Friday, November 2, 2012

Frosted Caramel Apple Cupcakes

These caramel apple cupcakes are moist cake with creamy caramel filling inside and fluffy cream cheese frosting on top. Make these filled cupcakes in under an hour! 

caramel apple cupcakes with cream cheese frosting swirled on top, sitting on white plate

This recipe was created as a spin on carrot cake, with grated apples in place of the carrots. 

Caramel filling in the middle and vanilla bean cream cheese frosting on top really puts these fall cupcakes over the top.

If you’re not a fan of cupcakes, you can find similar flavors in this Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze.

Or, try a Caramel Apple Poke Cake for a truly decadent dessert. Tender apple cake is filled with homemade caramel pudding, then topped with a whipped brown sugar cream cheese frosting. 

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

  • To create tender and moist cake

Be sure to avoid over mixing the batter. Otherwise, the apple spice cupcakes will come out dense and chewy. 

Also, remove the cupcakes from the oven as soon as possible after the baking time noted in the recipe. 

If they seem slightly under baked, don't worry; they’ll continue to cook while they cool in the pan.

  • Making the caramel filling

As you cook the caramel, keep an eye on the mixture because it can burn quickly. 

To prevent it from burning on the bottom of the pan, remember to stir constantly. 

When it's ready, the consistency should be thin enough to drizzle, but not so thin that it’s absorbed into the cake. 

How to fill cupcakes

There are two easy ways to make filled cupcakes, depending on what kitchen tools you have available. 

First, remove a piece from the center of the cupcake, then pipe in the caramel sauce. 

Use a piping bag to squeeze the caramel in, or make your own by snipping a corner from a Ziploc bag.

  • With a paring knife: Use the tip of the knife to cut a cone into the center of the cupcake, then cup off the point of the cone to make a flat piece. 
Once you’ve filled the cupcake, place the flat piece on top so you have a smooth piping surface for the frosting.
  • With a cupcake corer: This is a special tool that removes a cylinder from the middle of the cupcake, or you can use the base of a piping tip to do the same thing. Press into the cake and twist, then lift the segment out. 

Kitchen tools you'll need

To make these fall cupcakes, you'll need the following:
  • Stand mixer - This is the best way to whip frosting, and it also makes mixing the cupcake batter easier. If you don’t have one, an electric hand mixer will do.
  • Muffin pan - I love the quality of this pan. It's sturdy, made of aluminized steel and it's BPA-free. So, there's never a concern about the non-stick coating peeling off.
  • Paper or silicone cupcake liners

Caramel Apple Cupcakes FAQ

Which apples are best for baking?

For these caramel apple cupcakes, choose a firm variety or a mix of several textures and flavors. I like to use a mix of Granny Smith and Gala, but any of these options are great:

  • Honeycrisp - a crisp and juicy variety often used to make apple cider
  • Granny Smith - bright and tart flavor that pairs well with a sweeter variety in cakes
  • Fuji - one of the most popular varieties that have a sugary sweet flavor
  • Gala - has a sweet flavor with hints of vanilla

Do filled cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

Cupcakes can be typically be stored at room temperature in a covered container for up to a week.

Because there is cream cheese in the frosting, these should be kept in the refrigerator. Store them in an airtight container so the cake doesn’t dry out too quickly.

For the best frosting consistency, place the container on the counter for about 1 hour before serving. This allows the frosting to soften and the cake will taste better as well.

Yield: 24
Author: Donna Elick
Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

These apple cupcakes are a spin on a carrot cake, using grated apple in place of the carrots. The cake is warm, moist and amazing. The caramel filling and vanilla bean cream cheese frosting push this cupcake over the top. Such amazing Autumn flavor.

Prep time: 20 Min     Cook time: 22 Min     Total time: 42 Min


For the Cupcakes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated apple (I used gala)
  • 1 recipe Caramel Filling (recipe to follow)
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Caramel Filling
  • 1/2 cup butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl, until well combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or electric mixer) mix together the sugar, oil, eggs an vanilla. Add flour mixture. Add apples and mix well.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 18-22 minutes. Mine take 20 minutes.
  5. Allow cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack and allow cupcakes to cool completely. Fill with caramel filling. Using the tip of a pairing knife. Cut a cone in the center of the cupcake, about 1" in diameter. Add filling to hole. Cut off the top portion of the cone and place it back on top of the cupcake and frost cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting.
Caramel Filling
  1. Melt butter, stir in brown sugar and salt. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add milk and return to heat. Bring to rolling boil, cool to lukewarm and stir in powdered sugar. Add a bit more if necessary for piping.
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla beans until smooth and thoroughly blended. Slowly add the powdered sugar and salt. Mix until smooth.


  1. Seriously Donna - I am completely jealous! I made spiced apple cupcakes with a caramel drizzle last weekend and it was a total failure! My family said they were good but I was not at all pleased. I used a brown sugar icing that set up like fudge. I didn't have a dessert to post on Monday for the first time ever! I was very sad :( But yours however, looks amazing. Love the idea of the carrot cake spin. Hope you and your family are doing great.

    1. You know a dessert round up would be fabulous! The filling I used is pretty thick, but it set up nicely. I was afraid with the powdered sugar in there it would turn into a rock, but I was wrong.

      We are well, my Mom is a fighter. She is doing pretty good considering. Have a fabulous weekend.

  2. Great photos! The cupcakes have me drooling.

  3. I could just sit down with that frosting and eat it with a spoon. And that drizzle is fabulous!

  4. This does look like a perfect fall cupcake, and that photo is stunning!

  5. I love the flavor combination of these cupcakes. Caramel and apples are like my favorite things ever. Putting them in cupcake form is such a wonderful idea!

  6. How do you get the filling into the cupcake? Thanks!
    They do look yummy!

  7. I made a cake instead of cupcakes and it turned out amazing. This is a great recipie!

  8. I absolutely adore your site!! Love it!! I use the same base for one of my apple cupcakes, but I'm going to try these with the caramel! I'm actually making them right now... Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Replies
    1. Using the tip of a pairing knife. Cut a cone in the center of the cupcake, about 1" in diameter. Add filling to hole. Cut off the top portion of the cone and place it back on top of the cupcake. Continue as written...

      Hope that helps. Enjoy!

  10. How did you fill these?

    1. Using the tip of a pairing knife. Cut a cone in the center of the cupcake, about 1" in diameter. Add filling to hole. Cut off the top portion of the cone and place it back on top of the cupcake. Continue as written...

      Hope that helps. Enjoy!


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