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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Fall is here which means my trend of fall-themed baked goods will continue!!  My family went to an apple orchard in Elkhorn, WI called the Apple Barn and got a bunch of Honey Crisp apples (my favorite!!).  I wanted to make something for a preceptor who kind enough to be a reference for my current job and given her love of cupcakes, I decided there was no better way to thank her than with cupcakes.  With fresh apples in tote, the only logical next step was to make an apple cupcake…and then top it with caramel and peanuts!  It quickly became a fall-inspired dessert!

This cake took a little bit of work, but ended up really well in the end.  I originally grated the apples, but decided afterwards that the texture was too much like a muffin–so I decided to finely chop them up (could easily do this in a food processor).  The original cupcake had a TON of spice in it, but I thought that it took away from the apple flavor a bit, so I toned that down as well.  Caramel buttercream was courtesy of Martha Stewart–I can’t get enough of the recipes in her Cupcakes cookbook!!  Here’s the recipe (minus the buttercream–don’t want to get in trouble for posting that one 🙂 )

Spiced Apple Cupcake

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2-3 Honey Crisp apples–finely chopped (include the juice!)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2.5 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp ground ginger

3/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup brown sugar

Caramel Buttercream

Chopped peanuts

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a medium-sized bowl.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, and vanilla until well incorporated.  Then add the brown sugar and mix until combined.  Add the apples.

2) Add the drys into the wets and mix until just combined.  Fill the cupcake liners until 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-19 minutes.  Cool and top with caramel buttercream and chopped peanuts.

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