Apple Caramel Cupcakes

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Caramel and apple make a wonderful pair, that’s why these spiced apple cupcakes are filled AND glazed with caramel.

Today is October 1! The official beginning of fall was over a week ago and I rang it in with a super easy Pumpkin Cake with home-made pumpkin puree. Somehow, for me though it only really REALLY is fall once the calendar shows it’s October.

I already made apple chips last week and to greet the month that spells FALL like no other I thought to pair luscious apple with one of it’s most suitable companions: Caramel!

While these spiced apple cupcakes were baking, they sure made the kitchen smell autumy although it was on tropical Bali. I made it really simple by using a butter cake mix that I spiced up with diced apples and vanilla powder, cinnamon and brown sugar (the only suitable ‘spices’ I could find here). Some clove and cardamom would have been really nice too.

You can reproduce these cupcakes with your preferred cake mix (spice cake would be really nice too) or whip up your favorite white cupcake recipe (for about 2 dozen), but use only 3/4 of the amount of water called for. The apples will produce some moisture during baking, which makes for super moist cupcakes but you also don’t want them to fall apart on you.

For the caramel filling I used dulce de leche which I like to make by cooking a can (or usually 2) of sweetened condense milk in a pot of water for a couple hours. A cavity for the filling can be cut in with a knife, but I actually use a large icing tip. I push it 3/4 deep into the cupcake, then twist a little and the cut cylinder of cake will come out with the icing tip when removed.

I pipe the dulce de leche in with a pastry bag and then close the hole with just the very top of the cut out cupcake cylinder.

Fall recipes have been appearing all over the food blogging universe since the end of August it seems. While reading and enjoying the fall atmosphere created in all these blogs, I came across a Vanilla Caramel Glaze that Averie from Averie Cooks praised as ‘the best-ever’. Well hey, this sounded perfect for my spiced apple cupcakes that were already caramel filled.

The original recipe calls for light brown sugar but I could only find a dark brown variety here and at the time I didn’t think of substituting part of it with white sugar. Hence, the darker color of my glaze which also made for a very rich flavor. Next time I would try it with light brown sugar instead.

Vanilla Caramel Glaze adapted from Averie Cooks.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Luscious fall apples paired with the flavors of caramel and brown sugar all in one delicious apple caramel cupcake.
Yield: Makes about 24 apple caramel cupcakes
Apple Spice Cupcakes
  • 1 - 1.5 cup diced apple
  • 1 (18 oz.) box butter or spice cake mix; prepared acc. to directions but using only ¾ of required amount of water
  • if not using spice cake mix
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bean powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
Caramel Filling
  • ⅔ - ¾ c. dulce de leche or other thick caramel sauce
Vanilla Caramel Glaze
  • ¼ c. butter, melted
  • ⅓ c. brown sugar, packed (I used the dark kind, but I think light would be better)
  • 2 tbsp. cream or milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract or 1 tsp. vanilla powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1.5 - 2 c. icing sugar (must be sifted)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Peel and cut apple(s) into small dices. Prepare cupcake batter according to directions, but only ¾ of required amount of water. If not using spice cake mix add vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar and stir in apple dices. Line cupcake pan. Fill liners no more than ¾ with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes for 5 minutes in pan, then let fully cool on a rack.
  1. To fill the cooled cupcakes cut a hole into each one (I used a large icing tip but a knife works too). Reserve the very top of the cut out. Fill dulce de leche or other thick caramel sauce into a pastry bag and pipe into the cupcake hole. Close with the very top of the cut out.
Vanilla Caramel Glaze
  1. Have all ingredients ready before you get started. In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat, add sugar and bring to a boil. Stirring almost constantly. Once boiling, reduce heat and continue boiling for two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in milk/cream and vanilla. Be careful, mixture will bubble. Whisk in icing sugar half a cup at a time until glaze has desired consistency. Pour over cupcakes.

Do you have lots of apples to work with this fall? What is your favorite apple treat to make?

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  1. says

    So glad you like the glaze recipe and your cupcakes look delicious! That filling! Oh wow! And I don’t think dark brown sugar mattered for your glaze one bit – if anything, that’s really what making caramel sauce is, darkening and intensifying the sugar so I think yours looks perfect as is using dark brown sugar.

  2. says

    Aww, I was hoping for a homemade spice cupcake recipe. Boo! Just kidding… 😉 Kind of. If I were in the US, I’d have no problems using cake mix. You know I’m just jealous that we don’t have them over here.

    Oh wait. We have marble cake mix! Will that work? Oh. It’s dry and tasteless? Okay. I won’t use it.

    Anyway, love these! The topping and filling look amazing. I think it’s great that you’re in the fall mood although it’s nothing like fall over there now.

    (sorry for the rant :))

    • Regina says

      Haha…Erin, didn’t mean to make you jealous. I was a firm scratch baker until we started traveling. Now I don’t feel like hoarding a ton of supplies at every place we live in temporarily. But mixes are totally different all over the world. Here I could get imported Pillsbury mixes and local varieties. The local (Indonesian) mix made for much firmer and less sweet cupcakes. I guess that’s how they like cake around here.

  3. says

    These look absolutely delicious – anything that involves dulce de leche generally is, in my book!! Of course, I would have to remove the apples (not a fan of cooked apples), but every other part of those cupcakes would definitely make it to my tummy. 🙂

    • Regina says

      Jacquee, thank you so much for liking my creations even when they include ingredients you don’t like 🙂 You are so sweet and funny.

    • Regina says

      Thank you Amy. Since I discovered how easy dulce de leche is to make, I use it all the time and for everything 🙂

  4. says

    I am a huge fan of Apple and Caramel together, so these are just perfect! I’ll definitely be pinning these for future reference, since I’m always looking for apple/caramel recipes when I’m in that kind of mood. Delicious!

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