|my new mini bushel baskets, man bait apple crisp, and little bits of heaven|
So add the presentation idea to my love of apple crisp and the little bits of heaven I found in the grocery store by Kraft, Caramel Bits. They are sold along with those annoying square caramels where you have to unwrap each one individually. When I saw these bits, I knew they'd be perfect for adding some caramel-y goodness to some cupcakes.
This weekend was finally the time I got to put all of these together. I like baking days like this too, where it all just seems to come together perfectly. It may have helped that I had some great company in the kitchen too. My Mom was there to offer her baking hints and a helping hand. My sister Shari and her friend Karie were working on crafts at the kitchen table and made for great company.
These cupcakes are just too good for me not to share the recipe with you. The time and steps put into topping these cupcakes is what really makes them come together. As a special bonus, this is a cheater recipe, starting with a box cake mix instead of working from scratch. Yes, it is o.k. to do that from time to time. If you recall, I did this once before while making my Blue Raspberry Beach Cupcakes. Again, more time was needed for the toppings, so it was nice having a short cut in the recipe.
Caramel Apple Crisp Cupcakes
1 box spice cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
3 apples (peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces)
1/2 recipe crisp topping, unbaked (see below)
To make cupcakes:
Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare baking cups (I made 16 jumbo cupcakes). Blend cake mix, eggs, oil and milk until well combined, using hand mixer or in stand mixer. Using spatula, fold in apple pieces. Divide batter evenly, filling cups about half full. Sprinkle half of unbaked crisp topping mixture on each of the cups. Bake approx. 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Caramel Buttercream (from Wilton)
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups confectioner's sugar
To make buttercream:
Blend shortening and butter in stand mixer until creamy. Add caramel ice cream topping and vanilla. Gradually add confectioner's sugar until blended, scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Add milk (2-4 Tbs.) and mix until smooth.
1/2 cup butter, soft
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oats
2 Tbs. flour
3/4 caramel bits
To make crisp topping:
With a fork, blend all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well while still leaving some large clumps. Divide mixture in half. Use half above, baking with the cupcake batter. Spread the second half on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350. Stir a couple times in between baking to redistribute ingredients. Mixture may melt flat to one large piece. Let cool. When cool, break into smaller pieces.
Now it's time to assemble these beauties! When cupcakes are cool, pipe the center of the cupcake with caramel buttercream. Sprinkle each cupcakes with small pieces of crisp topping. If you have left over caramel ice cream topping from the buttercream recipe, drizzle each cupcake with caramel.
A few items to note about these cupcakes. One: I don't have a favorite apple I use while baking. In fact I had a variety bag of 4 or 5 different kinds of apples from the orchard so I'm not even sure what kind I used while making these cupcakes. Two: I used jumbo cupcake papers because I knew that size would best fit the mini bushel baskets I wanted to serve them in. If using regular size, baking time will need to be adjusted. Three: I questioned making the crisp topping. It appears it isn't going to work and just be a melty mess. Don't worry and don't skip this step, it is so yummy! Four: With these cupcakes being jumbo size and being so soft with the apples inside, they require a fork. Not an eat right out of the wrapper kind of cupcake.
This may be one of my favorite cupcakes I have ever made. Because they were so yummy, most of the batch was delivered promptly to some co-workers. Out of sight, out of my belly!
It was the perfect desert to top a wonderful fall day. It was beautiful outside, so nice we even had the patio door open with a crisp fall breeze coming in. We also had a campfire going outside to make our dinner, getting in one last pudgie pie in for the season! And by "we" I mean my Dad and brother-in-law, they were in charge of the fire and cooking dinner. They were also my set/lighting crew while taking photos. The best parts were the laughs shared over the afternoon. Many laughs coming from my sister reading posts from The Bloggess out loud. Hopefully Mom made note that Shari and I both have giant metal chickens on our Christmas lists! If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this post, HERE.
Oh, Shari and Karie had a successful crafting day too. I even modeled one of their masterpieces. I may make this my Christmas card. There may also be a shot of me waving with less fingers...but I was smiling the whole time! No really, I found myself smiling for the photo....why? I have no idea! Later on, this picture reminded me of the Friends episode where Monica put the turkey on her head to cheer Chandler up. Kind of like a giant metal chicken on your friend's porch could cheer them up. (see Bloggess post if you haven't yet!) Yeah, that's the kind of friend I am.