As much as I wanted to share all sorts of Halloween inspired cupcake ideas with you the Cupcakeasaurus household just wasn’t having it. So, I thought maybe we could still stay in at least the autumn theme of things by having a caramel apple inspired cupcake.
There are several of these recipes floating around the internet and I figured I would try one out and see how it goes. Well folks, I’m sad to say that the recipe I found didn’t exactly make me think of caramel apples at first bite. No worries though, because the result was still delicious and still falls in line with the apples of autumn. I just can’t in good conscience name and label it Caramel Apple Cupcakes (even if there are both caramel and apples in the mix) knowing full well you’d expect it to taste like the sticky mess of apples you almost break your teeth on at the fair. Instead of inciting disappointment with mislabeling, I’ll just call this Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes.
So the words “caramel” and “apple” are still in the name but I think this new name definitely better portrays the true flavors. Since cinnamon is such a distinct flavor I think it is essential to include in the name to let folks know what they are getting into before their first bite.
Remember our Apple Bacon Cupcakes and how they could easily be mistaken for a muffin if not iced appropriately? Well, the same could easily be said for these too. At first glance you’d think these are Cinnamon Apple muffins. Don’t let their breakfasty look fool you though; these are full on delicious dessert cupcakes. Without that sticky caramel layer topped with a fluffy cinnamon butter cream, someone could very easily fall into the muffin trap. The whole house smells of apples and cinnamon. Who needs candles when you are a baker? Who needs perfume either for that matter? While lying in bed Captain Cupcakeasaurus leaned in to kiss my forehead and couldn’t help but notice that my hair smelled of baked goods. Of all the things a woman (or dinosaur for that matter) could smell like, I’m pretty sure tasty deliciousness is among one of the best.
I have to let you know up front this is another one of those recipes that has a few more steps than the average Joe recipe. It doesn’t require anything too fancy or complicated but it is more than just mix the ingredients together and pop in an oven.
First things first though. The first majorly important step is to make the base cupcake. Well, there isn’t much we can do without that, is there?
Next comes the extra steps. One of the extra steps is to create this delicious apple compote. That sounds fancy, right? Well, the apple compote is pretty much apple pie filling and adds to the apple-y goodness of these little cakes. This is also the step that really makes your house smell like it was baked in Martha Stewart’s oven. Apple compote just makes you sound like you are a professional pastry chef, never mind the homework clutter on the table or the sink full of dishes beside your work station. Maybe that’s just my work station. And by work station, I mean this little corner of counter space I’ve managed to clear off for myself and put down a cutting board.
Once your cupcakes are nice and cool, using a melon baller, or eyeball scooper (see I can still be Halloweeny), or a knife like I did, scoop out a hole in the middle of the cupcakes. Similar to the Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, make sure not to dig too deep. Apple pie filling on the floor isn’t going to be good for anyone.
Once holes are scooped, just spoon the compote into the holes. No special tools are required. I simply used a regular dining spoon for this part. Even though there are extra steps, it doesn’t mean they all have to be hard.
Alright, so now we have all our cinnamon and apples. Where does the caramel come in? Well, that is another one of those extra steps but it too isn’t that difficult and completely worth the time and effort.
Just melt your caramels with a little bit of milk to get them all melted and smooth. The package says to use water for caramel apples but I felt the milk better suited our needs. Stir constantly because this stuff is super sticky and we definitely don’t want it to burn. And similar to the Apple Compote, just spoon the caramel over the top of each cupcake. I try to aim and cover the Compote holes first and then work my way out to the edge. Warning: the caramel may run off the sides and down the side of your cupcake. Make sure to have the cupcakes on an easy to clean surface just in case you have some caramel spillage.
The final step that really puts the finishing touch on these is the rich buttery Fluffy Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing. It is essential for the butter to be soft because it really allows it to be whipped into shape. This icing is so creamy that I didn’t even use a decorator tip to ice the tops. I just snipped the end off of a disposable pastry bag and swirled it on top of the Caramel Topping. I personally prefer to do a smaller amount of icing on the top so the Caramel Topping is still visible.
These cupcakes may not have been what I was aiming for as far as being a caramel apple on a stick but they certainly delivered on flavor. Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex had one for snack today and even he approves of this delicious Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcake treat.