Slash & Dine: Freddy’s Fall Cupcakes
Article by Natalie Slater of Bake & Destroy
Freddy’s Fall Cupcakes – Caramel-filled Spiced Apple with Peanut Butter Frosting
This year Chicago pretty much went from winter right back to fall again – we decided against summer all together. But now that it’s officially September I feel justified in making all the spicy, hard fruit sweets the chilly weather has had me craving these past few months.
September, to me, means one thing – back to school. I was asking my husband about his favorite school-related horror movies and he graphically recalled the bloody body bag scene from Nightmare on Elm Street. Of course! Who could forget Nancy Thompson and her school friends being tortured in their nightmares by the vengeful Freddy Krueger?
Well, those kids were a little too busy to worry about an apple for the teacher, but I’ve got my mind on dessert no matter who’s trying to rip me to shreds. So I whipped up these spiced apple cupcakes – with an easy caramel filling* and a creamy peanut butter frosting. It’s everything back-to-school and fall with none of the disembowelment. I hope you enjoy them and if you don’t well, Freddy will get you soon enough anyway.
* There are two ways to make these – the easy way, which will result in a chewy caramel chunk somewhere in the middle of your cupcake; and the less-easy way that will get you soft, oozy caramel more toward the top of your cupcake. I’ve listed the easy way as the main recipe. To make oozy caramel, please read the end of the recipe first.
For the cupcakes you will need:
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chunky cinnamon apple sauce
2 Tbs buttermilk
12 chewy caramels, unwrapped + about 1/4 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pan with paper liners. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until well mixed. Add egg and beat well. Mix in vanilla, beating well again. In a small measuring cup or bowl, mix together the applesauce and buttermilk. The batter will be lumpy, so just beat it until it’s mixed, not until it’s smooth.
Alternately mix flour mixture and applesauce mixture into butter mixture, beating just until smooth. Scoop batter into pan, filling cups about 1/2 way.
Shake unwrapped caramels in 1/4 cup flour until well coated. (This will help suspend the caramel in the middle of the cupcake.) Using a fork, separate caramels from flour. Drop one caramel into each cup of batter, then top with more batter so each cup is filled 2/3 full.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cake is golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
For the peanut butter frosting you will need:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbs milk
Beat together sugar, butter and salt until creamy. Add peanut butter, beating well. Add milk and beat until smooth and creamy.
Frost each cupcake and top with chopped peanuts, if you like.
* If you prefer a soft, oozy caramel to the chewy chunk you’ll get following the directions above, listen up. Follow this recipe but don’t toss the caramels in flour and bake the apple cupcakes without anything inside them. Once they’ve cooled, cut a cone shape out of the top like you did for the Fulci Lives cupcakes. In a small bowl, microwave about 20 unwrapped caramels with about 1 & 1/2 Tbs of milk or cream. Heat just until melted – 3-40 seconds should do it. (You can also do this in a saucepan.) Stir until gooey and spoon some caramel into each cupcake cavity. Plug with the left over cake and frost. Of course you can make your own caramel as well, if you want to waste what little time you have left fusing over a candy thermometer.