So every year for Mr. Pea’s birthday I make him a special birthday dessert. This year I decided to make some cupcakes for him, it turns out that it was someone’s birthday at work so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and create a birthday treat for both. The theme for my co-workers birthday was Halloween, so I tried to think of a dessert that Mr. Pea would love and that would fit the fall themed holiday as well. So I decided on these Carmel Apple Cupcakes, that seemed to fit the bill. The only problem Mr. pea is not a fan of apples, although I have made some apple desserts for him in the past that he did like I didn’t want to chance ruining his birthday dessert, so I made them, minus the apples, but I highly recommend adding the apples to these delicious cupcakes.
Carmel Apple Cupcakes
For the Apple Cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated apples**
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until creamy. Beat in the the orange juice, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Slowly add the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in the grated apples. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely before frosting.
**Bakers Note – I prefer to use a mix of sweet and sour apples. For my latest batch I used a mix of Granny Smith and Macintosh.
Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until caramel is dark amber. Immediately remove from heat, and slowly add cream, salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool. If you are not familiar with baking , making Carmel can be tricky, so you can also use a 1/3 Cup of the Carmel you can buy in a jar for ice cream toppings from your local store.
Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl 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 beaten butter, cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add caramel, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
**Bakers Note – When I made the caramel I doubled the recipe and used the leftover to drizzle caramel over the cupcakes. You will still have some leftover which is great on ice cream!