As American as Apple Pie

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Apparently road trips are great ways to think of cupcake ideas!  A drive through Arkansas provided me with the inspiration to create apple cinnamon cupcakes filled with caramel and topped with apple cream cheese frosting.

Anyway!  The friend I made these for proclaimed that they reminded her of her grandmother’s apple cake and that the finished product was delicious.  So I hope you find them just as tantalizing! They are a little more time consuming because of the filling, probably budget about 3 hours.  Again though, you can do it in stages or adjust the recipe how you like.

What You’ll Need:

If you do not already have cream cheese, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, walnuts, caramel or apples you will want to purchase these for the cupcakes.  You will need 4 oz. of cream cheese, 2 cups of powdered sugar and about 3-4 apples.

For the apples, you will want to locate sweet apples – such as Red Delicious or Golden Delicious.  For the garnish you will need to about 2 apples, these you will want to be semi-sweet, like Gala or Fuji.

For the caramel, you could purchase caramel candies and melt them or if possible caramel bits you add water or milk for melting.  If you want to make home-made caramel sauce I will include the recipe below.

Ingredients:

2 cups – diced apples
1 1/4 tsp – ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp – apple juice
1 pkg. – french vanilla pudding
1 pkg. – white cake mix

additionally you’ll need the ingredients listed on the cake mix

Stir Up Some Goodness:

Prepare cake mix as directed on package.  Add pudding and cinnamon, mix well.  Stir in diced apples and apple juice.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners and fill with batter (about 3/4 full or more if you want a larger top).  Bake in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, remove and let cool.

Caramel Sauce:

There are two choices – get a bag of caramels and melt them in 2 Tbsp of water (about two minutes) or you can make the sauce.

For the Sauce:

1 1/2 cups – sugar
1/3 cup – water
1 1/4 cups – heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp – vanilla extract

Set out ingredients in easy to grab areas around the stove.  The process is very fast, slow moving could end with a burnt mess rather than caramel sauce.  Heat sugar and water in a saucepan on low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat and boil sugar until it turns medium-brown.  Watch the sugar carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn as it reaches this point.  Gradually add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract.  *Watch that it doesn’t spatter on you!*  Simmer until sauce becomes smooth and thick (about 2 min).   Let cool.

Fill the cupcakes!:

Using a melon baller, knife or other utensil, create hole in middle of cupcake – going about 1/2 to 2/3 the way down.  Fill a icing bag with cooled (room temp!) caramel and fill cupcakes.  (A helpful cheat here is to fill a ziplock bag with the caramel and cut off a small bit of the corner if you don’t have icing bags).

Apple Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 tsp – apple juice
4 oz – cream cheese, softened
4 oz – butter, room temp
2 cups – powdered sugar

Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Stir in apple juice.  If your kitchen is warm and the frosting has gotten too soft to frost the cupcakes, let it cool in the refrigerator until firms up.  Top cupcakes with desired amount of frosting.

Garnish to Complete:

If you want to make the cupcakes look elegant you can add garnish.  Make up some cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle on top of the frosting.  Slice the semi-sweet apples (pretty thin) and place a slice or two on top of the cupcakes.  Add chopped walnuts to finish off!

Enjoy!

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