Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Caramel Apple Butter Cupcakes

I love everything about fall, including all the fall-inspired recipes. I had bookmarked these apple butter filled cupcakes a couple months ago. Now that fall has finally graced us with its presence, I have a good excuse to experiment with the recipe.

I even had some caramel apple butter in my cabinet. If you think apple butter is good, then you really need to try caramel apple butter.

I decided to try something new for the cake. I’ve been reading a lot about bakers doctoring up box mixes to make wonderfully fluffy white cakes. This recipe in particular had a ton of comments from people who had tried the recipe and loved it. I’m glad I got the opportunity to try it. The cupcakes give you the fluffiness of a box mix, but with more of a homemade taste.

I was originally going to try this with a box of vanilla cake, but couldn’t find any at my store. Does vanilla cake mix exist, or am I remembering incorrectly? Anyway, I went ahead and used the white cake mix called for in the recipe. According to some of the comments under the recipe, people have had good luck with a lot of different cake mix flavors.

Caramel Apple Butter Cupcakes:
White cake recipe from Recipe Girl

1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites
12 oz. apple butter

*Recipe says it makes 36 cupcakes, although I got closer to 30.
** Through reading the comments on Recipe Girl’s site, I found out that most companies now only sell 15-16 oz. box mixes. I actually bought two boxes & measured out the extra couple ounces. Some comments said they tried the recipe with one box and it turned out fine. Another commenter claimed to use a heaping cup of flour, a little over a cup of sugar, and 1 tsp. of baking powder to offset the loss of cake mix.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid) for 2 minutes, or until well blended.

Fill cupcake tins about 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter. Spoon a heaping teaspoon full of apple butter into the center. Spoon enough batter in to cover the apple butter. Some follow the theory that cupcakes should be filled 2/3 full. Others claim 3/4. Either way, just remember to leave room for your apple butter.

Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Mine took closer to 20 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 -1.5 tsp. vanilla extract, to taste
Pinch of salt

Mix cream, vanilla and salt together in a small bowl. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar until completely combined. Add the cream mixture and beat for 3 or 4 minutes until fluffy and smooth. (This can also be made with vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste.)

I finished the cupcakes by sprinkling the tops with a little cinnamon and sugar. I’m sure any number of toppings would work: candied pecans, candy pumpkins, candy corn, or even some meringue ghosts for Halloween.