Thursday, 15 September 2016

RECIPE: Salted caramel apple cupcakes

To tie in with the annual joy that is the Great British Bake Off (*ignores fact the the future of what has become a British establishment is currently at risk*), at work we're mid-way through the Telegraph Bake Off, and of course, I couldn't resist entering.
Rather than following the exact same format as legit Bake Off (because #soznotsoz journos got a newspaper to produce and ain't got time to create incredible baked goods every week), the first round of the Telegraph Bake Off sees two entrants pitted against each other each week, before the quarters, semis and final at the end.

Somewhat terrifyingly, I was first. And this meant I hadn't the foggiest what the standard would be. It was all anonymous so I had no idea who or what I was up against, and it all got a lot more nerve-wracking and tense than I'd been expecting.
I can't even imagine what the bakers on real GBBO must feel.

As I struggled to decide what to make, my dear friend Amber reminded me of my old caramel apple cake, which is one of her faves. It always was a winner, if I do say so myself.

But in an effort to make my bake a) more impressive, and b) easier to transport, I decided to turn said cake into cupcakes. And reader, they turned about pretty gosh darn well.
So well, in fact, that I won my round! Huzzah! (I was up against a very dreamy peanut butter chocolate cheesecake so the competition was fierce.)

And because they went down such a treat with both my colleagues and my flatmates - I couldn't not give them one now, could I? - I figured I'd share the recipe with you all too.

I love these cupcakes. They are soooooo caramelly! There's caramel in the cake batter instead of sugar, caramel actually dolloped inside each cake, caramel in the frosting AND then even more caramel drizzled on top. Yeah, your dentist ain't gonna love you for this. But everyone else will so it's fine.
The caramel pairs beautifully with the slightly tart apples, and the hint of salt stops the cupcakes being too sickly, in my opinion. And whilst you can't really taste the cinnamon as a distinct flavour, it adds a wonderful subtle warmth to the proceedings.

I think these cupcakes make for a rather lovely early autumn recipe - I know we eat apples all year round but I can't help but associate them with autumn (the best season of them all), for some reason. Maybe it's the memories of picking them from the orchard in my family garden or eating toffee apples on bonfire night as a little girl.

This recipe makes 17-18 cupcakes, depending on how much of the batter you eat as you go. Needless to say, I made 17. No regrets.



125g unsalted butter, softened (just leave it out of the fridge for a few hours to reach room temp)
397g can caramel (I used Carnation)
2 eggs, at room temp
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
300g Bramley (cooking) apples - I used 2 big ones
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp demerara sugar


225g butter
Rest of tin of caramel
400g icing sugar
A pinch of salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with paper cases. Peel, core and chop the apples into little chunks.

2. Place the butter and 225g of the caramel into a large bowl and beat with a handheld electric whisk until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and fold them in along with the milk before gently stirring in the apple until evenly incorporated into the batter. Spoon the cake mix into the muffin cases until each one is about 3/4 full, sprinkle a little demerara sugar over each cake and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes.

4. When done, the cupcakes should be golden, springy underneath the sugary crust, and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out just about clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for about ten minutes before popping the cupcakes on to a wire rack to cool fully.
5. Once the cakes are room temp, you can start on your icing and filling: with a small, sharp knife, cut out little cone shapes from the centre of each cupcake, pop a small dollop of caramel into the hole and press the cut-out piece of cake back on top.
6. Make the frosting: beat the butter with a handheld electric whisk for a solid five minutes - it'll feel like ages but keep going for the fluffiest, creamiest frosting.

7. Add the rest of the tin of caramel (apart from about 1 tsp worth!) and a pinch of salt and beat for a couple of minutes more until well incorporated. Finally, add the icing sugar a third at a time and beat well (I like to fold it in first to stop icing sugar going everywhere!) until you have a light, fluffy frosting.
8. Spread or pipe a large spoonful of icing on to each cupcake before finishing with a little drizzle of the final spoonful of caramel (you may have to melt it slightly to make it runny enough). And you're done! Yum.
I saved one cupcake and popped it in the freezer so I can have cake for breakfast on my birthday in a week. And I'm looking forward to it already.


  1. These look and sound delicious! I've been taking lots of baked goods into work with me because I'm loving having lots of people to share them with (and because the compliments give me a little boost throughout the day haha). These would go down very well indeed on my ward I think, I'll have to add them to my to-bake list, somewhere after all the requests! Good luck for the rest of the Telegraph Bake Off!
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    1. Thanks Jenny. That's so sweet of you and I'm sure your colleagues love the cakes. Hope you enjoy them and thanks! x

  2. Hi Rachel, foods made with apple are my absolute favorite, I was googling for new recipes with this fruit and I was lucky enough to find your blog post. Really loved this apple cupcakes recipe, I've to say that you described it with such a great details and with wonderful pictures. I'm giving this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing.


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