Best. Cupcake. Ever. Some bold statements were made about these cupcakes. Paula didn't think so, she prefers a boozy cupcake, luckily I have plenty of those to go around. I agree with Paula, this is not the best cupcake I've ever made (at least in my opinion), but that's one of highlights of baking, everyone has different tastes. My favorite brownie is not everyone's favorite brownie, hence the 12-million chocolate chip cookie recipes out there in the world. And this, my friends, is the biggest challenge of baking for others - what do you make someone that is their favorite kind of flavor? It's a lot of fun to try!
Irene said "best cupcake ever first" and I'm glad she thinks so because these were her birthday cupcakes. Last year I made her Heath Toffee Cupcakes. I talk about Irene a lot because she is my #1 fan, really, truly. She is my literal number 1 commenter besides myself, that obviously makes her my #1 fan. If I ever get a cookbook deal I'll probably dedicate it to Irene because she has supported me more through this process than anyone else. I don't mean to get sappy, but I just reread Bossy Pants and if Tina Fey can write love letters to Amy Poehler, I can write love letters to Irene. Boom.
Anyway, I've been meaning to make these cupcakes for a looooooong time, since mid-fall. I had leftover salted caramel sauce and leftover apple butter in the fridge and this seemed like a perfect fall cupcake. Then, a hurricane kept me out of work for a week and altered my life view a bit, these cupcakes were pushed to the back burner.
So here's the truth - Irene, I made you these cupcakes because I love you, and I had all the leftover ingredients in my fridge, luckily they don't spoil. Sorry. No worries, these are some outstanding cupcakes and no one got sick. PS - NO one has EVER gotten sick from something I have made (as far as I know...)
What we have here is a cupcake moistened with apple cider and spiced with cinnamon. The inside is injected with rich apple butter and the cupcake is frosted with a creamy caramel and cream cheese frosting. To finish there is a delightful drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce. I think you should make these cupcakes and decide for yourself if they are truly the best. cupcake. ever.
One Year Ago: Roasted Chestnuts
Apple Caramel Cupcakes Adapted from Lehigh Valley Live Yield - 12 cupcakes
2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 2 eggs 1 2/3 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup apple cider 1/2 cup apple butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line your cupcake pan with liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Sift together the flour, powder, cinnamon, and salt onto wax paper.
- Add the dry ingredients in three additions with the apple cider in two additions in between. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
- Use a standard ice cream scoop to divide the batter between cupcake liners.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Fit a small piping bag with an injection tip and fill with the apple butter. Push the tip into each cupcake and then pull out slightly, squeeze the apple butter and slowly remove the tip from the cupcake. Wipe off any extra apple butter.
Caramel Buttercream 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 4 + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/3 cup heavy cream 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of salt 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar salted caramel sauce for drizzling
- Melt the brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan, heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.
- Whisk in the cream and then pour into a small bowl to cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 6 tablespoons of butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the butter and salt. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Turn the mixer to low and drizzle in the caramel mixture. Gradually add in the powdered sugar to make a stiff frosting.
- Place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe a swirl on each a cupcake.
- Heat the salted caramel sauce in a small saucepan filled halfway with water. When the sauce is loose, drizzle over each cupcake.
(PS - Irene is contemplating starting her own blog, she needs to totally do it, then we can be IRL friends AND blogging friends!)