I am sorry I am a little late getting this tutorial to you. Holiday Preparations are in full swing and this took a backseat to the dreaded Christmas Shopping. Without further adieu Spiced Cupcakes with an Apple Filling and Caramel Buttercream.
Step 1- Make the Cupcakes.
Unfortunately I do not have an exact recipe for you. We had a slight cupcake disaster in the kitchen that lead to half the boxed mix ending up on the floor so I made it up from there. But I did just reveal my secret- Boxed Cake.
I love to use the boxed mix as I experiment and create recipes. The box is designed for people to screw up. It is made so that it will still rise even if your measurements are a little off. So I use the box a few times to test flavors and then I turn it into a recipe. Check out The Cake Mix Doctor she has an amazing blog and books to give your cake a homemade taste. Once you try a few of her recipes you will get the idea and be able to create your own.
Here is what I did- I used a boxed spice mix. I added an extra egg. Substituted apple juice (cider would work as well) and Sour Cream for the oil. I also added a little applesauce to the mix- This is a very popular oil substitute as well. I also added a dash of vanilla. Bake the cake as directed. Make sure you let it cool.
I like to make the cupcake the day before to give it ample time before frosting. Just make sure you store it in an airtight container so you don’t loose freshness.
Step 2- Make the Caramel
I made a homemade caramel for the frosting. It also needs ample time to cool so it is advised that you make it the day before. Make sure you have everything on hand. Caramel can turn in the just the few seconds it takes you to locate an ingredient. If you are using store bought caramel (in which results will be just as good) just omit this step.
Take 1 cup of brown sugar (you can also used granulated white- but I think the brown gives deeper flavor) and melt on moderately high heat- whisking constantly until it begins to boil.
Add 1/2 a cup of butter to boiling sugar and whisk vigorously until butter has melted.
When all of the sugar has melted (there shouldn’t be any clumps) remove the pan from the heat.
The image to the right is the caramel (with no lumps) cooling for 5 seconds before the next step.
SLOWLY add whipping cream. The caramel will foam. Whisk the whipping cream in until you reach your desired consistency.
Pour caramel into a glass bowl or jar and set on the counter until it reaches room temperature.
You can cover and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just make sure you return it to room temperature before making frosting.
Step 3: Easy Apple Pie Filling
So I took another short cut here and made my apple pie filling in a bag. This filling can be as gourmet or as simple as you would like. You can use my recipe or feel free to use your favorite.
Peel and dice 2 apples into1/4″ cubes. Granny Smith is the most popular as it holds up the best- but I had Macoun on hand so I used those.
Put Apples into a Gallon sized ziploc bag with 2 Tablespoons of flour, 1 Tablespoons of butter, 1/4 brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Seal bag and toss it around to mix ingredients.
* I use less butter and no water when I make these for cupcake filling as I dont want the filling to seep into the cupcake*
Put it in the microwave for 3 minutes or until apples are soft. That’s it! You can use this for pie filling, add it to your cupcake batter, or just eat it as a snack
Step 4- Fill Cupcakes
I used to struggle with this step- it is like anything practice makes perfect so don’t kick yourself if it doesn’t look awesome- don’t worry it will still taste amazing.
Use a melon baller to scoop out the center of the cupcake. Insert the filling. You may need to break off a little piece of the scooped out center so it fits then simply place it back on the filling- it does not need to line up perfectly.
Step 5- The Frosting
*Important bring 2 sticks of butter to room temperature before beginning. It is best if you leave it on the counter as melting butter will make the frosting less creamy and its hard to heat without melting- If you have to soften in the microwave for 5-10 seconds at a time*
Cream 2 Sticks of Room Temperature Butter. (That is whip the butter until it reaches a creamy and fluffy consistency.) Add 3/4 of a bag (32oz) of confectionary sugar and SLOWLY mix into butter. As it begins to get clumpy add 1/2 a cup of caramel. Mix until smooth.
*If this does not yield the desired consistency add a little milk to smooth it or add more sugar to thicken it*
Step 6- Frost the cupcakes
I frosted my cupcakes for this dinner two ways.
1. I used a can of red frosting with a star tip to create an apple affect. I added a cinnamon stick for further detailing
2. I used a ziplock bag to pipe on the homemade caramel frosting. If you would like to use the apple technique with the caramel frosting simply add red food coloring when mixing the caramel into the butter and sugar. You can put the frosting into a pastry bag with a star tip. If using the ziplock bag technique fill bag about half full and seal. Manipulate frosting in your hands to warm it up a bit to give you a more malleable consistency. Snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze out the frosting in a circular motion.
There you have it. Please comment if you have any questions. Enjoy!