Apple Cinnamon Caramel Cupcakes

I love caramel! I also love caramel apples, so I thought I would try and create a cupcake that reminded me of fall. This is what I came up with. An apple spiced cupcake, with a cinnamon Swiss Meringue buttercream, topped with a homemade caramel. This recipe came together using recipes from several sources, but to make it easy, I added everything here. Click on the link in the titles to get to the original site.

Salted Caramel Topping

200g granulated sugar
90g unsalted butter
120ml heavy cream
½ – 1 teaspoon sea salt, start with less and taste before adding more

Steps

  1. Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
  2. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
  3. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes. If you notice the butter separating, remove from heat and vigorously whisk to combine it again. (If you’re nervous for splatter, wear kitchen gloves.)
  4. Very slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Caramel thickens as it cools.

Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

200g egg whites
250g granulated sugar
454g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Steps

  1. In a medium pot, add about 1-inch of water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Thoroughly wash and dry the stainless steel mixing bowl from your stand mixer (you don’t want any fat touching meringue). Add egg whites and sugar and whisk together. Place mixing bowl over pot of barely simmering water, creating a seal over the pot (bowl should be over the steam, not touching water). Whisk constantly until sugar/egg white mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 minutes). Sugar should be fully dissolved (you should not feel any sugar granules when rubbing mixture between fingers), and mixture will feel hot to the touch.
  3. Wipe water from bottom of mixing bowl and transfer bowl to your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (about 15-20 minutes) and the bottom of the bowl feels completely at room temperature and not warm (important: if meringue is warm, it will melt the butter).
  4. Once bowl is at room temperature, switch to paddle attachment, reduce to medium speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time, adding it just as fast as it can be absorbed by meringue. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until the buttercream has reached a thick whipped consistency (3 min on med-high speed). If it looks lumpy or liquid at all, keep beating until smooth, thick and whipped.
  5. Add vanilla and ground cinnamon and mix on med-high speed until incorporated.

Cinnamon Apple Cupcakes

2 large apples, peeled and chopp

2 tablespoons of butter

110g brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon
200g all-purpose flour
200g granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon all spice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
177ml vegetable oil
120ml milk, (I used almond milk because that’s what I had)
58g sour cream
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps

  1. Add butter in pan and let melt. Mix in brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and apples. Cook until apples cook down and sugar and butter thicken, about 7-10 minutes. Put to the side.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare cupcake pan with liners.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients until combined.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine, but do not overmix.
  6. Fold in the cooked apples.
  7. Divide the batter evenly (I found about 3 tablespoons was a good amount).
  8. Bake for 17-19 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool on wire rack.
  10. Frost with the cinnamon frosting and drizzle the caramel on top.