Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

I have been obsessed with these cupcakes since I saw them on Pinterest a few days ago, so tonight was the night for experimenting!  Please remind me never to try new recipes out on the day when we have 5  guests coming over for dinner!  The recipe is amazing, but the caramel frosting was very time intensive and I tried to substitute another frosting that turned out nasty.  So, I started over and made a new batch of buttercream, but added some of the caramel frosting into the buttercream and then it tasted really great!  Of course, I only used maybe 1 cup of the caramel frosting that I originally doubled so that I would have enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes, but I'm ok with it. . .  Lesson learned.


Typically, I like to practice my recipes before I try them out on guests.  I know not everyone has time for the trial, but it's really important in case you run into a bad recipe.  Speaking of time, I think I was frosting the cupcakes with the newly improved frosting only 5 minutes before the first guests arrived, but at least all of my cleaning was done! 

Back to the matter at hand. . . these cupcakes turned out delicious!  Everyone ate one and I didn't even see any crumbs left afterwards!  Always a good sign at my house!  The frosting surprisingly turned our amazing and the cake was similar to an apple cake I make, so my kids devoured them!  I love baking with apples, zucchini, pumpkin, acorn squash, carrots or whatever we can sneak into dessert.  It seems like the desserts are always really moist when using those ingredients! 

Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting (Adapted from Baked Perfection)

Ingredients: 
3 cups white wheat (or all-purpose) flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups grated apples (I used 3 large Granny Smith apples, but the blog author recommends a mix of sweet and sour apples, so I'll have to try that next time)
 
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Insert 24 cupcake liners into 2 muffin tins. 

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In large bowl, add eggs and sugars and beat until creamy.  Add the orange juice, vanilla, oil and applesauce until well combined.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture until they are just combined (I like to use a wooden spoon for this type of recipe to ensure that I don't over mix the batter).  Add the grated apples and gently mix.   Use a greased 1/4 cup to dispense the batter into each of the 24 cupcake liners.  Use a spoon to help get all of the batter into the liner.  
 
Bake for 20-24 minutes (start checking at 20, but mine took exactly 22) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.  
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
 
Caramel Buttercream Frosting (Heavily adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook)
 
Ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp. milk (I use coconut milk, so you can substitute anything here)
1-2 tbsp. caramel syrup (any kind will do)
 
Directions:
Place powdered sugar, butter and milk into mixer (if you have a whip, that works best, but any mixer will do) and mix until it appears smooth and creamy.  Add more milk if frosting is too thick.  Add caramel syrup and continue to mix until frosting is creamy and spreadable.  
 
If you double this recipe, you'll get enough to generously frost cupcakes using an icing bag, but if you make one batch, you'll have enough to frost all 24 cupcakes exactly using a knife or spatula to spread the frosting.  A nice added touch would be a light drizzle of caramel over each cupcake.  
 
Enjoy!
 
Sarah  

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