- Serves: makes 24
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Effort: easy
For the cupcakes:
- 225 g unsalted butter, softened
- 225 g light brown sugar
- seeds from 1 vanilla pods, or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 medium eggs
- 240 g self-raising flour
- 250 g bramley apples, peeled and cubed, approximately 2 large apples
For the vanilla syrup:
- 60 g sugar
- ½ used vanilla pods, or ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the caramel frosting:
- 250 g cream cheese, softened
- 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- 625 g icing sugar, sifted
- 150 g soft caramel, or dulce de leche
1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4 and line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake cases.
2. Place the butter, sugar, a pinch of salt and vanilla in a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs lightly in a jug and slowly add to the butter mixture while beating quickly. If the mixture starts to separate or curdle, stop adding the egg and beat in 23 tablespoons of flour before adding the rest of the egg. This will rebind the mixture. Once all the egg has been added, sift in the flour and fold until the batter is just combined.
3. Fold in the apple. Using a piping bag or tablespoon, fill the cases until two-thirds full. Bake for 2022 minutes, depending on your oven. They are cooked when the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or skewer into the centre of each; it should come out clean.
4. For the vanilla syrup: While the cupcakes are in the oven, place 60ml water and the sugar into a small saucepan and bring just to the boil. Stir until the sugar crystals have all dissolved, then remove from the heat. Set aside to cool. Add ½ a used vanilla pod while cooking or ½ tsp vanilla extract to the cooled syrup.
5. Once cooked, let rest for a few minutes outside of the oven. Brush the tops with the vanilla syrup while they are still warm. Remove them from the trays and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
6. For the caramel frosting: Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Place the butter and a third of the sugar into a separate bowl and cream until very pale and fluffy. Add another third of the sugar and repeat. Add the remaining sugar and beat again, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure no lumps remain.
7. Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, and mix at a low speed until combined. Gently mix in the soft caramel then chill until firm enough to pipe.
8. Pipe or spoon the frosting onto the cool cupcakes and decorate with a lollipop stick.
Photographer: Georgia Glynn Smith.
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