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Apple Cider Cupcakes

These apple cider cupcakes taste just like Fall with hints of brown sugar and cinnamon. They’re a seasonal favorite of mine and I look forward to making them every Fall.

image of apple cider cupcakes

They’re topped with a delicious spiced buttercream frosting and filled with a perfectly sweet apple pie filling.

This really packs these cupcakes with delicious apple flavor and adds great texture. What more could you want in apple cider cupcakes, am I right?!

The Apple Cider Cupcake Base

This apple cider cupcake recipe is based on my cinnamon cupcake recipe. I upped the ante by adding in some ground nutmeg and ginger, and of course some fresh apple cider!

This gives them a delicious apple flavor without being too overpowering.

My biggest tip when making these apple cider cupcakes is to be sure not to overmix the batter. Overmixed batter can lead to dense, chewy cupcakes.

By mixing the batter just until the ingredients are combined you are guaranteed tender, soft cupcakes.

image of apple cider cupcake batter being scooped into cupcake liners to be baked

The Spiced Buttercream Frosting

While the cupcake base itself is wonderful, a cupcake isn’t a cupcake without some delicious frosting.

I decided a spiced buttercream would be perfect for these apple cider cupcakes. It uses the same spices that are in the cupcakes and the filling, which gives the cupcakes a wonderful cohesive flavor.

When you’re frosting a batch of cupcakes, you don’t need a ton of frosting. To make just the right amount, I modified my american buttercream to make a 1/4 batch.

image of apple pie spiced buttercream

Once I was happy with the volume of frosting this recipe makes, it was time to figure out the perfect amount of spices.

I love the amounts listed in the recipe below, but you can add more or less spice to suit your palette.

Substitutions and Swaps – Apple Cider Cupcakes

These apple cider cupcakes use quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

image of apple cider cupcakes shot overhead to show their apple pie topping and spiced buttercream frosting

Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make:

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Egg Whites – You can use 2 whole eggs in place of the egg whites if needed, or if you have an egg allergy you can use 2 flaxseed eggs or 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
  • Brown Sugar – I prefer using light brown sugar in this recipe, but dark brown sugar would work too. I do not recommend reducing the amount or type of sugar as it will change the texture of these cupcakes.
  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Ground Cinnamon & Spices – There really aren’t substitutes for the spices in this recipe! If you don’t have ground ginger or nutmeg on hand you can omit them, but ground cinnamon is a must.
  • Sour Cream – You can also use full fat yogurt, whole milk, buttermilk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Apple Filling – The apple filling in this recipe is delicious, but if you’re short on time you can skip filling these cupcakes or use premade apple pie filling.
image of apples on a board ready to be baked with

Tips for Making The Best Apple Cider Cupcakes:

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better so be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • One batch of batter can be also be used to make one 9×13 inch apple cider sheet cake. Bake it at 325F for 33-38 minutes.
  • Make these apple cider cupcakes vegan or dairy free! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the sour cream and use vegan butter sticks in place of the butter.
image of an apple cider cupcake on a cupcake stand after being decorated

Making These Cupcakes in Advance & Storage Tips

You can make these apple cider cupcakes in advance. If stored unfrosted and unfilled in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge.

These cupcakes can also last up to 3 months in the freezer. If you plan to freeze them, wait to fill and frost them until they’re thawed.

You can also make your frosting and filling up to a week ahead of time or save any leftovers. Leftover filling can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and leftover frosting will last in the fridge for up to a month.

image of apple cider cupcakes topped with apple pie filling and a dusting of cinnamon

Be sure to give the frosting a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes shouldn’t sit out at room temperature for more than a day. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container once they’re frosted.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this recipe for apple cider cupcakes I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Also please tag me @chelsweets! Use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media.

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Yield: 15 cupcakes

Apple Cider Cupcakes

image of apple cider cupcakes

These apple cider cupcakes taste just like Fall with hints of brown sugar and cinnamon. They're a seasonal staple in my kitchen!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes

Ingredients

Apple Cider Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (170 grams)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (200 grams)
  • 1/3 cup egg whites from a carton or 3 large egg whites, room temperature (90 grams)
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (215 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (120 grams)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider, room temperature (120 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)

Spiced Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (4 grams)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon (5 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (>1 gram)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger - optional (>1 gram)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (2 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (185 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider (15 grams)

Optional Apple Filling

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (30 grams)
  • 2 cups of diced and peel apples - about 3 medium apples (236 grams)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (15 grams)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (4 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (>1 gram)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger - optional (>1 gram)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 gram)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or water (70 grams)

Instructions

Apple Cider Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Cream together 3/4 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup brown sugar on a high speed with a whisk attachment until the mixture becomes lighter in color.
  3. Mix in 1/3 cup pasteurized egg whites or 3 large egg whites on a medium speed.
  4. Sift 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon into the butter egg mixture and mix on a low speed until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Mix in 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup apple cider and 1 tsp vanilla extract on a low speed.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, place the pan in your freezer for about 30 minutes.

Apple Spiced Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat 1/2 cup of room-temperature butter on a medium high speed for 1-2 minutes with a whisk attachment until it becomes lighter in color and smooth.
  2. Mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp salt on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Half way through add 1 Tbsp of apple cider to make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional apple cider (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).

Apple Filling

  1. Melt 2 Tbsp unsalted butter in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add 2 cups diced apples, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup of apple cider and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes and stir frequently until the apples have softened and the mixture has thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and let the filling cool. Set aside.

Decorating These Apple Cider Cupcakes

  1. Use a small knife or 1 inch circle cutter to remove the center from each cooled cupcake.
  2. Fill each cupcake with a generous spoonful of apple filling.
  3. Pipe a mound of spiced buttercream frosting on top of each cupcake using a large round piping tip. Chill the cupcakes in the fridge for 10 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes to help the frosting firm up.
  4. Add an apple chip or apple pie filling on top of the frosting as a garnish and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe can also be used to make mini apple cider cupcakes! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, which only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.

Make these apple cider cupcakes in advance!! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for:

  • 1 day at room temperature
  • Up to a week in the fridge
  • Up to 3 months in the freezer

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight in an airtight container, but I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Nutrition Information

Yield

15

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 361Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 49mgSodium 234mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 2gSugar 33gProtein 3g

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