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Apple Spice Cupcakes

With classic apple spice cake flavor and a filling reminiscent of apple pie, these Apple Spice Cupcakes are moist, flavorful, and topped with a homemade cinnamon buttercream frosting. You'll find yourself making them again and again throughout the fall!

Apple spice cupcakes garnished with an apple slice
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Easy Spiced Apple Cupcakes

I came across this magazine while shopping a few weeks back. In there is a recipe for a gorgeous 2-layer apple spice cake and I knew right away I wanted to turn it into cupcakes! These delightful Apple Spice Cupcakes were the result.

I started this recipe with my vanilla cupcake recipe. It is one of those no-fail, delicious every time recipes, and it is a great base for almost any cupcake recipe. You can do so much to switch up the flavor.

In this case, I swapped the milk for apple cider, switched half of the granulated sugar for brown sugar, and added some warm spices to get that "spice cake" flavor. The result was spot on! The cupcakes came out fluffy and moist, while the warm spices came through and enhanced the apple cider for the right amount of apple flavor.

Then I took things a step further by scooping out the center and filling it with an apple filling. I used tart apples to balance the sweetness and topped it all off with a rich, luscious cinnamon buttercream frosting.

Truly, these apple spice cupcakes are everything you could want in an apple dessert! Not too heavy or overwhelmingly sweet and with all the right flavors.

A spiced apple cupcake with a bite missing

What You'll Need

These spiced apple cupcakes are made with baking essentials plus a few warm fall spices, apple cider, and, of course, apples.

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter - I don't recommend using salted butter.
  • Sugar - Equal parts of granulated sugar and light brown sugar are used in these cupcakes.
  • Eggs - It's important to ensure the eggs are at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour - Cake flour will also work with this recipe if you don't have all-purpose. Use the same amount in weight measurements.
  • Spices & salt - A combination of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice give these cupcakes the spiced flavor.
  • Baking powder - Helps the cupcakes rise during baking.
  • Apple cider - While the cider adds the apple flavor throughout the cupcakes, if you don't have any you can use whole milk instead. Avoid buttermilk or sour cream. They will not work with this recipe.
  • Apples - Granny Smith apples are what I used to make the filling because the tart apples pair well with all components of the recipe. Sweeter apples will yield a sweeter filling.
  • Cornstarch - Helps to thicken the apple filling.
  • Confectioners' sugar - Makes this buttercream frosting sweet and creamy.
  • Heavy cream - Gives the frosting a thick and luscious texture. In a pinch, you can use whole milk instead.
Spiced apple cupcakes topped with cinnamon buttercream frosting

How to Make Apple Spice Cupcakes

Each part of this recipe is pretty easy and straightforward to make. Just keep in mind the cupcakes need to cool completely before adding the filling, so you'll want to bake them a few hours in advance.

Make the batter. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy, then add in the sugars, beating for 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the apple cider.

Bake. Fill the muffin tins lined with cupcake liners ¾ of the way full, Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan then transfer to a wire rack.

Make the filling. Melt the butter over medium heat then add the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until the apples are tender.

Whisk the cornstarch with the apple cider then stir it into the apple mixture. Cook until the juices thicken. Remove from heat and place in a medium bowl to cool completely.

Add the filling to the cupcakes. Once cooled, cut out the center of the cupcakes. Fill with apple filling.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and cinnamon, followed by the vanilla and finally the cream. Mix until the frosting becomes thick and fluffy. Top the filled cupcakes with frosting.

Make caramel apple cupcakes by topping them with caramel frosting. You can also follow that up with a caramel drizzle by using my homemade caramel sauce.

An apple spice cupcake with buttercream frosting and an apple garnish

Tips for Success

Here are a few things to keep in mind for the best spiced apple cupcakes.

  1. Correctly measure the flour. Weigh the flour or fluff with a fork and gently spoon into a measuring cup. Using too much flour can cause the cupcakes to bake up dense and dy.
  2. What type of apples are best? I prefer Granny Smith apples in these cupcakes, as the tart flavor balances out the sweetness of the frosting. You can use any variety you prefer or whatever you have on hand.
  3. Diced vs shredded apple? I prefer to dice the apple for the filling. You get nice chunks in each bite.
  4. Save time by preparing the filling while the cupcakes bake. Both the cupcakes and filling need to cool before you can stuff the cupcakes, so to save time I like to make the filling while the cupcakes are in the oven. It's just enough time to prepare the filling and they can both cool at the same time.
  5. Be sure to fully whip the frosting. Don't skimp on the time it takes to make the frosting. Be sure to beat it until the texture is thick and creamy, to avoid it being too runny on the cupcake.
  6. Frosting cupcakes. Use a piping bag with and large tip such as an Ateco 849 (affiliate link).

How to Store & Freeze

If you want to save on time, you can easily prepare part or all of these spiced apple cupcakes a day in advance.

  • How to store the cupcakes. Apple spice cupcakes that are frosted and filled can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Make the cupcakes in advance. The cupcakes can be made one day ahead of time. Cover and store at room temperature.
  • Make the apple filling in advance. You can also make the apple filling a day ahead. Cover tightly and store in the fridge.
  • Make the frosting in advance. You can make the frosting in advance and store it in the fridge. Bring to room temperature and re-whip before using. If it's too thick, thin it out with an additional tablespoon of heavy cream.
  • Can I freeze these cupcakes? Yes, frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen. They'll last for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge then bring to room temperature.

More Cupcake Recipes

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Printable Recipe

Apple spice cupcakes garnished with an apple slice

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

If you enjoy a classic apple spice cake then you are going to love these Apple Spice Cupcakes. These moist and flavorful cupcakes are made with a simple apple cider cake batter that is topped with a homemade cinnamon buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (105 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (120 ml) apple cider

For the filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (230 g) peeled & chopped apples, about 2 medium apples
  • ⅓ cup (70 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider

For the frosting

  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

Make the cupcakes

    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars, continue to beat for 3 minutes. With the mixer set to low, beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
    3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, salt, and baking powder. Stir with a whisk to combine. Gradually add to the butter mixture alternating with the apple cider. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
    4. Fill the cups of the prepared muffin pan ⅔ of the way full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.(Save time by making the filling while the cupcakes bake.)
    5. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the filling

  1. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until the apples are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the apple cider then stir it to the apple mixture. Continue to cook until the juices thicken.
  4. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  5. Cut the centers out of each cupcake and fill the cavity with 1 tablespoon of apple filling.

Make the frosting

    1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
    2. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Slowly beat in the vanilla, followed by the cream. 
    3. Continue mixing until the frosting becomes thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Top the cupcakes with frosting.

Notes

Apple cider: Apple cider adds flavor to the cupcakes and filling. If you don’t have it, use whole milk in the cupcake and water in the filling.

Apple: I prefer Granny Smith apples for their tart flavor, but you can use any variety you wish.

Heavy cream: Cream will give the frosting a thick and luscious texture. In a pinch, you can use whole milk instead.

Make ahead tips

  1. Keep frosted and filled cupcakes covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  2. The cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance. Keep covered and stored at room temperature. 
  3. The filling can be made 1 day in advance. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.
  4. The frosting can also be made 1 day in advance. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Bring to room temperature, then re-whip before using. If the frosting is too thick, you may thin it out with 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream. 
  5. The frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bring to room temperature if desired.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 529Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 87mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 2gSugar: 54gProtein: 3g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Lia

Monday 30th of November 2020

I recently gave this recipe a go and the balance of the spices was spot on! Not sure what happened with the consistency of the cupcakes though as they were quite dense? I may have pulled them out of the oven too early but I’m not convinced as the toothpick test came out clean

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 1st of December 2020

It's possible you used too much flour by mistake. Fluff the flour with a fork and lightly spoon it into the measuring cup then level the cup with the back of a knife. Don't pack the flour into the cup.

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