A Fall Kind of Baking Day: Caramel Apple Cupcakes

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I know that cupcakes are passe. Cupcakes are over and everyone is on to something else, like gourmet cream puffs or I don’t know what. But me, I’ve only just discovered how much fun cupcakes are, and how creative you can get while making these. And I am nothing if not totally off trend. Or, as my father would have said, “beyond cool.”

I’ve been having a blast while experimenting with the cupcakes. Today it was really chilly outside. Like autumn has hit us like a kick in the ass and it might even snow tonight (ugh), so I thought I’d warm things up with Caramel Apple Cupcakes.

These are pretty easy to make and look pretty cute to boot. I found the recipe on The Recipe Critic‘s website. I doubled the recipe, but did one batch with gluten-free flour in order to accommodate several of Z’s family who are Celiac.

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar*

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2-3 Granny Smith or Rome apples (about 1 pound), peeled and shredded

1-1/2 cups chewy caramel candies

1 Tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350o F. Line a cupcake pan with baking liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

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Grate your apples to ensure you’ll get apple with every bite of caramel. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugars until smooth. Whisk in the oil and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture until just combined; stir in the apples.

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Spoon the batter into the prepared pan until almost full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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In a small, microwavable bowl, combine the caramels and cream. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each one until caramel is melted and smooth.

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The recipe suggests dipping the cupcakes in the caramel, but I found that by spooning the caramel on top to get a thicker, more appealing look. Stick a popsicle stick into them for the adorable effect, and you have a gorgeous cupcake, perfect for a fall party.

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A note about brown sugar. No matter what I do, I seem incapable of keeping my brown sugar moist. It always takes on the consistency of cement, pretty much overnight. I know you’re supposed to keep it sealed, I know there’s tricks involving the freezer, or apples, but I’m not really sure. Let’s say that maintaining brown sugar is not my forte.

So when I went to grab my brown sugar today to make these cupcakes, I was frustrated but not surprised to find a sugar-rock (you’d think I’d check beforehand, but no. I like the challenge.) I looked up how to soften brown sugar immediately, and found a nifty trick that I can almost guarantee I will use again. Put the chunk of sugar rock you want to use into a microwave-safe Ziploc bag with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 5-10 seconds at a time until the sugar softens. I didn’t take long at all, and I was so happy that I didn’t have to jog to the store in the middle of my cupcakes with an angry baby. Everybody wins.

Word of the day:

Alienable: capable of being sold or transferred

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