Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I attempted to make Caramel Apple Cupcakes. I ended up with pound cake cupcakes with a caramel apple sauce.  They were delicious, don't get me wrong- but not at all what I had been going for. So, after apple picking last weekend, I thought I'd give them another shot.  I wanted a real cupcake, with icing, and filled with the apple mixture.  The lesson learned?  I have some tasty ideas...but my execution needs some work :-)

I set out to make delicious cupcakes first and foremost, so I turned to my favorite baker- Beantown Baker who I knew had a fantastic golden cupcake recipe on her blog. I gotta say- for all your baking needs- please refer to Ms. Beantown- she has some of the most incredibly delicious recipes over there.  I'm actually not allowed to view her site before lunch- because Ill run out and start buying cupcakes and brownies like the world is ending.  But I digress...  I made her Yellow Cupcakes.

Yellow Cupcakes -Stolen from Beantown Baker-makes 24

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 cupcake liners in two muffin pans. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

Divide batter between the prepared pans. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then place them on cooling racks until they are completely cooled.

As they cooled, I made more caramel (like I need that in my house).  I used, again, the recipe for Salted Caramel from the Smitten Kitchen. That lady knows how to make Caramel! 

Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce [Sauce au Caramel au Beurre Salé] Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen

3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, the better you can get, the better it will taste---I used unsalted butter and then added 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp of salt

1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.

You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 60 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.

Caramel Apple Sauce

2 small semi tart apples, cored and chopped.
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup caramel sauce (recipe above)
In a saute pan over low heat melt the butter and add the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add the apples, and stir until they are coated with the spice mixture and just slightly tender. Add the caramel sauce and stir until combined.
After the cupcakes had cooled I then cut a shallow core in the middle of each from the top down, and then pulled out the freed cake.  I sliced off the bottle of each core until about a half inch of cake from the top of the cupcake remained.  I spooned in a bit of the caramel apple sauce into the cavity of each and then topped it with the removed piece of cake. 
Then I iced each one.  I have
never really used a pastry bag before for icing so this was a new experience for me.  Luckily, my friend who tried these out with me said they looked professional-even if that was a lie- it's good enough for me!

I selected a cream cheese icing, pairing the tang of the cream cheese with the sweetness of the caramel.  I wanted to tie it even more together though, so I went looking for a cream cheese frosting that could also incorporate cider-to echo that apple filling. 
I loosely based my cream cheese frosting recipe from these, and worked mainly with the recipe using 3 oz of cream cheese.
1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons apple cider

Cream together the cream cheese and butter.
Add confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla and the cider.

These were a really delicious cupcake.  The golden cake was soft, sweet, and had a wonderful flavor of vanilla.  The apples added wonderful texture and flavor, a bit of surprise in the center of a "typical" looking cupcake.  I would, however use a different cream cheese frosting recipe.  The one above was too sweet, without enough tang from the cream cheese.  Also the cider flavor wasn't as prevalent as I would have liked.

All in all though- I love the idea behind this cup cake, and I will absolutely make it again. 


Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

WOW, these look absolutely stunning and delicious. I love the apples inside and the frosting looks gorgeous. Can I come over?! :)

Anonymous said...

I dont know about needing work because these look amazing!!! The apples in the center of the cakes is fantastic!

In and Around Town said...

For all your talk about not being a baker you have done some amazing things! These cupcakes are beautiful and I love the surprise apples on the inside! Great job!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

These look delicious!! I posted about salted caramel (actually salted dulce de leche) today too!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Looks great!!

Delicious Dishings said...

They look gorgeous! I love how they have that amazing apple filling. I made caramel buttercream recently and was pretty obsessed with it.

Elizabeth said...

So, can I have one? ;) They look fantastic! I love the apple filling.

Jen said...

Thanks for the kind words :) These cupcakes look AMAZING. I love the combination of flavors. I might have to try these myself.

Anonymous said...

post is so nice i like it

Amanda L @Tales from a Kitchen Misfit said...

Yum! These remind me of a similar cupcake I had at Sweet!

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