Even though caramel apples usually only make their appearance in the fall, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this time-honored flavor combo year-round. An apple cupcake (or apple cinnamon if you're feeling spicy) topped with a smooth layer of caramel cream frosting might just make you want to put on a sweater and find a pile of leaves to jump into. To apple it up even more, try it with real apple chunks baked right into the cupcake. You can even put a Popsicle stick in the top and sprinkle it with nuts if you want a creative twist on the traditional caramel apple.
What is buttercream, and why is it so awesome?
Buttercream is a basic mixture of butter, milk and sugar. It's simple to make and can be flavored to taste like just about anything. Aside from being deliciously sweet, it's easy to spread, which makes it great for icing or filling cakes and cupcakes. Plus, adding just a little more sugar can give it a firmer texture, which makes it perfect for creating fancy flowers and other edible decorations. [source: Rinsky]