Caramel Apple Cupcakes

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Caramel apple cupcakes are soft cupcakes flavored with apples and caramel in both the cupcake and the buttercream frosting. Decorate the top with apple slices and drizzle with caramel for a pretty look.

If there’s one thing I love about the quickly approaching fall season, it’s the food. Comforting casseroles, freshly baked bread, apple desserts…and caramel apple.  

I can’t wait to share with you some of our best apple recipes. These Caramel Apple Cupcakes are only the beginning. Scroll underneath the recipe to see more of our favorites.

cupcakes with caramel and apples

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Cute cupcakes that are pretty for fall parties.
  • Shortcut recipe with a box cake mix.
  • Homemade caramel frosting that will melt in your mouth.
  • Decorate with apples slices or just add fall sprinkles.

Cupcake Recipe Shortcut

When I created this cupcakes recipe, I knew I wanted something easy. If you’d like a homemade caramel cupcake, try the recipe we used on The Best Cake Recipes for a cake that pairs well with caramel.

I started with the Duncan Hines caramel cake mix because I wanted a good, strong caramel flavor. If you can’t find a caramel cake mix, use butter golden or spice cake mix.

Box mixes normally call for water and generally I switch out that water for milk to give the cake more of a “bakery” flavor.  For these little bites of fall, I decided to use ½ cup of milk and ½ cup of apple juice concentrate in the cake batter. 

I loved the results. There is a hint of apple flavor that mixes perfectly with the caramel cake. And they’re so soft & fluffy. Some of the softest cupcakes that I’ve ever made.

a cupcake with a bite out of it

How to Make Caramel Buttercream Frosting

The buttercream frosting for the cupcakes was the next thing to tackle.  Again, I wanted a full-bodied caramel flavor.

I used caramel ice cream topping and then a touch more of the apple juice concentrate to give the frosting just a hint of appley-goodness. Just as with our honey roasted peanut butter cupcakes, we used an ice cream scoop to put a big spoonful of frosting on top. It took just a swoop or two of a knife to spread out the soft, melt in your mouth buttercream frosting.

Tips for Making Caramel Apple Cupcakes

  • If you want to make the cupcakes look pretty, you can decorate the tops with cut apple slices.
  • To keep the apple slices from turning brown, coat them in lemon juice, let the slices sit for a minute, then dry them.  Our slices stayed white for at least 12 hours.
  • I suggest putting the slices in the cupcakes as close to serving time as possible. They’ll look the best that way.
  • The weight of the apple slices can cause the frosting to slip a bit, especially on a warm day. If you need to make them much in advance, store them in the refrigerator so the frosting stays firm.
a cupcake with apples sitting on a plate
a cupcake with apples sitting on a plate

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

4.80 from 10 votes
Soft cupcakes flavored with apple and caramel in both the cupcake and the buttercream. Decorate the top with apple slices and drizzle with caramel for a pretty look!
Servings 26
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 box caramel cake mix (or butter golden or spice cake)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup salted butter softened

Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup salted butter softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple juice concentrate
  • 2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • apple slices for decorating optional
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping for decorating optional

Instructions
 

Make the cupcakes:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake mix, eggs, apple juice concentrate, milk and butter. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Place cupcake wrappers in a cupcake pan and scoop the batter evenly into the wrappers, filling about 2/3 of the way full. (I did not want mine to overflow so actually made 26 cupcakes instead of 24.)
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the top of the cupcake bounces back when you touch it.

Make the buttercream:

  • While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter and shortening until it is creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, apple juice concentrate, caramel topping and salt. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes until the frosting is well-mixed.
  • This frosting will not get very light and airy. It should be very creamy and smooth. Keep the frosting cold if possible as it will get runny if it gets too warm.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes with the prepared buttercream.
  • If desired, right before serving decorate the tops of the cupcakes with apple slices and caramel topping.
  • Refrigerate until serving.

Notes

To keep your apple slices from turning brown, toss them with lemon juice or Sprite. Be sure the slices are dry before putting them on the cupcakes.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 26 cupcakes, with 1 serving being 1 frosted cupcake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 72mg | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 262
Keyword apple dessert, cupcake recipe

Apple Recipes You’ll Love

During apple season, you might find you want a new apple recipe to enjoy. Here’s a few we love!

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Cindy Eikenberg
8 years ago

These looks over-the-top fantastic and this is simply the best fall flavor combination in my book – well, maybe one of the best period! Oh, how I would love to have one right now! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe – pinned and sharing! Have a happy Wednesday!

Melanie @ Garnish & Glaze
8 years ago

Beautiful! Love the apples and caramel on top. It’s making my mouth water!

Jill
8 years ago

Stopping over from “Buns in my Oven”. These look so beautiful and sound delicious. Perfect for fall. Pinned!

Anne
8 years ago

I’m a sucker for cupcakes, and these look amazing! Can’t wait to try them!

Thalia @ butter and brioche
8 years ago

these look delicious.. i can imagine how good they would have tasted!

Peter
8 years ago

omg… very tempting… This recipe is new for me… Bookmarked ! I am gonna try this for sure

Deb @ Cooking on the Front Burner
8 years ago

Wow – these look fantastic!! Love the caramel drizzle – send me one ok?? 🙂

Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes
8 years ago

I am so ready for apple and pumpkin recipes!! I think I need to make these for our next get-together!!

Cathy@LemonTreeDwelling
8 years ago

I’m with you – I love the flavors of fall! Can’t wait to try these amazing cupcakes! (Caramel Buttercream sounds amazing!)

Karly
8 years ago

I could eat 27 of these! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

Renea (cupcake-n-bake)
8 years ago

Oh, these look like something out of my dreams. I love the taste of caramel and apples. Definitely trying these!

Renea – http://cupcake-n-bake.blogspot.com

Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel
8 years ago

Caramel apples are one of my absolute FAVORITE treats. I love them SO much, and these cupcakes look so rockin’!!

Rachael
8 years ago

These look amazing & delicious!!!
Thanks for linking up at Share Your Stuff Tuesdays! Hope you come again soon (Rachael @ http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com)

Megan Behary
8 years ago

These look amazing! Would the same recipe hold up in a cake pan?

Lisa
4 years ago

Is the cake mix just caramel cake mix or the caramel apple one. I couldn’t find just caramel.