Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

October 16, 2012

So Hello again! I know it has been awhile since I’ve posted anything and you may have been wondering what ever had happened to me. At least I hope someone has noticed my absence and I haven’t just been yammering away into some sort of online oblivion. I’m actually just back from a truly fantastic holiday in Ireland.

I will definitely be telling ya’ll a bit more about that as soon as I can get myself back into some sort of routine. You know how it is post holiday…However, I wrote this blog on Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes right before I was ready to leave for my trip. You see, I told myself I would have all of these posts done before I left and then I would just post remotely. Welllll…..that didn’t work. Seems I was sort of busy with everything else before leaving and did not manage to have several blog posts ready to go. I did manage to get this one written and have shaken off enough of my jet lag to add in the appropriate pictures, along with this disclaimer. But I’m certain I will get it together soon and be back to my old blogging habits. Until then, please take a peek at these lovely Fall Cupcakes.

Happy, happy, happy!!! Fall has arrived! Of course, here in Virginia the weather can’t seem to let go of those Summer temps. We’ll have one nice crisp day followed by a sticky, humid mess of a day. But I know Summer is on its way out, so I’m in a good mood. And Apples are in season! Apples are my favourite fruit, so I’ve got some great apple dishes in store for ya’ll! I thought I’d start it all off with these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

My husband just recently celebrated a birthday and he requested these cupcakes in lieu of a big birthday cake. He tends to prefer the fruit desserts over any sort of chocolate concoction, so these cinnamon cupcakes, stuffed with apple pie filling, topped with salted caramel swiss buttercream frosting and drizzled with salted caramel sauce, seemed just perfect. I was excited to make them as well, since I myself love apples and have an obsession with cupcakes. However, my glee soon came to a screeching halt. I thought making up a batch of cupcakes would be a cinch. But it turned out to be anything but. Things started to go bad with the making of the salted caramel. First attempt = failure. A big, burnt, lumpy, sticky, smoky failure. Hmmm…I hadn’t ever had trouble making caramel before. I decided to give it another go. And…another failure! What was going on? Are my stars misaligned today? Trying to stay calm, I chose a different caramel recipe and told myself “third times the charm”. Not in this house! Another mess!! But I’m nothing if not stubborn, so I kept at it! You know…to the bitter end. Well to cut this long pitiful story short, after eventually getting the caramel right only to suffer an icing melt down, I was finally able to produce these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

I finished them at 11:58 p.m., so technically it was still my husband’s birthday. I promptly woke him up to have a bite of these little devils so that he would actually be able to say honestly that he had cupcakes on his birthday. Phew! But don’t worry, the recipe I have listed below, though cobbled together from a couple of sources is fool-proof. (and genuinely tested by a fool so I can tell you true!) You won’t end up like me, I promise. And these cupcakes are truly delicious. Just the thing to get you in the Fall mood.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

recipe from: Craving Chronicles and Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Apple Pie Filling: (From Craving Chronicles)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1.5 pounds (approx.) Honey Crisp apples (about 4 medium), peeled, cored, and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugars, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook until apples are tender and release their juices – about 10 minutes. In a small bowl or glass, combine cornstarch and water. Add to apples and stir, cooking until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. (Cover and refrigerate overnight if making ahead.)

For the Salted Caramel Sauce: (from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

Add the sugar, corn syrup and water to a medium saucepan and stir gently to combine. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture registers 350 F on a candy thermometer (if you don’t have a thermometer cook until the mixture is amber in color). Turn off the heat under the pan and slowly add the cream (the caramel will bubble up quite a bit so be mindful) then the fleur de sel. Stir in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool before using – you could even refrigerate for a bit so it’s not quite as thin when you go to fill the cupcakes.

For the Cinnamon Cupcakes: (From Craving Chronicles who adapted it from Annie’s Eats)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Add milk mixture and vanilla, and beat until blended.

Divide evenly among baking tins. Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream: (From Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6-8 tablespoon salted caramel sauce

Directions:

Add the butter to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk to combine. Place the mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water, and, whisking constantly, heat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved. You can test by rubbing a bit between your fingers – it shouldn’t feel gritty at all.

