Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider Cupcakes

I recently asked some friends on Facebook for some Starbucks inspired cupcake ideas. Within seconds I had several people request Starbucks’ Caramel Apple Cider. Since a number of people seemed to love this drink, and we’re quickly on our way out of fall and into winter, I thought I’d better get on this and whip up a batch. So enjoy a few more weeks of fall with a delicious fall favorite inspired by Starbucks!

Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 stick (113 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup apple juice
1 1/2 cup flour

For the frosting:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 sticks (282 grams) butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. apple juice

For the caramel sauce:
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 stick (113 grams) butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350* Fahrenheit (175* Celsius) and preparing the cupcakes. In a large bowl, cream the butter on high until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and mix until the butter and sugar are completely combined. Next, add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and eggs. Be sure to mix this well and that all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined (particularly the eggs) before moving on to the next ingredients. Now you can add the final 2 ingredients: the apple juice and the flour. I like to add 1 cup of flour, the apple juice, and then the final 1/2 cup flour, mixing well between each new addition. Pour your apple cider cupcakes into a lined cupcake pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

These smelled deliciously reminiscent of apple pie as they baked!

After you set your cupcakes in the oven, you can start preparing your apple cider buttercream frosting! Just like with the cupcakes, start by creaming your butter on high with an electric mixer. Once your butter is creamy and smooth, add the powdered sugar and mix until the frosting returns to a smooth, creamy state. Add the vanilla and apple juice and mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Fill your favorite piping bag and tip, and pipe onto the cupcakes.

I seriously had to eat one like this, they smelled so good!

Now on to the caramel sauce! I tried several recipes before finally settling on one I liked. In other words, be glad I made and tasted a bunch of mediocre caramel so you didn’t have to. And this recipe was even the simplest and least time consuming of the ones I tried. I guess it goes to show that sometimes the simplest choices are the best. In a medium pan, combine all the ingredients over a medium-high temperature, and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the temperature to medium, and continue to boil and stir until the caramel thickens (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof container. Put in the refrigerator until no longer hot (30-45 minutes). Two things I would mention about this recipe: the original recipe called for light brown sugar but we only have dark brown sugar available where I live. It still tasted delicious so I think you can get away using either kind. Secondly, the original recipe called for unsalted butter but I ended up getting regular butter by mistake. Again, I thought it tasted fine so this recipe seems to be a little more lenient than others in terms of what you can use.

Can anyone say left over caramel sauce?!

Once the caramel has sufficiently cooled, drizzle it over the cupcakes. Any leftover caramel can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for about 2 weeks.

Happy baking!

Sources:
Caramel sauce slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

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5 thoughts on “Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider Cupcakes

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