I love the fall. I love the weather; I love the leaves crunching beneath my feet; I love reuniting with my boots again after many months apart; I love hayrides and hikes through picturesque fall foliage; I love pumpkin- and apple-flavored and smelling things; I love corn mazes and pumpkin carving; I love all the colors and smells of fall. I love the wondrous disappearance of mosquitoes. I love fall. I also recently purchased a new fall-scented Spiced Pumpkin Yankee candle. The smells make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I burn them in the evenings after a long day of work. And I can’t wait to drink the bottle of spiced wine I bought at my cousin’s bachelorette wine tasting this past spring from the Williamsburg Winery in Virginia that I have been saving for this wonderful time of year. I also just visited Bath and Body Works to update my wallflowers and hand soap collection with fall fragrances (Leaves, Cranberry Woods, Harvest Gathering, Nutmeg and Spice, Hazelnut Latte, and Autumn Day, to name a few). Yay. Don’t the names alone make you happy? 🙂
And, let’s not forget about my little monster: I can’t wait to rake a pile of leaves and throw Daisy in it. (And by ‘rake a pile of leaves’, I mean, get Christian to rake a pile of leaves, and when I when I say ‘throw Daisy in it’, I mean, have Christian throw Daisy in it, because I am weak…and she is huge.) She’s already discovering bunnies and squirrels, bumblebees and butterflies. I cannot wait for her to discover crunchy leaves. She’s going to go craaaazy!
All in all, fall is a great season – probably the best season – and it brings with it smells and tastes and colors and feelings that make you all warm and fuzzy inside, even as the air around you gets colder. And the last reason fall is awesome: After fall comes CHRISTMAS, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas. More on that later this year…
The point of my mini rave to fall is that I am in full-swing bake-lots-of-pumpkin-and-apple-flavored-things mode. The weekend before last (I know, I’ve been slacking on posting lately), I made Apple Spice Muffins with Salted Caramel Frosting. Need I say more?
…Maybe not, but I will, because I always do. (I have a lot on my mind, what can I say?)
These are delicious. And easy, and proof that sometime simple is better. The most difficult part is peeling and chopping the apples, which isn’t actually difficult at all. I just don’t like peeling and chopping. Whenever Christian is around when I am making dinner I ask him to chop veggies for me because I really hate that part for some inexplicable reason. I also hate washing lettuce. And doing dishes. (This is a constant internal battle since I love cooking and baking so much and therefore these things are necessary evils.) I could really benefit from a sous-chef; that’s all I’m saying. But I digress.
I will keep this simple: These cupcakes were light and refreshing with the apple and spices and made for the perfect fall cupcake. I loved the little chunks of apple in these cupcakes, and next time I will probably make the chunks a little bigger because they were so pleasant in the cupcakes I feel that bigger chunks would have been even more delightful.
The frosting was delicious and extremely sweet and caramelly. If you like caramel, you will LOVE this frosting. I think next time I might try to make the sweetness less intense (it kind of overpowers the apple-spice deliciousness of the cake – though not in a bad way). My friend Ashley (who pointed me towards this recipe and suggested I try it) and I came up with a few ways to do this:
- Use light brown sugar instead of dark.
- Replace some of the powdered sugar with corn starch (not too much – you don’t want to compromise the smoothness of the frosting).
- Boil down the brown sugar-butter mixture a little more, so less powdered sugar is needed in the end.
- Maybe add a little more cream and/or salt.
If you are scared to modify the recipe – don’t worry – it is delicious as is, too!
Another important tip: Make sure you let your melted butter-sugar-cream mixture cool before adding the powdered sugar. Otherwise, you may end up adding more powdered sugar than is necessary, because it thickens some as it cools. And then your frosting is super thick and harder to pipe…and sweeter.
I also found this recipe made barely enough frosting to cover all my cupcakes, but it worked out nicely, because, like I said, the frosting is very sweet and the cupcakes didn’t need much.
I took them to work and they were a big hit. No one thought the frosting was even too sweet (but I think many of my coworkers may have an even bigger sweet tooth than I do). I know I am my harshest critic, and the frosting was delicious – don’t get me wrong – maybe it is just that I personally would have preferred a little lighter of a frosting (I just tend to prefer things on the lighter side). Either way, no complaints from the masses and this recipe gets the (very official) Daisy Bites Seal of Approval. So, if you love fall and apple-flavored things as much as I do (or even, much-less-than-I-do-but-still-love-fall), these cupcakes are a must. Enjoy!
Oh right! This recipe came from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I only got 17 cupcakes out of it, while the recipe says it makes 18 – how dare Sally deceive me so greatly! I guess I can forgive her though, since they were pretty delicious…
Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Prep time: 30 mins
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Makes 18 cupcakes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
2/3 cup light brown sugar (or dark brown)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk (almond, cow’s, or sory milk are fine)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 small apples, chopped into fine pieces (about 1.5 cups)
Salted Caramel Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, sugars, milk, and vanilla until completely smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients and stir until JUST combined. Do not overmix. (Stop mixing right before flour all disappears.) Slowly mix in the apples just until they are incorporated.
- Fill each baking cup about 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Mine took 20 minutes.) Allow to cool.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream.
- Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool. Do not add in sugar when still hot!!! (I may possibly know from experience…)
- Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes and adorn with caramel sauce and sprinkles, if desired. (I personally felt the cupcakes had plenty of caramel without any sauce.) Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.