These Caramel Apple Cupcakes are made with a spiced apple cupcake and topped with caramel buttercream. They melt in your mouth and are such a delicious apple dessert idea!
This recipe uses my Easy Salted Caramel Sauce as an ingredient. It’s the best caramel ever!
So today’s recipe is actually an update of a recipe from back in 2015. The older version was based on my very first vanilla cupcake recipe I shared on this site. It was a much denser cupcake. Today’s update is based on my new Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes, which are light and fluffy and have been a favorite for a while now. Given that I love the new vanilla cupcakes so much, it seemed appropriate to update this wonderful fall dessert with my BEST version!
Despite the update, the flavors and such are quite similar. It’s the execution that’s a bit different. These cupcakes are still full of cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, apples and caramel. But they now use the more traditional creaming method and ultimately come out quite differently in texture.
While you don’t really need to hear all about every ingredient, I thought I’d highlight the more significant ones:
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg: For the perfect fall apple flavors.
- Butter and Oil: I like to use a combination of the two so that you have both the great flavor of butter and the added moisture of the oil.
- Brown Sugar: This recipe uses regular granulated sugar and brown sugar. The brown sugar adds extra flavor and warmth to these cupcakes.
- Sour Cream and Milk: The combination of sour cream and milk, as opposed to just milk, helps to thicken up the cupcake batter to keep the apples from sinking to the bottom while baking.
- Apples: You’ll want to peel your apples and then dice them so that you don’t have huge chunks in your cupcakes. I used Granny Smith apples, but other varieties such as Honeycrisp would work well too.
Caramel Buttercream Ingredients
Naturally, this buttercream has plenty of butter in it. Additionally, you’ll find:
- Powdered Sugar: I’m often asked about reducing powdered sugar amounts and it’s hard to answer that sometimes. For me, a thicker buttercream is preferred so I’d say don’t. But if you are ok with a thinner buttercream that doesn’t hold up as well to some piping, you can certainly reduce it. It’s kind of a preference thing, in addition to a consistency thing.
- Caramel Sauce: I mentioned before that I used a homemade caramel sauce and that’s definitely what I recommend here. Often store bought sauces are much thinner and will thin out your frosting more quickly without adding as much flavor. My homemade sauce is thick enough and has lots of flavor so that you’ll end up with a flavorful buttercream that still has a nice consistency to it.
- Cinnamon: Optional, but I do love my cinnamon.
How to make Caramel Apple Cupcakes
As mentioned before, these cupcakes use the creaming method. So to get started, you’ll combine your butter, oil and sugars and cream them together for about three minutes. Don’t skimp on that time! It adds air to the batter that helps the cupcakes rise. You’ll actually be able to see a noticeable difference in the color and texture of the mixture when it’s ready.
Next, you’ll add the vanilla and sour cream, then the eggs one at a time.
After that, you’ll alternate adding your dry ingredients and milk.
Finally, you’ll fold in your chopped apples. Pretty straightforward, right?!
When your cupcakes are baked and cooled, you’ll make your caramel buttercream. Beat your butter until smooth, then add about half of the powdered sugar.
Add some of the caramel sauce next, then add the remainder of the powdered sugar.
Now that you know just how thick your powdered sugar is, you can add more caramel sauce until you have both the consistency and flavor you want. If you’re adding the cinnamon, you can do that too.
Finally, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate them with a caramel drizzle and apple slice.
For an even more detailed look at how to make these cupcakes, check out the video below where I walk you through the whole process.
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Recipe updated 8/18/2020. For the previous version of the recipe, download the PDF.Print
These Caramel Apple Cupcakes are made with a spiced apple cupcake and topped with caramel icing. They melt in your mouth and are such a delicious apple dessert idea!
APPLE SPICE CUPCAKES
- 1 1/2 cups (195g) all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (52g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (112g) packed brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp (43g) sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
- 1 cup finely chopped apple
- 1 1/4 cups (280g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
- 4–6 tbsp caramel sauce
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Additional caramel sauce, for drizzling
- Apple slices, for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Combine the flour, baking powder , cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Add the butter, oil and sugars to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
- Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and mix until well combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined.
- Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter might look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix just until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
- Gently fold in the chopped apples.
- Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
- To make the caramel buttercream, add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
- Carefully add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
- Add about 4 tablespoons of the caramel sauce to the frosting and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional caramel sauce as needed to get the right consistency and taste.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Decorate with a drizzle of caramel sauce and apple slice
- Cupcakes are best when stored well covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Serve at room temperature.
- Serving Size: 1 Cupcake
- Calories: 440
- Sugar: 50.3 g
- Sodium: 75.2 mg
- Fat: 21.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 61 g
- Protein: 2.8 g
- Cholesterol: 70 mg
Keywords: caramel cupcakes, caramel desserts, apple cupcakes, apple dessert idea