Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Apple Pie Cupcakes (with caramel whipped topping)

All, right! So, I've had this thing not quite ready to post for ages now. I actually have quite a few things to blog about, but am reading my 9th book in <2 weeks. Right now, I'm on the 4th book of the Harry Potter series, and people were quite right in saying that I would enjoy them. I think I'm going to try and see how many books I can finish before the end of October, because I got my kindle for my birthday last year and have been keeping track of how many books I've read since I got it (a disappointing 21 so far- I want to make it to 30!)

Back to the cupcakes. I made them for my husband's birthday in May, and have been needing to blog it for a while because it's one of the best desserts I've made. I threw this together before the ice cream cupcakes, and had to hide them in the fridge for a surprise party! I based the filling from this blog and the frosting from here.
What you'll need:

For the cake:
1 box cake mix plus egg, water, butter (whatever it says on the box).
Or cake batter from scratch recipe of choice
Bake them in cupcake papers and let them cool.

For the filling:
3 cups of cored, peeled, and diced granny smith apple
2tbsp butter
3tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Heat butter, cinnamon, and sugar on med-high for a minute. The mixture should bubble a little. Throw in the diced apples and turn it to medium. Cover the apples in the cinnamon sugar mixture and heat until soft (about 10 mins). Let it cool before adding to your cupcakes! 

For the topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tbsp granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
Okay, this is a bit trickier than the first two steps. Making caramel is pretty simple, but if you goof it gets too sticky. You can, however, salvage a mess and use it for this recipe as I did. My mistake? I didn't stir the sugar enough! I read from this link

"Prepare the caramel sauce. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and stir well to mix. Put the cream in a second small saucepan (or put in the microwave proved measuring cup). Place the first pan on medium heat and cook undisturbed until the sugar begins to melt and caramelize-you’ll see a few wisps of smoke coming out of the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally so that the sugar melts and caramelizes evenly. Remove it from the heat when the caramel is still very pale (the sugar will continue to darken off the heat). Slide the pan with the cream onto the burner. As soon as the cream has some bubbles around the edge (if using microwave put the cup in the microwave and heat for 1 minutes), add it to the caramel at arm’s length, averting your face-the caramel will boil up and may splatter out of the pan. Pour the diluted caramel into a medium bowl and cool it to room temperature."

It says "cook [the sugar] undisturbed until the sugar begins to melt and caramelize". If you haven't done this before, let me warn you to be vigilant! I left it too long before lowering the heat and stirring. If you're not sure if the sugar is caramelizing yet, toss it around in the pan to check for signs. Again, don't let this keep you from trying this combination of apples and caramel whipped cream- you will NOT regret it even if you mess up!

I baked the cake and hollowed out the cone shapes like I did with the ice cream cupcakes. Then I added the apple filling and put the lids on. 

Set them aside while you work on the topping.

Looks like caramel, right? Well, mistake #2- I wanted dark caramel. It was super sticky! I lost a lot of it, but the good news is, it washes out really easily with hot water.

Mixing the caramel with the rest of the cream- this is when it really started to come together. I thought there was no way the cream would whip up stiff peaks with all that sticky caramel, but it didn't let me down! The result was worth the effort.

Mmm, look at the surprise inside! My husband loved these for this 30th birthday.

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