Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Caramel apple cupcakes: so perfect for fall! Subtly spiced apple cake, salted caramel buttercream, caramel sauce, & a sprinkling of chopped peanuts!
It’s really feeling like fall now! Boy things have cooled off nicely, and I’m starting to see the leaves falling. This morning was cool and foggy, and I needed a thick fleece to walk my kids to school.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really starting to feel the caramel apple vibe.
Caramel apples have always been a favorite fall treat for me. I pick them up in the produce section every year at this time, and I’ve even made them myself! I especially love the kind that are covered with crushed peanuts. It’s such a great flavor combo and I love all the textures too!
But for today’s recipe, we are making a cupcake version! Caramel apple cupcakes, how yum, right?
So it’s a moist apple cake on the bottom, with just a hint of cinnamon to bring out the fall flavors. Super-simple to make and they bake up perfectly every time. You can use any kind of apple that holds up well for baking, but my favorites are Granny Smith or Honeycrisp.
You’re going to love what the caramel sauce does to the texture of this frosting. It’s really fluffy and creamy, and nice and stable. Just make sure the caramel sauce is COMPLETELY cool before adding it, otherwise it will melt the butter and your frosting will be way runny.
For garnish, reserve a little of that sauce to drizzle on top, and then add a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. Just like the caramel apples that inspired these cupcakes!
These would be so much fun for a Halloween party, or really for any fall get-together. I hope you’ll give the recipe a try!
More great cupcake recipes on my “Cupcake Recipes” Pinterest board!
This post contains affiliate sales links.
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
For the apple cupcakes
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (165 g) light brown sugar,, lightly packed
- 2/3 cup (83.33 g) cake flour*
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking owder
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (74.67 g) oil
- 1/3 cup (78.67 g) apple cider
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) lemon zest, (zest from about 1 lemon)
- 1 1/2 cup (187.5 g) shredded apple**
For the toppings
- 1/2 cup (119 g) heavy cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (36.97 g) unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) anywhere from 3/4 kosher salt, (up to 1 teaspoon, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 18 tablespoons (266.16 g) unsalted butter,, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (180 g) powdered sugar
- optional: additional pinch of kosher salt,, to taste
- 1/3 cup (48.67 g) salted peanuts,, finely chopped
To make the apple cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and line cupcake tins with papers.
- Place the flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the oil, apple cider, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest in a large liquid measuring cup, and whisk to combine.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, and mix together on medium speed for about 1 minute.
- Fold in the shredded apple.
- Divide the batter equally between all 18 lined wells of the cupcake tin.
- Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of a cupcake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool completely before topping and garnishing.
To make the toppings:
- In a small pot, gently heat the cream, butter, and salt until the butter has melted and the salt has completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- In a larger pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat over a medium high flame, swirling the pot occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.
- Continue to boil the sugar mixture until the bubbles begin to get smaller and it becomes amber-colored.
- Reduce the heat to low, and pour in the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps or crystals.
- Immediately transfer the hot mixture to a heat-safe vessel and cool completely.
- Place the butter, powdered sugar, and additional salt (if using) in a large mixing bowl and whip together until pale and very fluffy.
- Add about 3/4 of the cooled caramel sauce, continuing to whip until well incorporated.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes, drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce, and top with chopped peanuts.