Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Caramel apple cupcakes are soft cupcakes flavored with apples and caramel in both the cupcake and the buttercream frosting. Decorate the top with apple slices and drizzle with caramel for a pretty look! This is one of the best apple recipes to make during the apple picking season!

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titled image (and shown): caramel apple cupcakes

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

If there’s one thing I love about the quickly approaching fall season, it’s the food. Comforting casseroles, freshly baked bread, apple desserts. They all make me smile. One of my favorite combinations is caramel and apple.  Give me a good book,  a warm blanket, a McIntosh apple and a bowl of warm, gooey caramel and I’m set.

Soft apple cupcakes topped with frosting, slices of apple and a drizzle of caramel

I can’t wait to share with you some of our best apple recipes this year. These Caramel Apple Cupcakes are only the beginning.

overhead image of homemade caramel apple cupcakes

Cupcake Recipe Shortcut

When I created this cupcakes recipe, I knew I wanted something easy.

I started with the Duncan Hines caramel cake mix because I wanted a good, strong caramel flavor. After making our Caramel Zucchini Bars, I knew the boxed cake mix would be perfect.

Box mixes normally call for water and generally I switch out that water for milk to give the cake more of a “bakery” flavor.  For these little bites of fall, I decided to use 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of apple juice concentrate in the cake batter.  I loved the results!

There is a hint of apple flavor that mixes perfectly with the caramel cake. And the caramel cupcakes…they’re so soft! Some of the softest that I’ve made.

an unwrapped caramel cupcake topped with buttercream frosting, apple slices drizzled with caramel sauce

How to Make Buttercream Frosting

The buttercream frosting for the cupcakes was the next thing to tackle.  Again, I wanted a full-bodied caramel flavor.

I used caramel ice cream topping and then a touch more of the apple juice concentrate to give the frosting just a hint of appley-goodness. Just as with our honey roasted peanut butter cupcakes, we used an ice cream scoop to put a big spoonful of frosting on top. It took just a swoop or two of a knife to spread out the soft, fluffy buttercream frosting.

overhead image of homemade caramel apple cupcakes drizzled with caramel sauce

Caramel Apple Cupcakes Recipe Notes

  • If you want to make the cupcakes look pretty, you can decorate the tops with cut apple slices.
  • To keep the apple slices from turning brown, coat them in lemon juice, let the slices sit for a minute, then dry them.  Our slices stayed white for at least 12 hours.
  • I suggest putting the slices in the cupcakes as close to serving time as possible. They’ll look the best that way.
  • The weight of the apple slices can cause the frosting to slip a bit, especially on a warm day. If you need to make them much in advance, store them in the refrigerator so the frosting stays firm.

Wow your friends this fall with these melt-in-your-mouth good caramel apple cupcakes!

caramel apple cupcakes topped with caramel and apple slices

Caramel Apple Cupcakes {with Apple and Caramel Buttercream}

Soft cupcakes flavored with apple and caramel in both the cupcake and the buttercream. Decorate the top with apple slices and drizzle with caramel for a pretty look!

Print Pin Rate

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 26
Calories: 262kcal


  • 1 box caramel cake mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup milk 2% or higher fat
  • 1/3 cup butter softened

Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup butter softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple juice concentrate
  • 2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • apple slices for decorating optional
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping for decorating optional


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake mix, eggs, apple juice concentrate, milk and butter. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Place cupcake wrappers in a cupcake pan and scoop the batter evenly into the wrappers, filling about 2/3 of the way full. (I did not want mine to overflow so actually made 26 cupcakes instead of 24.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until the top of the cupcake bounces back when you touch it.
  • While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter and shortening until it is creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, apple juice concentrate, caramel topping and salt. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes until the frosting is well-mixed. (This frosting will not get very light and airy because there is no cream in it. It should be very smooth.)
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes with the prepared buttercream.
  • If desired, right before serving decorate the tops of the cupcakes with apple slices and caramel topping. Refrigerate until serving.


To keep your apple slices from turning brown, toss them with lemon juice or Sprite. Be sure the slices are dry before putting them on the cupcakes.


Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 72mg | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 4.4% | Vitamin C: 9.4% | Calcium: 6.1% | Iron: 3.1%
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Categories:   Baking Bread