Monday, August 27, 2012

Caramel Apple Cupcakes {Recipe}

Yummy caramel apple cupcakes, perfect for fall. I absolutely love this cake with this icing, and in cupcake form, you get even more icing per bite! Perfect!

What You Need (for the cupcakes)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 medium apples, peeled (two grated, one diced)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

What You Need (for the icing)
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature, divided)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (at room temperature)
4 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes with enough icing to cover them all with tall swirls-- and maybe a little extra for snacking.

To Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees (F).

You can begin by grating and dicing the apples, if you wish, but know that the grated ones get brown in less than 5 minutes, so be sure you are ready with everything else. I actually waited until just before I added them to grate them. You want to grate two apples, and dice one.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar, until it is fluffy (about 2-3 minutes on medium speed).

Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until it is runny and smooth.

Add the grated apples, and mix until combined. Then add the flour, and mix until combined.
Finally, add the diced apples, and again mix until combined.

Scoop 1/4 cup batter into cupcake liners.
Please Note: This is not a standard ice cream scoop. It's a smaller dough scoop that is just a bit smaller than 1/4 cup.

Bake at 350-degrees (F) for 15-20 minutes. (They do bake a little darker than most cupcakes.)

While the cupcakes cool, make your icing:
Click the link to see my complete, step-by-step tutorial for making this kind of icing, called Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Heat 1 cup of granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, until the sugar is brown and caramelized. (This took about 5-7 minutes for me.)
Add 4 Tbsp. of butter and stir until smooth.
Pour into warmed heavy cream and stir (again) until smooth.
You need to let this COOL to room temperature. If you pour it in the icing while it's still warm, you will have soup, not icing. (Take my word for it... I've done it three times now because I'm so impatient.)

While the caramel sauce cools, combine your egg whites and brown sugar in a heat-proof mixing bowl set over simmering water. Whisk constantly, until the mixture reaches 160-degrees on a candy thermometer. (This takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on how long you let your eggs sit out before you start.)

Allow the egg white mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before you whip them until stiff peaks form. In my Kitchen Aid, that usually takes about 4-5 minutes. I'm told it's much longer with a hand mixer.

Add the butter and 3/4 cup of the cooled caramel sauce. Mix with the paddle attachment (if you have one) for another 4-5 minutes until it again forms a peak. It will turn to soup first. However, you know your caramel sauce was too warm and it's melted your butter if after 5-7 minutes, you still have soup and not icing. If this happens to you, put the bowl in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes, and try again. It can still work out.
(Sorry for the lack of photos of the icing. Apparently I didn't take any!)

Pipe a swirl on the cupcakes using tip #1M, and drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce.
Click the link to see my complete tutorial on how to make an icing swirl on top of a cupcake.


You can also make these cute little apple cupcakes using this recipe.
Click here to see the Back-to-School Apple Cupcake Tutorial.

Click the Links Below to See:
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Tutorial
How to Make an Icing Swirl on a Cupcake
Other Cupcake Ideas/Recipes

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