Yes I said it — pie in a cupcake. Another brilliant idea I got from Pillsbury! Of course I didn’t follow their directions exactly, or use their spice cake mix for the cupcakes but the idea was just too good to pass up. Who wouldn’t want pie at the bottom of their cupcake? Crust & all! These were so good when cooled slightly but still nice and warm in the middle, the cream cheese frosting matched up perfectly with the caramel flavor of the cupcake. This is definitely one cupcake (or maybe even cake!) that I will make over and over…
Next time I’ll probably make my own apple pie filling and maybe even my own crust but for the first go I didn’t mind using the pre-made crust & pie filling. There was no time for pie errors. These were made the morning of my boyfriend’s Dad’s birthday so I was on a serious schedule to get these done in time. And I did luckily, with time to spare. So we walked to get his present with my handy dandy cupcake carrier and everyone we passed by looked at them with hungry eyes. I wish I could have given some to the girls in Best Buy, they thought it was a brilliant idea and as we walked away I heard them saying they were definitely going to try it out. I love that.
2 boxes refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1 can apple pie filing, lightly chopped
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup caramel syrup (recipe below)
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature
For the Caramel Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (to“stop” the caramelization process)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 tablespoons butter
12 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup Caramel Syrup (room temp)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
To make the Caramel SyrupIn a small saucepan, mix together water and sugar. Brush down any stray sugar crystals from the sides of the pot.
Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly, and the mixture has turned a dark amber. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. This will cause a lot of smoke, spewing boiling sugar so be careful, wear long sleeves, make sure you have some space to jump back (it happens ;)).
Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly. To test if it’s done, get a little on a spoon, (let it cool down slightly – if not you will most definitely burn your fingers) if it feels sticky between your fingers you’re good to go. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
To make the Cupcakes – Heat oven to 450°F. Remove pie crusts from pouches and unroll on a work surface. Cut 2 1/4-inch rounds from each crust (about 8 per crust). Place liners in your muffin tin and firmly press 1 round in bottom and up the sides of each of liner. Bake for 5 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Divide apple pie filling evenly among pastry-lined muffin cups.
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into the bowl. Once thoroughly combined increase speed. Add the egg, apple sauce & vanilla extract one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and beat the mixture until uniform.
In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Turn the mixer to its lowest speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Once that is incorporated, slowly add 1/2 of the milk. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the milk and finish it off with the last of the dry ingredients. Remove from the mixing stand and finish combining with a spatula until uniform.
Spoon the batter over the apple pie filling. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, rotate and let cook another 15-20. (This may vary for different ovens – mine is minuscule and electric.) Bake until a tooth pick in the middle comes out fairly clean, you may have a couple crumbs due to the sticky apple pie filling (the tops of the cupcakes will begin to brown slightly). Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack before icing.
To make the icing: Cream butter, cream cheese, Caramel Syrup and vanilla until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar, beat until well combined & fluffy.
Ice cupcakes with pastry bag & desired tip. Drizzle with leftover Caramel Syrup. Enjoy!