These caramel apple cupcakes are the perfect fall dessert. Bite into one and you’ll be rewarded with a rich caramel apple filling.
These cupcakes have a spice cake base with caramel apple filling and caramel frosting. I’ve crowd tested these cupcakes and they’re a huge hit!
Caramel apples have always been a favorite of mine, but they were put on the no fly list when I got braces, years ago. If I wanted to taste my favorite fall combination again, I’d have to adapt.
These cupcakes are so much easier on the teeth than a caramel apple, and they’re just as fun to eat. We also love this salted caramel apple crisp.
My first round of taste testers, Melissa and Brendan, who sampled the first version of these, offered feedback that helped me improve upon them. It was Melissa’s idea to use a pound cake batter instead of a regular cupcake batter, so we have her to thank for this delicious outcome.
How to Make Caramel Apple Cupcakes
First, preheat the oven to 350° F. Then line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers. I used orange cupcake lines, but I think solid black or white or even brown would work well with this design.
In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix together.
Resist the urge to over mix. Beat just until the flour is incorporated.
Fill the cupcake tins 2/3 full and put the tin in the oven to bake for 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Take them out of the oven and place onto a wire rack to cook.
How to Make the Caramel Apple Sauce
For the caramel sauce, add brown sugar and water into a small pot. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 240° F, then remove from heat.
Add the butter, salt, and heavy cream and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature then add the rum extract.
Pour half the caramel sauce into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and leave half in the pot.
Peel the apples and finely dice them. Add the apples to the pot with the caramel sauce and bring to a low boil. Cook just until the apples are tender, then remove the pot from the heat.
How to Make the Frosting
Add the butter for the frosting into the bowl. Add the powdered sugar in ½ cup increments, beating after each addition.
Once all the sugar is added, turn the speed on the beater up to high and whip for five minutes or until fluffy.
Once the cupcakes are cooked, you can assemble them.
Core the cupcakes using a cupcake corer or a spoon. Don’t scoop out too much, just a little well in which to put a tsp of caramel apple filling. I like to do this in stages, so I core all the cupcakes first, then spoon in the filling, dividing it equally among the cupcakes. Then I frost from all.
As a garnish, just before serving, I drizzle some of the remaining caramel sauce over the top of the cupcakes.
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Caramel Apple Cupcakes
For Pound Cake
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 c sour cream
For Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 tsp rum extract
- 2 apples peeled and finely diced
- caramel for drizzling
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Fill a cupcake tin with wrappers. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and combine. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Alternately add flour and sour cream to the mixture and mix until incorporated. Fill each cupcake wrapper ⅔ full and bake for 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
- For the caramel sauce add the brown sugar and water into a small pot, stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 240° Fahrenheit, remove from heat. Add the butter, salt, and heavy cream and stir together. Let cool to room temperature. Add the rum extract. Pour half the caramel sauce into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and leave half in the pot.
- Peel and dice the apples and add to the pot. Cook until the apples are tender.
- Add the butter into the bowl with the remaining caramel sauce. Beat until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar in ½ cup increments, beating until combined between each addition. Then turn the speed on the beater up to high and whip for five minutes or until fluffy.
- Core the cupcake and fill with apple mixture. Frost with the buttercream and drizzle with caramel.