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I know I have waxed on and on and on about how fabulous fall is and how much I LOVE apples…and this post will be no different. I have a dear friend who has been quite ill and when I get worried and want to care for someone I tend to bake excessively. This particular friend teases me about my “hippie” cupcakes and has sworn up and down he will NOT eat anything I bake because he knows it has some hidden vegetable. Well, in a departure from the everyday I made these lovely little gems because, quite frankly, when life gives you lemons you should turn around and eat cupcakes.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

8 Tbsp butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup homemade applesauce (recipe to follow)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and liberally grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.

Cream butter using a stand mixer until fluffy, about 30 seconds, add sugar and continue to mix on medium high speed until light and fluffy (3-5 mins). Add egg and vanilla and beat for two more minutes. Slow mixing speed and add dry ingredients and applesauce alternately, mix to combine

Scoop into muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely and frost with fluffy vanilla-cinnamon frosting and caramel drizzle.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

3/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature

1/8 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 large caramels

On high speed cream butter and shortening until fluffy. Slowly add sugar and increase speed to high, whip until  VERY fluffy, add vanilla and cinnamon and frost cupcakes. Melt caramels in microwave for 20 seconds and drizzle over frosted cupcakes.

These cupcakes aren’t ALL bad, I mean, they have applesauce! I make my own applesauce by dicing apples and simmering them with a little water until soft, sometimes I add sweetener but usually not, I usually add vanilla and cinnamon. The thing I liked best about these cupcakes is that the cake was quite dense and not very sweet, in fact it was a bit tart. The frosting was a great contrast, very sweet and fluffy, with that lovely caramel drizzle. I used fancy French salted caramels and the taste was beyond divine.

We also had this tonight;

…a great heart dinner on a harvest moon might! I have been amping up my exercise the past few days and am feeling much better, I did some nice vigorous yoga practice tonight and it felt good to stretch my tired limbs! It has been a long work week, many long days and lots of worry..I am really having a crisis of career at this point, and I am not sure quite what to do with that. Have any of you experienced something similar? Are you doing what you love? And what if what you love is the thing you have absolutely no experience (except personal) in?

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