Enjoy your favorite fall flavors with these decadent caramel apple cupcakes. A softly spiced apple cupcake topped with caramel frosting, caramel drizzle, and a crisp apple slice. The perfect sweet treat for any evening.
You can’t go wrong with the classic caramel apple flavor combo. Whether you eat a classic apple dipped in caramel goodness, this cream cheese caramel apple dip, or in eat it in this cupcake form, it’s going to be delicious.
This caramel apple cupcake recipe highlights the flavor of the tart apples and the sweetness of the caramel perfectly in one sweet dessert.
A batch of these moist apple cupcakes makes for an easy treat option for a fall birthday party, classroom party, or Halloween baby shower. Or make these any time of the year while you imagine the crisp autumn air and the smell of warm spices.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Feeds a crowd – cupcakes are one of my go-to desserts anytime I have to bring something to share because they are so easy to make and sharable.
- Easy ingredients – everything you need for these apple spice cupcakes can be found year-round at your local grocery store.
- Quick recipe – any time you can make a full dessert in an hour is a win in my book. These perfect cupcakes are quick without compromising on flavor.
- Nutmeg - you can omit this if you don’t have it on hand.
- Butter - both salted and unsalted will work in this recipe.
- Vegetable oil - canola oil will work for this as well. Coconut oil works but will change the flavor slightly.
- Brown sugar - I used light but if you want a richer flavor you can use dark brown sugar.
- Milk – any type of milk will work, though I like whole milk personally.
- Apples - you will want to use fresh apples, I like Granny Smith apples when baking but you can use whatever type you prefer.
- Caramel sauce - use store-bought caramel or a homemade salted caramel sauce for this, either will work.
how to make caramel apple cupcakes
This caramel apple cupcakes recipe is easy to replicate. Simply follow the detailed instructions below and you’re ready to bake. You can also find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post that you can save for later.
1 – Make The Cupcake Batter
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and then line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt then set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
Beat on medium speed for three to four minutes in a stand mixer, until the mixture turns a lighter color and is nice and fluffy. You can also use an electric mixer if you prefer.
Now, add the vanilla extract and sour cream, and mix together until fully combined. Then add one egg at a time and mix until just combined and scraping the sides of the bowl in between additions.
Add the milk to the wet ingredients slowly, mixing as you add it.
Then add in half the flour mixture, and mix well. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated, but be careful not to over-mix.
Next, fold in the apple pieces until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
2 – Bake the Cupcakes
Grab your prepared pan and fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter. Tap the muffin tin on the counter, then place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
3 – Make The Caramel Frosting
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy. Again, you can use a stand mixer or an electric mixer for this.
Now add 1/2 of the powdered sugar, mix well, then add four tablespoons of caramel topping and mix until combined.
Now add the remaining 1/2 of the powdered sugar and beat well.
Add the cinnamon and mix until the frosting is a good piping consistency. Add more caramel sauce f it is too thick or if you want more caramel flavor.
4 – Decorate And Serve
Use a piping bag with a large piping tip to pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. I used a large star tip, but you can use any large tip you’d like.
Expert Tips And Storage Info
Rub lemon juice on the apple slices to keep them from browning.
For extra apple flavor, you can add an apple compote to the center of the cupcake.
If you don’t have a pipping bag you can use a ziplock with the corner cut off.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days.
Freeze the baked cupcakes in a freezer-safe container for up to three months, then unthaw and frost when ready to serve.
Cupcakes are fluffy due to the leavening agents reacting with acid and creating air that expands the batter.
You can use any type of apple you want but I recommend using Granny Smith or something with a similar tartness. A sweeter apple like honey crisp or gala apples will likely make these sweeter than you want.
More Easy Cupcakes
If you like cupcakes, you have to try out these other delicious cupcakes!
- Banana pudding cupcakes – a delicious cupcake filled with bananas and topped with a whipped cream frosting!
- Butterfinger cupcakes – a decadent chocolate cupcake topped with peanut butter frosting!
- Pumpkin cupcakes – moist pumpkin cupcakes topped with a fluffy cheesecake frosting!
- Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting – delicious lemon flavored cupcakes with the fluffiest frosting!
- Gingerbread cupcakes – spiced cupcakes with a spiced frosting, perfect for the holidays!
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 TBS sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 cup finely chopped apple
Caramel Buttercream Frosting
- 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Combine flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture turns a lighter color and is fluffy.1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Add vanilla and sour cream, mix together, then add one egg at a time and mix until just combined.3/4 tsp vanilla extract, 3 TBS sour cream, 2 large eggs
- Add the milk slowly, mixing as you add it, then add in half the flour mixture, mix well. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated, be careful not to over mix.3/4 cup milk
- Fold in apple chunks until evenly distributed throughout batter.1 cup finely chopped apple
- Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter then bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a baking rack to cool completely.
Caramel Buttercream Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy.1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
- Add 1/2 of the powdered sugar, mix well, then add 4 tablespoons of caramel sauce and mix until combined.5 cups powdered sugar
- Add the remaining 1/2 of the powdered sugar and beat well.
- Add the cinnamon and mix until frosting is a good piping consistency. If it is too thick, add more caramel sauce.1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Use a piping bag with a large piping tip to pipe frosting onto the cupcakes, then drizzle with caramel sauce, and top with a slice of apple.