So while I'm not excited about fall temperatures and shorter days, I am excited for fall baking. It's one of my favorite times of the year to be in the kitchen. And last weekend was no exception. I got to make one of my favorite cupcakes: caramel apple cupcakes.

These have an apple spice cake, caramel buttercream, and caramel drizzled on top. I happen to think they're beautiful and tasty. The cake recipe below is for high altitude. If you don't live at high altitude, I recommend you use a spice cake recipe or your favorite vanilla cake recipe and then doctor it up. You also can use a boxed spice or vanilla cake mix. If you use vanilla cake, be sure to add the apples and spices. If you're using a spice cake, add in the apples. The caramel buttercream is perfect for all altitudes, as is the caramel drizzle. Also note that the recipe below is for 12 cupcakes. If you use a recipe or a box mix that makes 24 cupcakes, double the apples/spices that you add. It sounds kinda complicated, but I promise it's not. I usually make the cupcakes one day and make the frosting and decorate the next day to split it up a bit. These are well worth the effort and the time spent in your kitchen!  
Caramel Apple Cupcakes Recipe
Makes 12 cupcakes
Print this recipe

Note: This cake recipe is for high altitude. If you're at regular altitude, use your favorite vanilla cake recipe and add in the apples and spices or your favorite spice cake recipe and add in the apples. If the recipe or box mix makes 24 cupcakes, double the apple/spice amounts indicated below.

For the cupcakes (highaltitude):
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 green apple, peeled and diced

For the frosting (any altitude):
1/2 cup butter
8 ounces brown sugar (about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed)
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 cups powdered sugar

For the caramel sauce (any altitude):
Caramel sauce for ice cream or
5 caramel candies
1-2 tablespoons cream

To make the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin pan with 12 liners.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs until incorporated. Mix in the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. In two additions, add in the flour alternating with the milk. Mix until just incorporated and then fold in the diced apples.

Fill the cupcake liners with about 1/4 cup of batter or about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the brown sugar and bring to a boil while stirring. Stir in the milk, baking soda, and corn syrup and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and cool completely (about an hour). Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, and mix on medium speed until it's creamy and smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes. Drizzle on the premade caramel sauce or make your own by microwaving the caramel candies with cream until melted and smooth.

Frosting recipe from Big Book of Cupcakes
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09/19/2012 2:32am

Oh yum! Absolutely stunning and the frosting looks to die for!

09/19/2012 6:48am

These are so gosh darn fancy.

09/19/2012 8:56am

Your cakes look and sound gorgeous. I'd love to know why regular cakes don't work at high altitude? Does the air pressure stop them rising?

She Makes and Bakes
09/19/2012 9:33am

The air is thinner up here, so cakes rise too fast and then they collapse. They also dry out so you need more moisture in them.

09/21/2012 3:13pm

Thank you for the fascinating explanation, it's not something I've ever heard about before. I shall tell my scientist geek son about this!

09/19/2012 2:07pm

I've never seen frosting made this way before. Does it turn out creamier or softer than the regular buttercream with just icing sugar, butter and a little milk?

She Makes and Bakes
09/20/2012 7:46am

It is a creamy frosting, but it's made on the stove at first to create the caramel. It's a tiny bit labor intensive, but it's a wonderful frosting!

09/20/2012 9:46am

Yum! These look incredible! I don't think we're going to get around to apple picking this year, so maybe these will help my craving!

09/20/2012 12:48pm

These look beautiful! I just bought a few green apples, so may have to give this recipe a try soon. I just came home (to Texas) from a trip to Breckenridge and got a lesson in high altitude baking. I'm sure glad I didn't try to bake any of my go-to recipes while there; they would have been a disaster!

09/20/2012 1:33pm

Those cupcakes are beautiful! Caramel and apple are such great flavors. I too do not like the cool weather and shorter days. It is so depressing how dark it gets so quickly at night now. Hopefully the winter will go as quickly as it seems the summer did.

09/24/2012 10:28am

We just went and got a ridiculous amount of apples from the apple farm. This sounds like a perfect way to use a few up!

09/25/2012 2:29pm

mmmmmmmmmm. I've never thought of apple cupcakes. These look delightful. I'm especially a fan of the caramel buttercream.

Norma Jean
09/28/2012 12:50pm

The frosting turns into a fudge-like consistency--absolutely wonderful

09/29/2012 8:30am

These came out excellent!! So good! Love the high altitude recipes now that I'm living in Colorado! Thank you!

Mrs. Schulte
12/03/2012 7:19pm

I made these tonight, my frosting didn't taste as good as it looked, kinda powedery tasting. Any suggestions on how to make it better? Otherwise the cupcakes turned out perfect!!!

She Makes and Bakes
12/03/2012 10:10pm

The baking soda is listed to keep it from getting grainy. Aside from that, you could try decreasing the amount of powdered sugar and beat it longer. It should have a fudge-like consistency to it.


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