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APPLE SPICE CUPCAKES WITH BUTTERCREAM FROSTING


Close up of an apple spice cupcake with spiced buttercream frosting and caramel drizzle. Behind the cupcake in focus is a cake stand covered with more spiced cupcakes and a jar of caramel syrup. The apple cupcake is also surrounded by apples.

Fall is a time for everything apple, and these apple spice cupcakes with buttercream frosting are a must-make when the leaves start to turn. I don't know what to love most about these apple cupcakes. The juicy bits of fresh apple throughout the apple spice cake? The spiced buttercream frosting (oh, the frosting...!)? Or that extra drizzle of caramel on top of it all?


TELL ME ABOUT THIS RECIPE


Level of difficulty: Easy.

Flavor: These spiced cupcakes are full of warm fall spices, with pops of apple and caramel.

Time: It will take you about 90 minutes to make this apple cinnamon cupcake recipe with spiced buttercream frosting. This includes time to make the batter, bake the spiced cupcakes, cool time, whipping up the buttercream frosting, and frosting the cupcakes.


INGREDIENTS NEEDED


Apples

Ground Cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Spice

All-purpose Flour

Granulated Sugar

Baking Soda

Baking Powder

Salt

Vanilla Extract

Large Eggs

Vegetable Oil

Sour Cream

Milk (2% or Whole)

Salted Butter

Confectioners Sugar

Caramel Topping or Sauce


Collage of process shots showing how to make this apple cinnamon cupcake recipe through putting the batter into the lined muffin tins.

OVERVIEW: HOW TO MAKE FALL SPICED CUPCAKES WITH APPLE AND SPICED BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  1. Make the cupcakes:

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 15 cupcake tins with cupcake liners and set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add in the remaining wet ingredients (vegetable oil, sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract) and whisk until combined.

  4. Add in the dry ingredients (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder) and whisk until a uniform batter is formed.

  5. Gently fold in the diced apple pieces to distribute throughout.

  6. Fill lined cupcake tins ⅔ full and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean

  7. Cool in the tins 5-10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely

  8. Make the frosting: In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter with a handheld mixer on medium speed until creamy (about 2 minutes). Add in the vanilla extract, milk, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and continue to mix until well blended with the butter. Reduce the speed to low, and slowly add the confectioner's sugar (about ½ cup at a time) into the bowl. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until fluffy.

  9. Frost the cupcakes and add a drizzle of caramel: Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost and add a drizzle of caramel on top of each cupcake.

  10. Serve and enjoy!


Close up of an apple spice cupcake topped with spiced buttercream frosting.

WHAT ARE THE BEST APPLES FOR BAKING CUPCAKES?


Selecting a variety of apple that is firm and will hold it’s shape is a must when baking! Some of the best apples for baking include:

  • Pink Lady

  • Gala

  • Honeycrisp

  • Fuji

  • Granny Smith

  • Haralson

  • Golden Delicious

  • Braeburn


MAKE AHEAD TIPS


Wondering if you can make these cupcakes in advance? You can! Here’s what you need to know about making these spiced cupcakes ahead of time:

  • Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored at room temperature overnight (loosely cover them with a tea towel) or in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  • If you plan to store your cupcakes in the fridge, make sure they are cooled completely before putting them in the fridge. This will help to avoid any moisture issues (ie - soggy cupcakes).

  • For best results, assemble the cupcakes the day they will be served. This means frosting and adding the caramel drizzle.


Close up of an apple spice cupcake topped with spiced buttercream frosting with dripping caramel drizzle.

FAQS


To top with caramel, or not to top with caramel, that is the question. While you do not need to top your apple spice cupcakes with spiced buttercream with caramel drizzle, adding caramel sauce turns this already great treat into something off the charts! I mean, who doesn’t want a caramel apple cupcake?!


Did you say pumpkin pie spice? In my apple cupcakes? Yes! Pumpkin pie spice is just a blend of all of your favorite fall spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace and cloves. Using this blend reduces the amount of measuring you need to do (and the amount of spices you need to buy and/or dig out of your cabinet).


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Cupcake recipe adapted from Preppy Kitchen, Frosting adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction