Caramel apples are very fall-ish, and I know I’d seen caramel apple cupcakes done before – because the completely useless stick is just so cute. So here’s my version – let me tell you it has been tested well, as I gave them out to 3 separate groups of people who all gave them rave reviews, so give ‘em a try.

Apple cupcakes
ingredients:

(frosting to follow)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup applesauce
1 cup shredded or finely chopped, Granny Smith apples

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prep a cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a mixer, stir the eggs, butter, and applesauce. Mix until combined. Carefully add the dry ingredients.

Now is when I chop the apples. This may seem like last minute, but I hate how quickly apple brown up after cutting. So I do it right before I throw them in. The way I do it – peel and slice the apple. Then using a grater, grate the apple into fine shreds, like cheese. You can also chop it finely which works just as well. Now stir the shredded apples into the batter mixture.

I like to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full to almost full, so that they have a nice rounded top like an apple. This batter will make 12 cupcakes.

Bake for 15-20 mins, 17 works best for me. Test with a toothpick for done-ness.

See how they rise a little and puff and overflow? That is perfect to me, because then when you frost it – it gives it a little roundness, and makes it more…apple-y? If that makes sense. Cool on a wire rack. While they are cooling…make the frosting.

Caramel Frosting
ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1tsp cinnamon
1 TB maple syrup

In a saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar. Paula Deen would be in heaven right now. Give it a stir now and again. When they are melted and bubbly, add the milk. Carefully raise the heat and bring the mixture to a quick boil. Careful – you don’t want to burn it. Once it foams up and turns that lovely caramel color, take it off the heat immediately.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla, cinnamon and syrup, mixing until frosting is smooth. I like to put it in the fridge for about 20 mins to cool down. Then I simply frost the cupcakes by dipping them into the frosting. It’s more of a glaze – in the sense that it will firm up.

Now the fun part – you can roll the sides in sprinkles and of course, for effect, put in a popsicle stick to make it look like a real caramel apple. It’s totally useless but lots of fun. Even without the sticks, these are really tasty and I think they’d be great for a party.