Caramel Apple Cupcakes & a Cake Mix Doctor Giveaway!

Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year? The crisp weather, falling leaves, college football games and the wonderful fall inspired baked goods! I’ve kind of been on an apple kick lately…I blame it on the fact that I can’t go apple picking at our local orchard. Or maybe it’s those darn pregnancy cravings again! Who knows! All I know is that those cravings inspired these incredible cupcakes! Fresh apple cupcakes with a dulce de leche core topped with a caramel frosting and a caramel drizzle…seriously if these don’t scream fall I don’t know what will!

I resently came home to find a fun package from Anne Byrn, better known as the Cake Mix Doctor, filled with cake mix sitting on my doorstep. If you love to bake, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Anne Byrn. Her books offer incredible ways to enhance cake mixes to make them as good–or better–than cakes made from scratch. Well now she has come out with her own flavors of cake mixes to go along with her cookbooks. These cake mixes contain only the best ingredients (just 5 or 6 of them) with no additives, preservatives, or trans fats.

Thanks to the Cake Mix Doctor, I’m holding a giveaway for one of my readers to win a yellow cake mix, a chocolate cake mix, and the Cake Mix Doctor’s book of frosting recipes. Just follow the directions below for a chance to win! Sorry this giveaway is limited to US residents only.


How to Enter: Leave a comment on this post answering the question: “Do you like cake mix? How do you use it?”

Extra Entries: The following six opportunities below will earn one extra entry into the giveaway for each. You must leave separate comments for each one to ensure that they are counted as separate entries:

  1. Subscribe to Sweet Pea’s Kitchen by either RSS or Email. Come back and let me know you have subscribed in an additional comment.
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  4. Tweet the following about the giveaway: “Cake Mix Doctor #Giveaway! Enter to win samples of @annebyrn’s new Cake Mixes from @SPKitchen http://bit.ly/SQcMhu” Come back and let me know you’ve Tweeted in an additional comment.
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  6. Follow Sweet Pea’s Kitchen on Pinterest and Pin this giveaway

Deadline: Friday, October 19, 2012 at 11:59pm CST GIVEAWAY CLOSED!!

Winner: The winner will be selected at random by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen using Random.org. All entries received after the deadline will not be considered. Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to confirm receipt of the email. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.

The winner of the giveaway was Lyn! I hope you enjoy the cake mixes! Here’s what she said:

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Fresh apple cupcake with a dulce de leche core topped with a caramel frosting and a caramel drizzle.

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
1 (18.25-ounce) package Yellow Cake Mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup diced apples

For the Filling:
1 (13.4 ounce) can dulce de leche

For the Caramel Frosting:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

For the Caramel Drizzle:
10 soft caramel candies
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions:

Line muffin pan with baking cup liners; set aside.
Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box, adding cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to the batter. Fold diced apples into the batter. Evenly divide batter among prepared baking cup liners.
Bake according to directions on the box, until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make the filling, heat the dulce de leche in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until warm. Transfer to a piping bag; set aside.
Once cupcakes have cooled, use a paring knife or apple corer to cut out a small circle in the center of each cupcake. Remove the core and trim leaving the core just big enough to be used to plug the hole once it is filled. Pipe the caramel filling into each hollowed cupcake. Once the filling is in place, place the trimmed core of the cupcake back into place.
To make the frosting, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the salt and brown sugar and heat the mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the caramel frosting mixture is lukewarm, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Adjust consistency with a little more milk or powdered sugar, if necessary.
Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe a spiral of frosting, beginning at the outer edge and working inward.
To make the caramel drizzle, microwave caramels and heavy cream in medium bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag and drizzle onto the cupcakes.