Apple pie is one of my favorite fall desserts. There’s nothing cozier than the smell of baked apples, especially when combined with cinnamon.
But this year, I’m thinking outside the box and making an apple pie in cupcake form. Imagine a buttery graham cracker crust beneath a cinnamon apple cupcake, topped with salted caramel frosting. Add a touch of Sprinkle Pop leaf confetti and you have a perfect fall dessert! These salted caramel apple pie cupcakes will be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table. And you can make them gluten free.
Note: I originally made this recipe for Sprinkle Pop.
Start by making the graham cracker crust. I recommend using cinnamon graham crackers if you want a little bit of extra spice.
Break the graham crackers into crumbs, and then combine the crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar in a food processor. Line two muffin pans with cupcake wrappers. The recipe yields 14-16 cupcakes, so you’ll need two standard-sized pans. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture into each wrapper and pat it smooth.
Next, make the cupcake batter. Whisk the flour, baking powder and spices in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, cream the butter, sour cream and sugars until almost smooth. Beat in the egg and then mix in the vanilla. Stir in the flour, followed by the milk and the remaining flour.
You’ll need one large apple for the cupcakes, peeled, cored and chopped. Fold the chopped apple into the batter and scoop the batter on top of the crusts, filling each wrapper almost all the way to the top.
Bake for 18-22 minutes. They’re done wihen a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. (Try not to stick the toothpick into an apple chunk.)
Make the salted caramel frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. Or, if you want to save time, start the frosting before making the cupcakes. The brown sugar mixture takes about an hour to cool, so you could do that step first and bake the cupcakes while the sugar is cooling. Then you’ll be ready to finish the frosting once the cupcakes come out of the oven. Read this post for more details on making salted caramel frosting.
Pipe a rosette on each cupcake using Wilton tip #1M and top with Sprinkle Pop leaf confetti. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy!
Tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try these salted caramel apple pie cupcakes and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers. Happy baking! 🙂
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup gluten graham cracker crumbs, regular or cinnamon or substitute gluten-full graham crackers
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
Cinnamon Apple Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour or substitute all-purpose flour for gluten-full cupcakes
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whole milk room temperature
- 1 large apple cored, peeled and chopped
Salted Caramel Frosting
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1/4 cup Crisco
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1/4 tsp salt sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp whole milk
- assorted sprinkles optional
- Use your hands to break graham crackers apart into large
crumbs. Then mix the crumbs, melted butter and light brown sugar in a food
processor until combined. The mixture will resemble coarse sand.
- Line muffin pans with paper wrappers. This recipe yields 14-16 cupcakes so you’ll likely need two pans. Scoop 1 tbsp of the graham cracker mixture into each cup, spreading it evenly across the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter, sour cream and sugars until combined. Don’t worry if the batter isn’t completely smooth. Beat in the egg and then stir in the vanilla.
- Mix in half of the flour on low speed, until just combined. Mix in the milk, followed by the remaining flour. Then fold in the chopped apples.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, until each cup is almost full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Leave the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorating the Cupcakes
- Make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. Combine the butter, Crisco, brown sugar and heavy cream in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar, butter and Crisco are completely dissolved and the mixture just begins to boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. Let cool to room temperature, about an hour.
- Sift the powdered sugar and salt while the brown sugar mixture is cooling. Then slowly mix it into the brown sugar on low speed. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, followed by 1 tablespoon of milk and the vanilla. Add the remaining sugar and 1 more tablespoon of milk. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy. Add another tablespoon of milk if needed, but do so 1 teaspoon at a time. For me, the perfect consistency is 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of milk.
- Pipe a rosette on top of each cooled cupcake using Wilton tip #1M, and top with sprinkles. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy!