Apple Cider Cupcakes & Salted Caramel Buttercream
Moist and flavorful apple cider cupcakes with salted caramel frosting on top!
I think most of the world is in agreement that this is the BEST time of year for baking. My kitchen is filled with Fall aromatics like pumpkin and cinnamon and apples! There’s nothing cozier than that.
Even if it is 85 degrees outside. 🙄
This is an old, old recipe from that blog that has long past deserved an update– both in photos and the recipe. I first posted this back in 2011, when Something Swanky was just barely breaking into the blogging world.
These cupcakes quickly gained popularity, but the original recipe had a lot of problems (as evidenced in several of the comments below 🙁). Mostly in the frosting department. The original recipe called for melting Kraft caramels and mixing the melted caramels into a buttercream.
I’ve since tested multiple methods for making salted caramel buttercream and have decided that there is no shortcut. You can’t use jarred caramel sauce. And you can’t melt down caramels. You really do have to make homemade “caramel” from scratch to make the buttercream work out just right.
The good news is: it’s really, really easy. And really not a big deal. Like, I’m not sure why I bucked so hard against doing that in the first place!
Not to let the salted caramel buttercream completely steal the show here, let’s talk about the apple cider cupcakes underneath.
I love these cupcakes. I think they’re a little muffin-y in the taste, almost bran-like. Which is interesting, because the recipe doesn’t even use whole wheat flour. But all the same, it has an oaty, harvest-y (is that a word?) type flavor to it. It’s hearty, but light and fluffy at the same time.
It pairs in a beautiful, cozy way with the caramel frosting.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! Happy Fall 😄 🍂!
Simple apple cider cupcakes with homemade salted caramel frosting on top.
For the Cupcakes:
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp apple pie spice
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup apple cider
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (no substitutes)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- pinch of sea salt + more for sprinkling on top
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a cupcake tin with liners.
- Whisk together the butter and sugars. Gently whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the vanilla, apple pie spice, flour, baking soda, salt and apple cider. Whisk until batter forms.
- Divide the batter evenly in the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the Frosting:
- Place the butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour the caramel mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (you may want to reserve some to drizzle on top of the cupcakes). To speed up the cooling process, place the bowl in an ice bath and stir the caramel until it has cooled to almost room temperature (this shouldn't take long over an ice bath).
- Using the whisk attachment, mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes, drizzle with caramel if desired. I added a small pinch of flaked sea salt on top of each cupcake as well.
Have you made a Something Swanky recipe? Post it on Instagram and tag me @somethingswanky or use the hashtag #somethingswankyrecipes. I’d love to re-post!