Put the bowl on the mixer, and starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, beat the egg white mixture until stiff, glossy peaks form – this will take about 8-10 minutes, and the bowl should feel cool to the touch when you’ve finished. Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed, and gradually add the butter, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.

With the mixer still on medium-low, gradually add 6 tablespoons of the salted caramel sauce, and continue beating until it is completely incorporated. Taste the frosting, and if you want a stronger caramel flavor, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce.

Cupcake Assembly Instructions:

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, hollow out a bit of the center of each cake. You can do this with a small paring knife, an apple corer or a special cupcake corer tool. Fill each hole with cooled Apple Pie Filling. Pipe Salted Caramel Buttercream onto each cupcake. Drizzle with cooled Salted Caramel Sauce.

Enjoy!

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Campfire Delight Cake

October 2, 2012

I said I was going to make it and make it I did! Remember back a few months ago I made Campfire Delight Cupcakes? They were fantastic and I noticed that they were a spin-off from a Campfire Delight Cake, which I couldn’t resist taking a peek at. And WOW!  That cake was a monster! We’re talking SIX layers of alternating rich chocolate cake, silky chocolate malted frosting and creamy toasted marshmallow frosting. Good Lord help us! What can I say? I knew I just had to make it.

I recently got the opportunity and gave it a try. Now making this cake isn’t for the weak of heart, or endurance. I completed it over two days, baking the cakes on the first and then refrigerating them overnight so that the layers would be easier to cut in half. The second day I made the frostings and assembled.

Phew! It is a big ole cake. When I sliced it, I found it wouldn’t even fit properly on a dessert plate. Nope, not this big boy. It needed the full on dinner plate. It looked truly stunning and tasted pretty phenomenal as well. If you’ve got a special occasion coming up, make this cake. Folks will be delighted.

Campfire Delight Cake

recipe from: Sweetapolita

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups strong black coffee
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour three 9″ cake pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine all dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and with the paddle attachment, mix for two minutes on medium speed. Batter will be quite thin.

Pour equal amounts of batter into prepared pans. I use my kitchen scale to try to get it as close as possible.

Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate pans. Cakes are done when toothpick comes out clean. About 35 – 40 minutes.

Cool cakes in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Gently turn cakes out to wire rack to cool completely.

For the Toasted-Marshmallow Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 16 large white marshmallows
  • 1 cup powdered or confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks, 1 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. of Marshmallow Fluff

Directions:

Place marshmallows on baking sheet which has been lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place tray under broiler and broil marshmallow until they are light brown on top. Watch them closely as they will burn very quickly. Once tops are toasted, remove tray from oven and gently flip marshmallows over and broil other side. Remove from oven and sit aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and icing sugar on low until blended. Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.

Set aside.

For the Malted Chocolate Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of butter at room temperature
  • 4 cups of confectioners’ or powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Ovaltine or malted milk powder
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar and butter. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and malt powder and beat on low until combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the whipping cream and beat on medium high speed for another minute.

Assembly Instructions:

Split each of the 9″ layer cakes in half. This will be easier to do if the cake is cold. Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes. I use a Wilton Cake leveler to divide the layers. However, this can be done with a good quality serrated knife. First trim any doming off the top of each layer. Then measure each layer and create a score line at the halfway mark all the way around the outside of the cake. Working from eye-level to the cake gently cut towards the center of the cake, then turn 1/4 turn and repeat until you have cut through the entire layer.

Place first layer in the center of a cake board. Slide a bit of wax paper just under the edge until all of the cake board is covered. These bits of wax paper will protect the cake board from stray bits of icing which may fall while you are decorating it. Cover the first layer with 1/3 of the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting. Top with second layer and cover top of that layer with the Malted Chocolate Frosting. Continue to alternate frostings covering the top most layer with Malted Chocolate frosting. Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining Malted Chocolate Frosting. Remove the wax paper cake board protectors. Decorate the top with small marshmallows, chocolate chips, jimmies or Whopper or Malteser candies as you desire.

Enjoy!


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