Aug. 16, 2021

Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

Skill level: Moderate

A mashup of several fall favorites in one - spiced cupcakes filled and topped with apple pie filling, salted caramel frosting, and an extra drizzle of caramel. This recipe relies on using store-bought cake mix. See recipe notes for suggestions and tips. Great for a fall-themed party, birthday, or any occasion, like a Tuesday.


  • Two dozen pre-baked and cooled spice cupcakes*
  • One 16.6-ounce jar of thick caramel sauce, divided*

Apple pie compote

  • 4 organic Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple juice or cider divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch sea salt

Salted caramel frosting

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) salted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup thick caramel sauce
  • 4-5 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk or water


  1. Begin by preparing the apple pie compote. Place diced apples, ½ cup apple juice or cider, and brown sugar in a small skillet or saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ½ cup of apple juice with cornstarch, vanilla, spices, and a pinch of sea salt. While stirring, pour the mixture into the pan with the apples. Raise heat and allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before placing in the fridge to cool completely. The mixture will set up and thicken further.
  3. Prepare Salted Caramel Frosting: using an electric stand or hand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until creamy and light in color. With the mixer running on low speed, add the caramel sauce a little at a time. Add half of the powdered sugar and continue beating. Add a little milk or water and beat again; repeat with the remaining powdered sugar and liquid. After the last addition, beat until light and fluffy. Cover and store in a cool spot or refrigerate until ready to assemble cupcakes.
  4. To assemble cupcakes, use a melon baller or apple corer to remove a small piece of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a heaping teaspoon of filling and top with the piece of cupcake. Gently press down.
  5. Fit a piping bag with a large piping tip. Fill the bag with some of the salted caramel frosting. (Work in batches depending on the size and volume of the piping bag.) Pipe a large rosette onto each cupcake, leaving a slight well in the center for the apple pie filling. Spoon more of the apple filling into the center of the rosette. Stir the ½ cup caramel sauce to loosen it up a bit. If it’s too thick to drizzle, warm slightly in a microwave or small saucepan. Drizzle the caramel over each compote-topped cupcake. Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe notes:

-If not using a spice cake mix, use your favorite vanilla, yellow, or white cupcake recipe or cake mix and add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.

-Substitute the store-bought caramel sauce with your favorite homemade caramel sauce. Omit the milk or water from the frosting recipe if the caramel sauce is of a thinner consistency.

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