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.
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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