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!
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.
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.
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Other Easy Cupcake Recipes
Frosted Caramel Apple Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon 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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins with liners.
- Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl, until well combined.
- 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.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 18-22 minutes. Mine take 20 minutes.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
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