Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Oh, hey.

It’s summer.

No biggie.

It always takes forever and a day to get here, and when summer finally arrives, it’s gone quicker than anything chocolate in my house.

Oh, summer. How great you were to me when I was young and in school. How you would wrap your very hot arms around me and scoop me up as soon as my classes had finished for the year. We were the best of friends.

Oh, the adventures we would have. Vacations with my family. Days at the beach with friends. Everything went off without a hitch.

Except maybe that time in Wildwood. You remember, right? When me, Mom, Dad and Stephen (whaddup family?!) thought it would be the greatest idea in the entire world to feed all the seagulls graham crackers on the beach. Yeah, please guys. If you ever take any advice from me let it be this: DON’T DO THAT. Honestly, I’m pretty sure every seagull in North America transcended to the Wildwood beaches and cornered us until they got every cracker. I may have been scared for my life.

Hungry seagulls: I get it. Lesson learned.

And then something happened. The tides changed, if you will. (yes, pun was intended. Sorry).

I got a full-time job. Bye, bye summers off.


Now, instead of happily embracing your warm breezes and sun-kissed skin, I sit at my desk and glare at you through my office window. Every time the sun peaks from the clouds, I take that as a person attack against me. How dare you mock me! Just leave me and my UV Rays from my florescent office lights alone. We don’t need you.

We totally need you.

Now, when I have my 2 days off for the weekend, I try and rush down the shore to be by your side and catch up.

I love to reminisce and visit our favorite spots and remember our favorite things. The beach, the boardwalk, sunsets on the beach, being around family, walking into stores in outfits that would surely be illegal during the winter. Having skin so shiny and oily from sunscreen, beautifully and painfully tanned skin, not fussing about my hair and just letting the weather take it where it may. Relax, laid-back. Love.

And boardwalk food. Oh, the boardwalk food.

Funnel cakes, butterfly chips, ice cream, waffle cones, pizza, zeppoles, salt water taffy, the list can go on and on.

I always love going into the candy stores on the boardwalk and seeing the endless amount of fudge, and chocolates, and candies. And there is always a special section for candied/caramel apples. Oh, yes.

I was never really into the traditional candied apples with the red candied coating. But caramel apples? Oh sweet heavens.

The tangy of the granny smith apples and the sweetness of the caramel are a match made in sweet, apple heaven.

Then one day I was sitting around thinking of a normal question. How can I make caramel apples into cupcake form? Totally normal.

After thinking and thinking, I figured it out. Apple cupcake with caramel butter cream. Oh, and for good measure, a caramel drizzle on top.

Wait, what was that? Oh my God, you fell off your chair. Are you OK?! It’s OK. Take a breather, everything will be fine.

I made these little devils and brought them into work for a luncheon we were having. I’m totally the best co-worker ever.

After we had lunch everyone took a cupcake. Do you know what it feels like to have 10 people stare you down with a crazed look on their face? I do.

It’s creepy.

To say these cupcakes were a hit would be an understatement. Everyone completely loved them. I’ve never had so many compliments on a single buttercream, ever. And the apple cupcake was the perfect accompaniment.  Apple and caramel = best friends for life.

Sort of like me and summer.

Just stop teasing me when I’m at work. Please. Thank you.


This is one of my favorite apple cupcake recipes around. And I thought it would be the perfect base for the Caramel Buttercream. But please, also try the Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting. It’s too legit to quit.

Recipe by


  • 1 1/2 cup(s) shredded peeled apples
  • 1/2 cup(s) diced dried apples
  • 3 tablespoon(s) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/3 cup(s) canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup(s) cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/2 cup(s) nonfat buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cupcake liners or coat with cooking spray.
2. Combine shredded and dried apples in a bowl with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside. Beat oil and the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla, increase speed to high, and beat for 1 minute.
3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl.
4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Stir in the reserved apple mixture until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. (The cups will be full.)
5. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before frosting.
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 or 1/3 caramel (NOTE: You DO NOT have to make your own caramel sauce. I got a bag of those individually wrapped caramel squares and melted them down in a saucepan over medium/low heat. Or if you can find it, just use caramel ice cream topping. No biggie at all.)
1.  Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.
2. Reduce speed to low and gradually add in the powdered sugar. Once it is all incorporated, turn the mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla.
3. Add the caramel sauce and beat on high until all the ingredients are mixed well. (To make sure the buttercream isn’t too soft, cool the caramel a little before adding. If the buttercream is not firm enough, add a little more powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency)

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