Let it be known that Kelsey loses her mind at carnys. And i do mean.
Loses. Her. Mind…
The Ohio State Fair just wrapped up this weekend and we find ourselves suffering from carny withdraw. Normal life just can’t stack up to the sensory overload that is a fair; the smells of fried food, flashing multi colored lights, oversized stuffed animals, and don’t forget the face paint.
We’ve decided to deal with our withdraw & pay homage to one of our favorite summer activities by baking up some carnival inspired cupcakes! These Caramel Apple Cupcakes and Candy Apple Cupcakes (coming your way in our next post!) will make your think you’re at a fairground, and hopefully even inspire you to take a trip to your local carnival.
CARAMEL APPLE CUPCAKES
- 1 box of Spice Cake
- 1 Apple (we used a beautiful red Honey Crisp, but you’re free to use whatever apple calls your name)
- 1 Cup of Crisco
- 1 Cup of butter
- One 2 lb bag of powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla coffee creamer (Vanilla extract will work just fine in place of creamer)
- Caramel topping
- Chopped peanuts (optional)
First, chop up your apple into cubes, and toss them in a small bowl. Leave them big enough to actually taste-maybe ½ inch cubes. Spoon 3 Tablespoons of your dry spice cake mix into the apples and stir the apples around to make sure they’re pretty well coated in the dry mix. This helps to make sure you get a tasty apple in every bite. Now go ahead and mix up the cake mix according to the package instructions. Once your batter is smooth, fold in your apple mixture. Finally, spoon them into your lined cupcake pan and bake 15-20 minutes, or until cupcake is golden brown. If you’re like me and really bad at setting the timer on your oven, you can always use the good ol’ trusty toothpick method.
Now it’s Buttercream time.
While your cupcakes are in the oven, mix up some icing. With your electric mixer, cream the butter and Crisco together. Now add in the 2lb bag of powdered sugar. Yep-you heard me right…the Whole bag. I highly suggest doing this in 3 or 4 increments (unless you and everyone within 3 feet of you enjoy being coated in a fine layer of powdered sugar). Once you’ve got your sugar totally incorporated into your butters, mix in your vanilla coffee creamer. Now, vanilla coffee creamer is totally optional and you can use vanilla extract in its place and you’ll still end up with an equally delicious buttercream. Butttttt for this recipe, I prefer the creamer. It gives the buttercream an extra oomph that really works with the spicy appley caramely nuttiness of this cupcake. If you tend to get a little vanilla happy, and you taste your buttercream and think it needs more, go ahead and give it another teaspoon. (99% of the time, I throw in a little extra vanilla for good measure. Don’t tell my sister.) A little extra vanilla never hurt anybody 🙂
By now your kitchen should be filled with some good spice cake smells. Once your cupcakes are out of the oven and completely cooled, ice them with the buttercream. We used a butter knife to layer the icing on thick. To get our buttercream smooth and dome-like, we dipped the butter knife in hot water and smoothed the icing into a dome shape of our liking.
Ok, its time to get down and dirty with some caramel. I say this because, really, there’s a good chance you’re hands are gonna end up a little sticky, and that’s an OK thing. Put your caramel sauce into a microwave safe bowl and zap it for about 10 seconds. This should loosen it up enough to be able to dip your cupcakes in. The next step is dipping your cupcake, and your dipping style is totally up to you! We did a little bit of everything. We drizzled some, we just dipped the tops of some, and we only dipped around the edges of some. Again-this is all up to you-Have fun with it! Finally, we dipped our caramel covered goodies into the roughly chopped nuts.
These caramel apple cupcakes store best in an airtight container….but I’ll be impressed if you even have any left to store 🙂
Tune in tomorrow for part 2 of our Carny Cupcakes adventure, Candy Apple Cupcakes! I promise they’re worth the wait 🙂
Carny Prizes and Vinegar soaked French Fries,
Kelsey & Krista