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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!
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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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Tips for Success
Here are a few things to keep in mind for the best spiced apple cupcakes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Diced vs shredded apple? I prefer to dice the apple for the filling. You get nice chunks in each bite.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
- Andes Mint Cupcakes
- Dr Pepper Cupcakes