It's the last Iron Cupcake Challenge of the year. This month's ingredient is Apple, and there are lots of delicious ways to incorporate apples into a cupcake. I chose to combine caramel with apple to make a moist and sweet cupcake. Caramel buttercream tops this cuppy with the perfect amount of sweetness.
Other than the basic pantry items, this is all you need to buy from the grocery store. I'm not at all ashamed to use a box mix. According to Alton Brown, it is better to use a box mix and make your own icing. Besides, we are making it our own.
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
with Caramel Apple Buttercream*
1 box Yellow Cake Mix + necessary ingredients
2 Granny Smith Apples: peeled, cored and sliced
8-12 ounces Caramel
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Follow the directions on the box to blend the ingredients for the cake batter and set aside. Using the shredding blade on a food processor, shred the apples and add to the batter. In a heatproof bowl, melt the caramel in the microwave for about 20 seconds increments, stirring after each until completely melted. Using a stand mixer, drizzle in the caramel in thin ribbons. If the caramel begins to cool, warm it a little and begin again. Avoid large clumps of caramel from entering the batter as it will clog the beaters. Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling almost to the top. Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool before icing.
Bring 1/2 cup of sugar and apple juice to a boil in a saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, undisturbed, until caramel is dark amber. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool.
Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter a tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add caramel and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Use immediately, or cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)
Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.
*Icing recipe adapted from Caramel Buttercream in Martha Stewart Living February 2009.
Voting will begin no later than Friday, November 27th at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com and will be open through Thursday, December 3 at 12 noon. Winner will be posted the night of December 3rd, before 11:59 p.m.
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