Caramel Apple Cupcakes

I have issues with biting fruit.

Does anyone else share this problem? I feel like there has to be some apple-biting scaredy-cat out there somewhere.

I cannot be the only one frightened to bite into fruit. Reassure me, someone– anyone.

This fear stems back for a long time, since I was dealing with home-tooth-removal.

One day, after spending every minute of every hour obsessing over a wiggly tooth, my cousin suggested we just pull it out. Excited to stop wriggling this pesky chomper, I agreed.

Her first method of home tooth removal? Pulling on it, of course.

We spent a few minutes (unsuccessfully) yanking my front tooth out, which just resulted in my tooth feeling weirder and becoming increasingly wigglier. Obviously this wasn’t working for her.

Next, she suggested the method which haunts me to this day, and is thus the very meat of this post: the Apple method.

The Apple method is, just that: biting into an apple, thus forcing your tooth out of the gummy home it’s known for five years.

Eager to both impress my cousin and being hell-bent on ripping out part of my skull, I agreed to the Apple method. She picked out a shiny Red Delicious apple from my grandma’s fridge and plopped it into my hand.

I looked at her, eyes wide, a slight glimmer of fear glazing over.

“Don’t be a wuss,” she said. (Okay, maybe she didn’t really say that, but she was probably thinking it).

I looked at the glossy apple skin and gave it a good squeeze, which reassured it was a fresh apple–hard and unyielding to my five-year old death-grip. This apple wasn’t gonna budge.

With every ounce inside of me hesitant, I took a tentative bite–more like a scrape–which did nothing for my hanging tooth.

“No, no, no. You gotta BITE it. You’re not biting right,” she insisted, and spent the next several minutes egging me on to bite the apple.

Finally, I mustered up the courage to actually bite the flippin’ apple.

Shit HURT like a mother-you-know-what.

How could an apple do this to me? I thought they were supposed to be good to you. And now this? This unimaginable pain?! I dropped the apple to the ground. It deserved it.

And despite my bite, my mouth was still full of teeth, except now a little bloody.

Finally, she tried the pulling method, and after a few good tugs, out snapped my little tooth. I remember putting it into a teeny sandwich bag and proudly showing my mom when I got home, flashing her a toothless grin.

While I did get some money from the tooth fairy that night, I never could forgive apples for what they did to me. Such pain inflicted from such a small, happy fruit. Those bastards.

Since then, I can’t bite an apple whole. I usually scrape it with my teeth until the flesh yields, or, if I have the option, I always cut it into segments. The idea of simply taking a huge bite out of an apple freaks me out, makes my teeth ache in remembrance and has subsequently scarred me from eating any other fruit without cutting it up first. Nectarines, pears… all must be cut.

And that’s my story.

I really, super-duper love caramel apples, but as you know, they’re a full-sized apple on a stick. I do not like this method of eating caramel apples.

So per usual, I’ll chop it up and dip it in caramel sauce. Or I’ll scrape all the caramel off my apple-on-a-stick and forgo the apple. As far as I’m concerned, the apples on traditional caramel apples are just another vehicle to hold caramel and nuts together so I can eat them.

But that’s just my professional opinion.

What better way, though, to eat caramel apples than in cupcake form? Luckily Confessions of a Cookbook Queen agrees with me on this one, and she made some amaaaazing ones last year that I’ve been eyeballing since.

I made them today, and well, I think I’ll just take these on a stick from now on. I’ll suppress my memories by bingeing on caramel apple cupcakes. No pain, all pleasure.

Kristan’s recipe calls for using Sour Apple Pucker liquor, but we didn’t have any and I couldn’t find it, so I used Jones Green Apple soda instead and mixed in a few apple-berry water flavor-enhancers to the batter to make the apple batter more apple-y. Use what you have on hand 🙂

Caramel Apple Cupcakes *adapted by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen’s Caramel Apple Cupcakes recipe

1 box white cake mix
1 bottle Jones Green Apple soda (12 oz)
2 apple water flavor enhancers (I used Hawaiian Punch brand’s Green Berry Rush, $1 at Walmart)
Green food dye, to color cupcakes (if desired)
Caramel Frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)
Caramel apple suckers

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix and soda–NOTHING else 🙂 until blended, about 2 minutes. Stir in flavoring packets until combined. Add green dye, if desired, to make a nice green shade. Evenly portion into muffin pans and bake about 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Caramel Frosting

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup caramel syrup (like the coffee flavored syrup, not the sundae stuff)
About 5 cups powdered sugar
Brown food coloring

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and caramel syrup until blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting is a soft but spreadable consistency. Add food coloring until you’ve reached a desired shade of brown.
2. Frost cupcakes with caramel icing and stick each frosted cake with an unwrapped caramel apple sucker. With the suckers inside, these are best served immediately.

After ogling these cupcakes for almost a year (!) I am so glad I made them. Not only are they nearly identical in flavor to a caramel apple, they’re way more fun and absolutely painless to eat 🙂

Thanks, Kristan!

And Happy Monday!

xo, Hayley

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  1. Michelle of Chellbellz says:

    That was a funny story! and yes I’d be afraid after that too but i love my fruit, and crunchy granny smiths are my favorite. I remember my first tooth, i balled my favorite blanket in my mouth and yanked it with my feet. Yes I was a very wierd child…it popped out during nap time in kindergarten. I was so tired of it! LOL, anyway those cupcakes looks delicious!

  2. Michelle– You don’t sound weird at all! I think any child who is so eager to rip a part of their skull out for money, combined with using tactics like tying the tooth in question to a string or using your feet to remove it, is crazy. Or normal. Doesn’t matter. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! xo.

  3. When you say cake mix and apple soda only does that mean forget the eggs and oil?

    • Hi Mallory! Yes, you’re exactly right! The apple soda provides enough moisture alone; therefore, you do NOT need any water, oil, or eggs! Just the soda and cake mix! And this works for any flavor soda and any flavor cake mix. I really like using cream soda and Funfetti cake mix 🙂 Tell me how you like them!

  4. Thanks for replying so quickly! I couldn’t find any of the hawaiian punch packets so I tried the apple fun-dip powder, they weren’t as appley as hoped but the frosting was AMAZING so it wasn’t missed too much.

  5. I didn’t even think of apple fun-dip powder! I found that my cakes had a hint of apple, not as strong as I’d like either, but enough to realize it was apple-flavored 🙂 and I’m so glad you loved the frosting! It’s pretty much the pride and joy of this cupcake, and I’m pretty sure it’d be justified if you ate an entire bowl.

  6. These really did not work for me. The cupcakes deflated and tasted very similar to Elmer’s Glue. :-

    • Eek! I promise I wasn’t going for the glue flavor! I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’ll take a look at the recipe to see if it was anything on my end. Sorry it didn’t work for you!


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