Caramel Apple Cupcake Recipe

This seems like a great recipe to post as we are rapidly approaching the fall season. I am not a fan of pumpkin spice anything, but apple…apple I will do. This was another office birthday request for anther one of my IT support people. If you can’t tell by now they’re my favorites.

I made an apple cupcake with a salted caramel frosting and a caramel drizzle. The apple flavor was incredibly subtle and the homemade caramel added a nice touch on top. The sea salt sprinkle lent itself nicely to the sweet and salty balance. One request I received to make them better was to add apple pieces to the cupcake to give it a bit more flavor and texture. I will definitely have to try that out next time.

Apple cupcakes with a salted caramel frosting, homemade caramel drizzle and a sea salt sprinkle

Apple cupcakes with a salted caramel frosting, homemade caramel drizzle and a sea salt sprinkle

Ingredients: 

Cupcake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, softened

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, apple juice concentrate, milk and butter. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the top of the cupcake bounces back when you touch it.

Frosting

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Mix together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until completely smooth. Allow to cool for about 25-30 minutes. Combine butter and salt and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed. Cover and refrigerate about 45 minutes before using.

Caramel

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Bring brown sugar, butter, and milk to a boil and cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla extract.

My Notes:

  • Let the caramel cool before putting it on the cupcakes, otherwise it will melt your frosting and make a big mess
  • Other garnish ideas can include apple slices or caramel candies
  • Caramel can burn very quickly, so be careful not to keep in on the heat for too long
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Primal Friendly Banana Nutella Cupcake Recipe

This is a recipe that is extremely popular with my boyfriend, Josh, who lives the primal lifestyle. For those who are unfamiliar with the primal way of life, it essentially cuts out grains, starches, excessive carbs, legumes and pretty much all happiness in life. Just kidding…sort of. Since cupcakes are traditionally made from wheat flour, I usually need to get creative with some substitutions using coconut or almond flour – both primal friendly alternatives. Since almond and coconut flour are drier than wheat flour the substitutions are not 1:1 so converting a recipe over is not as easier as it seems.

These banana cupcakes are probably one of my more successful recipes. The primal diet also preaches the avoidance of sugars and processed foods, so my usual choice of Nutella frosting is a bit taboo, but sometimes Josh likes to live life dangerously and break the rules. Here are my “half-way healthy” primal-friendly banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting:

Primal friendly banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting and chocolate chips

Primal friendly banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting and dark chocolate chips

 

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

4 bananas
4 eggs
1/2 cup almond butter
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt
dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Combine your bananas, eggs, almond butter and butter in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add in your coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Nutella Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup Nutella
3 to 4 tbsp heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
salt to taste (optional)

Directions: Beat softened butter on medium speed. Beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and continue to beat on medium speed. Add the Nutella and continue to beat on medium speed. Add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and the vanilla extract. Add salt to taste.

My Notes:

  • If you want to make into a loaf for more of a banana bread style, use the same recipe and bake for 55-60 minutes.
  • I like to add dark chocolate chips as a little added bonus. I use mini chips in the muffins and regular sized chips in the loaf.
  • I add a bit of salt to the frosting to even out the flavor and cut the sweetness.
  • Heavy cream will make a creamier frosting. Regular milk will work in a pinch, but the frosting will be less creamy.

Key Lime Cupcake Recipe

My key lime cupcakes are definitely an office favorite. I end up making these multiple times a year. Of course out of all the cupcakes in my recipe catalog, these are one of my least favorite to make. The people that usually request these are just lucky I like them a lot!

Below are two frosting recipes – I rarely ever make the cream cheese version of the frosting but instead, opt for a plainer vanilla frosting. Baker’s choice! The cupcakes pictured here were a birthday treat for one of my IT support people.

Key lime cupcakes with vanilla frosting, green sugar crystals and lime flavored Peeps

Key lime cupcakes with vanilla frosting, green sugar crystals and lime flavored Peeps.

Ingredients:

Cupcake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp key lime extract
1 egg plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp fresh key lime juice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk well and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add in both sugars and lime extract and beat until well combined. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix well. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add in 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream, being sure to mix on low until just combined. Turn mixer off. Using a rubber spatula, quickly fold in the lime juice. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounce block full-fat cream cheese, softened
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp fresh key lime juice
1/4 tsp key lime extract

Directions:
In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and lime juice, beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the salt, key lime juice and extract; beat smooth.

Vanilla Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 tbsp milk

Directions:
In a medium bowl, beat powdered sugar and butter. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable.

My notes:

  • The order in which you combine and introduce ingredients matters. My first attempt to dump everything in at once failed miserably. Make sure you follow the directions closely!
  • Temperature matters! I can’t stress this enough! If I have indicated that something should be softened or at room temperature there is an important reason for it. I am all about as many short cuts as possible, but it will mess up the batter and/or frosting consistency if you don’t play by the rules.
  • If you don’t want an overpowering key lime flavor I recommend a plain frosting like the vanilla above, if you want to punch someone in the face with flavor then, by all means, go for the key lime cream cheese frosting.
  • The lime peeps happened to be available as it was Easter time, but some other options for garnish can be a lime twist, zest or graham cracker crumbs.
  • I prefer to use the extract for a more definitive flavor in the cupcakes. I used to use some ridiculously expensive extract because it worked well and I liked the flavor, but I recently found a much more inexpensive brand that has a better flavor from LorAnn Oils. I order it right off of Amazon, and since I have Prime I get the 2 day shipping for free. If you want a 30 day free trial click here.

Root Beer Float Cupcake Recipe

Just last week one of our IT support guys at work left us. As a parting gift to thank him for all of the terrible IT problems I’ve made him resolve over the last couple of years I made a batch of root beer float cupcakes.

This was the first time I made these, but the overall feedback I received was that they were “wicked good.” For those of you that don’t speak New England that means awesome. I believe the only request was for an additional side of cherries next time. This was the final result:

Root beer float cupcake with chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry

Root beer float cupcakes with root beer frosting, chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry

Ingredients:

Cupcake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of your favorite root beer soda (I used Mug root beer)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp root beer
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup softened butter
optional – brown food coloring

Directions:
Whip together sugar, butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add root beer and food coloring and beat until fluffy.

My notes:

  • Be careful not to add too much root beer to the frosting. The more liquid you add the runnier it will be. The soda only gives a hint of flavor, so if you want a more intense flavor try using root beer extract instead.
  • I added a bit of brown gel food coloring to the frosting to make it a little darker but it’s not necessary.
  • I love to use a pastry bag to decorate my cupcakes. The presentation is far superior that smearing on with a knife or spatula, but I guarantee they will be delicious either way!
  •  I happened to have maraschino cherries an chocolate sprinkles on hand so that’s what I used. Other ideas would be: root beer hard candies, root beer drizzle or a whipped cream topping instead of frosting and a straw (for a more authentic soda shoppe feel).
  • If you use maraschino cherries: rinse them off and dry thoroughly before adding them to the cupcake. If they are wet they will “melt” your frosting and it will start sliding everywhere.
  • I was battling an incredibly hot and humid day and they held up relatively well – cupcakes were only a little bit sticky after transferring from the car to the office.