It was during the cupcake craze I learned that a super moist cake piled high with icing and fillings and drizzled with a gorgeous sauce hits the spot every time. These Apple Pie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Drizzle are perfect for social events and celebrations because they’re not only delicious but easy and decadent.
Here’s the very best part. These cupcakes are made with a white cake mix that’s been all doctored up. I know what you’re thinking, You used a box mix?? For vanilla cupcakes I sure did use a boxed cake mix with added ingredients. The flavour is incredible and I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love it! The addition of greek yogurt and flour to a white cake mix makes it incredibly moist and tender.
Apple Pie Cupcakes – Filling and Salted Caramel Drizzle
The baked and cooled cupcake is given a swirl of cinnamon swiss meringue icing and a generous spoonful of apple pie filling. Just before serving, I drizzle some homemade salted caramel on top. Guys, homemade salted caramel is incredibly easy to prepare and so darn good (pour it warm over some vanilla bean ice cream and your life will be complete).
Now, I know you might be looking at the recipe and thinking it’s too many steps but I can assure you that each part of the cupcake prep is really simple. While the apple pie cupcakes are baking, you can start on the salted caramel sauce, and while that is cooling you can get started on the icing. Then it’s just a matter of pulling it all together. Once these are gorgeously lined up on your dessert table, the extra steps will be worth it!
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- For the cupcakes:
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 cup flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1⅓ cup water
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp oil
- For the Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Icing
- 5 egg whites
- 1¼ cup sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon or more if desired
- For the Salted Caramel
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 3½ tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- For the Cupcake Assembly
- 1 can of apple pie filling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 3 muffin trays with cupcake liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Add the vanilla paste, water, yogurt, eggs and oil and mix well to combine. Mix on speed 4 for 2 minutes.
- Divide the batter amongst the muffin liners. A scoop or a ¼ cup measure ensures that all of the cupcakes are the same size.
- Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the muffin tins and cool on a wire rack.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, start the salted caramel.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes.
- Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce. Allow the caramel to cool. The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat for a few seconds before drizzling if needed.
- Allow the caramel to cool while you make the swiss meringue icing.
- Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.
- In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and sugar just until combined. Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees). The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.
- Place the bowl of egg whites on the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed and add butter pieces one at a time. Scrape the bowl down and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick. It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.
- Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and cinnamon and beat until combined.
- Use immediately or refrigerate for a week. Icing will need to be at room temperature and whipped for about 5 minutes if kept in the fridge.
- To assemble the cupcakes, fill a pastry bag with the swiss meringue icing and 1M Wilton tip. Swirl icing just around the diameter of the cupcake, making two layers (this is a frosting dam which will hold in that pie filling).
- Place a spoonful of apple pie filling inside the dam you have just created.
- Drizzle with cooled salted caramel sauce and serve immediately.