Monday, October 25, 2010
Recently, another foodie friend of mine, Carrie, mentioned she was interested in putting together a monthly baking challenge, so several of us got together and worked out all of the kinks and came up with a group called, What's Baking! Each month, one person will be designated to pick a theme and each of us has to come up with our own interpretation and bake something yummy. This is our first month and the theme chosen was Fall Cupcakes.
Seems easy enough, right? Wrong. I had a million ideas of what I wanted to do. Pumpkin, of course, topped that list along with apples. I wanted to do something different. Something that I've never made before but something that would be easy enough for readers to follow along with and something that would be delicious. I had narrowed it down to two ideas one being pumpkin and the other apple. So I relied on my handy decision-maker, Chris! Being a hard choice for him to make, we mutually agreed that the Caramel Apple Cupcakes would be a wonderful way to celebrate this challenge.
I mean, everyone loves cupcakes (they're all the craze right now) and who doesn't love a good caramel apple?! So, I rounded up my ingredients and went off baking. When they first came together, I was worried that they'd be more like muffins but the texture is very cake-like and the flavor is very apple-y and the caramel (and peanuts) on top made for a delightful translation of the real thing into a cupcake! I know some have preferences of how they like them...some like 'em just the way they are with plain caramel and others prefer them "dressed" up a bit with chopped nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips, a little icing drizzled over them.... So I decided to do a mixture of both the original style and some with chopped peanuts on top! I can pretty much sum these up with one word: YUM!
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Apples, peeled and shredded
25 Caramels, unwrapped
2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
Chopped Peanuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin/cupcake pan with liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and sugar. Add in the vegetable oil and vanilla, whisking in between each addition; mix until well combined. Add in half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, whisking until well combined. Add in the remaining flour mixture and whisk until blended. Add in the apple and mix in until it's incorporated throughout the batter. **Be sure to to place the shredded apple in a dish cloth and squeeze the juice out of it so it doesn't make the batter runny**
Using an ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners with the batter almost to the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
In a double boiler, melt the caramel and heavy cream over med-high heat. Stir constantly until it forms a smooth and creamy consistency. Carefully spread the caramel over the tops of the cupcakes and top with chopped nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips or whatever your heart desires!
Yield: 12 Servings
Source: Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray