Updated: Sep 15, 2019
This is a fabulous spin on an old favorite. Candy apples are a treat from days at the County Fair, or the Circus, or Boardwalk, and these cupcakes don't disappoint! You'll love the sweet smooth apple flavored cupcake, and the candy apple on top will bring back great memories of these delicious treats. Whether young or old, everyone loves candy apples. You will be happy you made these, because they're a real stunner to serve to family or friends. Pop this recipe in your favorites.
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter - softened
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 teaspoons of Apple extract
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of Red food coloring gel (for half of batter - see instructions)
FOR THE FROSTING: 1/2 cup of Crisco (shortening) 1/2 cup of butter - softened not melted 4 cups of powdered sugar 1 Tablespoon of vanilla 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream
FOR THE CANDY APPLE TOP:
12 Apples - Cut in half - using top half (save bottom halves for something else; apple pie, apple bread, etc.)
3 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of corn syrup
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of red food coloring gel
HERE'S WHAT YOU DO:
Make the cupcakes; In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, apple extract, and cream, and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the flour baking powder and salt, and mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Scrape sides of mixing bowl, and blend again on high to make sure mixture is well blended. Divide the batter in half, and color one half o the batter with the red food coloring until desired candy apple color is reached. Start with 1/2 a teaspoon of the food coloring gel, and add more if needed. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, and fill the liners about 1/3 full with the red batter, then fill the cupcake liner to about 3/4 full with the white batter on top of the red batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 - 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to completely cool.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting; combine the Crisco, softened butter, and vanilla, and mix until creamy. Add two cups of powdered sugar, and 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream, and mix on low until blended. Add another cup of powdered sugar, and a Tablespoon of cream and mix. Add the last cup of powdered sugar, and the last Tablespoon of cream, and mix until blended. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl, and blend on high speed for about 30 seconds. Place the Frosting in the refrigerator.
Place a large piece of parchment paper on the counter, and butter the paper. Wash the Apples, and dry with paper towels. Right before dipping in the hot glaze, cut the Apples in half, and place the top half on the parchment paper, including the stems. (place the bottom half of the apples in a plastic zip bag, and place in the refrigerator) In a heavy sauce pan, place the 3 cups of sugar, corn syrup, and water, and bring to a rolling boil.
If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature should be about 300 degrees; if you don't just boil the mixture for about 2 minutes, and then remove from the burner. Add the red food coloring gel, and carefully stir the food coloring into the glaze; I recommend using a pot holder so you don't burn your hand. You may need a little more than the 1/2 teaspoon of red gel to get the color a bright red. Add more food coloring as needed to get the color desired. Stir until the glaze is a bright red, and the ingredients are combined. You can simply pick up the Apple by the stem and dip them in the glaze, or, on the underside of the apple, stab the apple with a heavy fork, and dip the apple in the Glaze, then place the apple on the parchment paper for the glaze to set. If you don't want to dip the apple's in the hot glaze, you can spoon it over the apples, but I'm not sure you'll get the same effect. Leave the apples for about 30 minutes for the glaze to set. The glaze will harden, so I recommend pouring the left over glaze into a plastic microwave safe container before it cools. You can melt the glaze in the microwave at a later time if you want to use it again, or if not, discard immediately after use.
Assemble the cupcakes: Place the Frosting in a pastry bag, and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes starting at the base, and swirling it around up to a point on top. Place the glazed Apple top on top of the frosting. You can decorate the cupcakes with the candy shards left on the parchment paper when the apples are removed. Serve immediately, or place in a covered container in the refrigerator until time to serve. Enjoy!
NOTE: You can also pour some of the glaze out onto the Parchment paper in long strands to use for decorating the cupcakes. Place some sugar on the parchment paper before the candy coating, and it will make it easier to remove, and give it a little sparkle. You can also leave the candy glaze in the heavy sauce pan to reheat at a later time. You can dip other fruits (fresh cherries with the stems left on, strawberries, etc) in the hot glaze, or pour it over cake in a light layer for a shiny effect.