Sunday, February 19, 2012

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

The first thing that I learned to bake was cupcakes. The recipe came from a cookbook called "Favorite Recipes of Alabama Vocational Home Economics Teachers - Second Edition. The first edition was published in 1958. This is the only cookbook I remember my Mother having back then. The only cupcake liners were pastels or maybe silver. I used this recipe over and over - for special occasions and school projects. I remember once making them for the P.L.A.S. football team during a big rivalry week - one of the pep club ideas to "inspire" our team.  Inscribed on each cupcake was "Kill CCA". Well, we got "killed" 49-0! Haven't made a cupcake since! Not really!...... Fast forward to 2012. For a Christmas gift, I received the "Big Book of Cupcakes" from Southern Living!

256 Pages loaded with cupcake recipes, complete with beautiful photos of every variety. Each recipe also has a "Flip It" where you can use the same recipe with a different twist. Jan Moon, author of "Big Book of Cupcakes" and owner of Dreamcakes Bakery near Birmingham says that "Cupcakes Make People Happy"! I decided to make some friends happy today by making the Caramel Apple Cupcakes...

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Fresh Apple Cake 

1/2 cup better, melted        
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose soft wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
Cute paper baking cups
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to degrees. Stir together the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Combine flour and the next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until well blended. Stir in apple. Place paper baking cups in 2 (12 cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely before frosting. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Notes: I used light brown sugar and it worked well. I was a bit afraid to attempt caramel frosting but this recipe was simple and turned out great!

Old Fashioned Caramel Frosting

1 cup butter                                                                           
1 (16 oz.) package dark brown sugar                                       
1/2 cup evaporated milk        
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 T. light corn syrup
4 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter in a 3 qt. heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar (again, I used light brown); bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in evaporated milk, baking soda, and corn syrup; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let cool completely (about an hour). Transfer to a bowl. Gradually add powdered sugar to caramel mixture, beating at medium speed until blended. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. Use immediately. Makes 3 cups. Optional topping: chopped pecans.

Notes: Something I learned from the book is that the baking soda helps to prevent the caramel from becoming grainy.

So, if you want to make your friends happy, try this one! But don't use those plain pastel cupcake liners - find some wild and crazy ones - they are available for all occasions! If you love making cupcakes, the "Big Book of Cupcakes" is a "must have". It is an Oxmoor House publication. Let me know if you make the cupcakes!

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