It’s supposed to be fall, but today we went to the park and I was almost sweating because of how warm it was. Anyone else? It’s already November, so if fall doesn’t start soon, I’m afraid it’s just going to jump straight to winter and start snowing! Before we went to the park, we had a big shopping trip at Ikea. Since we recently moved from Utah to Kansas City, and bought our first house, we’ve become loyal Ikea shoppers. I have three kids, where two can (and do) wreak havoc, and one is about 6 months away from it. I love that I can buy a cheap table and chairs, where I don’t have to freak out when the kids draw all over it with markers. As in, that’s a true story, the dining room bench is covered in marker…
Anyways, I used to love strolling around Ikea, looking at the cute rooms, thinking someday I’d have my own house where I can have a cute little this and pretty little that. Now my husband and I throw our oldest in Smaland and then do a mad dash through the top floor to check everything out before our one hour is up and we have to pick her up. Then we are dragging three kids through the bottom floor and pushing two giant carts full of stuff while trying to keep their hands away from the glass bottles and plates and and and… Basically it’s crazy and it wipes us out for the rest of the day!
But the point is, we got a system of shelves for our kitchen, which is AWESOME because right now I hardly have any storage, and everything is sitting on the floor. Not feeling very moved in yet! I’m so excited to actually have enough room to put all my stuff! Maybe I’ll put a picture up when everything is set up… if it looks good. Crossing my fingers.
So these cupcakes are wonder-fall (okay sorry, that really wasn’t funny). They are made with a basic cupcake batter, but there are big chunks of caramelized apples in them! And to top it off (literally), I made some caramel whipped cream. I love buttercream, and it’s great on cupcakes, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I just want a light whipped cream topping. This one is amazing, because it’s made with caramelized sugar! I personally like to caramelize my sugar to the point where it’s a little burnt, so it has a bit of a bitter flavor to it. Actually, I took these to my husband’s work and some of his coworkers thought it was coffee flavor! I guess it’s the bitter notes that threw them off. If you don’t like bitter, then just don’t caramelize the sugar for as long, and you’ll be a-okay.
To make the caramelized apple, I threw some sugar and a little water in a small saucepan and caramelized the sugar. I added some butter and then added the apple, halved and cored, and mixed it around until the sauce penetrated it and the outside started to soften juuust a bit. I like using halves, and chopping it later, because then you have firm apple on the inside, while you still get the caramelized flavor on the outside. If you chop it up first and then caramelize it, the apple will get too soft and then they kind of just turn to mush when you bake it. I want to bite into apple chunk, not apple mush! I also decided to forgo spice in this recipe. While I like apple spice, I feel like everything is pumpkin spice or apple spice in the fall, and I wanted to make something that was just a clean caramel apple taste. But if you must have spice, feel free to add a little cinnamon and nutmeg, or whatever else you want.
P.S. I realized AFTER I took all of my pictures, that the caramelized apples I garnished with kind of look like daikon radish. Oops! I’d recommend garnishing with fresh apples!
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
These cupcakes have caramelized apple chunks in them and are topped with a delicious caramel whipped cream.
- 2 T sugar
- 1 T butter
- 1 apple Fuji, or a baking friendly apple
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 6 T butter room tempaerature
- 2 eggs
- 1 T vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
Caramel Whipped Cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 T water
- 1 cup cream
Make the caramel whipped cream: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir to melt the sugar until mixture starts to simmer. Stop stirring, and let the sugar caramelize. When sugar is a deep amber color, remove from heat and slowly add cream while stirring (it will hiss and bubble up). When all of the cream has been added, return to heat and stir until fully combined. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool and place in refrigerator to fully cool.
Make the caramelized apple: Peel, cut in half, and core one apple. Stir 2T of sugar and a couple teaspoons of water together in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Let sugar caramelize without stirring, and add butter when sugar is amber colored. Once butter is melted, add the apple halves and stir to coat. Once the apple is slightly softened on the outside, remove from heat and set aside. When cool, chop into pieces, to be folded into cupcake batter.
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 12 cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add egg one at a time and beat well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla, and slowly stir in milk. When combined, add the flour mixture and stir/fold to combine, making sure not to over-stir. Fold in the chopped apples. Spoon into cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
When cupcakes are completely cool, beat the caramel whipping cream until medium stiff. Pipe caramel whipped cream onto cupcakes and garnish with a piece of apple (if using fresh apple, make sure to treat with lemon or salt water so it doesn't brown).