apple | baking tips | brown sugar | caramel | cupcakes | filling | fruit | muffins | recipe | streusel

Caramels, apples, and crisp- oh my!

September 10, 2008

It totally feels like fall today. Its cool, its supposed to be around 40° degrees tonight and the air smells like that fall-y crisp smell. That smell that has a ‘snap’ to it. I love the fall, its my favorite time of year. The fall fashions are always the best, and I love my boots. I hate being cold and despise the winter. But the fall rocks. Halloween is in the fall and thats the best holiday ever …so there.

So I made these cupcakes because of all that and because I’ve heard great things about them. Really, how can you go wrong with caramel and streusel? The apples are just incidental to me, but they’re good too (and the only fruit I’ll actually eat!). I happened to have 2 lonely apples sitting here looking sad, and since I wanted to bake but was low on flour, unsalted butter and confectioner’s sugar, these were perfect seeing as how they required no confectioner’s sugar and very little flour and butter. Unlike some other recipes I love (*cough*Magnolia*cough*).. but I digress..

These were easy and beautiful cupcakes to make. I had to make some substitutions (more on that after the recipe) and it still turned out perfect. I didn’t layer the streusel, I just topped each cupcake with a healthy dollop of it, so do as you wish with that.


For the cupcakes you gotsta get yo’self:


  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced


  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, room temp.
  • pinch salt

Then you iz gonna:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a pan with paper liners.
  2. Make batter-

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
Alternate whisking in flour and milk, making three additions of flour and two of milk, whisking until smooth. Stir in apple.

  1. Make streusel-

In a bowl, whisk together brown sugar and cinnamon.
Add butter and rub in with fingers until mixture forms small, moist clumps.

3.   Scoop about half the batter into the pans. Sprinkle streusel over batter and top with remaining batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.

4.   Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack.

Caramel sauce topping:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt


  1. Combine cream, sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium-high heat for about two minutes or until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
  3. Decrease heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes, until caramel is thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and stir until smooth, then pour into a bowl. Let cool in bowl, stirring occasionally. Caramel with thicken further upon standing.
  5. Stir cooled caramel well and spread on cooled cupcakes.

These are super messy cupcakes! Eat with caution! Do not eat anywhere near good clothing, good furniture or good carpet, haha. The caramel is very oozy and the cake itself, like a coffee cake, is crumbly.

I made the caramel using the following substitutions (all in the name of science mind you):

  • Instead of cream I used 1 cup milk with a tablespoon melted butter in it for each cup needed
  • Instead of corn syrup I used 1 cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup water for each cup of corn syrup needed
  • I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar for the streusel and caramel

So, my caramel wasn’t very thick, but I don’t know if that had to do with the substitutions or not. It still worked, and tasted good, it was just thinner and the cupcakes absorbed a lot of it, and the rest pooled in the depressions in the cupcakes and made little pools of caramel-y yumminess. This is a good time to highly suggest you buy some silpats- I have clear ones that I use to decorate my cupcakes/cakes, so have no fear- I did not let caramel pool on the tablecloth.

You can use any kind of apple for this; green, red, Granny Smith, Macintosh… whatever. Go nuts! And I guess, technically, they are muffins, so I’m putting them in that category as well.

They’re not the prettiest ever, or the cutest, but they taste so good that we can excuse them. They can’t all be beauty queens…

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