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These apple cider cupcakes with an apple cider buttercream on top is an easy Fall cupcake that would be perfect for your Thanksgiving table! With lots of brown sugar, cinnamon, and fresh apple cider stirred in – this apple cider cupcake recipe will be become a huge hit with your friends and family! And a fun topping – easy to make pie crumbs for a little crunch!
Apple cider is something that always conjurs up happy memories for me. Growing up we always would visit this local cider mill. It was a tradition in our house. We would watch the apples get pressed into fresh cider right before our eyes.
We would enjoy a sip of the sweet apple beverage, enjoy a hot apple cider donut, and take home with a fresh baked apple pie. Every Fall. No matter what.
So I might not be able to get a chance to go every Fall since moving out to Boston, but I still can’t help picking up a gallon of cider and then turning them into a delicious dessert.
Like these apple cider cupcakes. I used my Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe and made a few changes to the recipe to create these delicious cupcakes. And then topped them with a brown sugar apple cider buttercream to send them over the edge.
Ingredients For This Apple Cider Cupcake Recipe
- Cake Flour – The original recipe called for all purpose flour, but I decided to lighten these up a bit. So I used cake flour to create a light fluffy cupcake. If you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own cake flour.
- Rest of the dry ingredients – In addition to the cake flour, I added baking powder, table salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
- Unsalted butter – I used melted unsalted butter. No need to soften the butter so these whip up quickly. I recommend unsalted butter so you an control the amount of salt.
- Brown sugar – The vanilla cupcake recipe used granulated sugar, but for this recipe I knew I wanted to use brown sugar to complement the apple cider. You can make your own brown sugar in a pinch if you are out!
- Eggs – I use two whole eggs, and 1 egg white. You want to make sure these are at room temperature before you begin.
- Vanilla extract – I like to use a little vanilla to help round out the flavor.
- Apple Cider – Of course these cupcakes wouldn’t be complete without it! I replaced the milk in the recipe with apple cider.
How To Make These Apple Cider Cupcakes
Step 1 – Combine Your Dry Ingredients
You want to whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pro Tip: Be sure to measure your flour correctly. Or use a kitchen scale for best accuracy.
Step 2 – Combine brown sugar and butter
In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and melted butter.
Step 3 – Add the eggs and vanilla
You want to then add the 2 eggs, 1 egg white, and vanilla extract.
Step 4 – Alternate the cider and dry ingredients
At this point you want to alternate the cider and dry ingredients. Start with the dry ingredients, and end with the dry ingredients.
Step 5 – Bake your cupcakes
Once the batter is whisked up, go ahead and portion out the batter into a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners.
This cupcake recipe makes about 12-14 cupcakes. You can fill these cupcakes up to about 3/4 full.
How Do You Make The Apple Cider Buttercream?
I topped this cupcake with a twist on my favorite vanilla buttercream.
I made a brown sugar buttercream and then swapped out the heavy cream and used apple cider, and then sprinkled in a little cinnamon as well.
How Many Cupcakes Or Cake Will This Frosting Cover?
- For Cupcakes – This recipe will generously frost 12 cupcakes. I like to pipe a pretty tall amount of frosting on each cupcake. So if you don’t use as much as I do as in the photos, then you might get more frosted (around 24 cupcakes). For help on decorating cupcakes, be sure to check out my The Ultimate Guide To Baking Cupcakes At Home and The Ultimate Guide To Making The Best Buttercream Icing.
- For Cake – This frosting will cover a 9 x 13 sheet cake or a 2 layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake.
A Fun Topping For These Cupcakes!
You could stop there. Sure. Why not. Perfect cupcake with a delicious buttercream swirled on top. But why stop there if you don’t have to?
Let’s take it one step further. Pie crumbs. Oh. My. Word. I can’t say I invented these. By no means at all is this my invention. Pie crumbs are the invention behind pastry chef, Christina Tosi, from Momofuku Milk Bar.
Pie crumbs are easy I promise. You only need a half batch for decoration. And any leftovers, can be frozen.
Pie crumbs are just made with:
And then just combine the ingredients in a stand mixer until they form crumbs. Crumble them on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. They will crisp up more after baking. These crumbs take an extra few minutes of effort but totally worth it.
Tips On Making These Apple Cider Cupcakes
- Measure your flour correctly. Be sure to measure your flour correctly if you are using dry measuring cups or you can use a kitchen scale for best accuracy
- Make sure your large eggs are room temperature. Place your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using them in your recipe
- Double check that your baking powder is still fresh. Because this recipe uses melted butter there is no creaming step to incorporate air, so you need to make sure the baking powder is fresh so your cupcakes rise properly. To check the freshness, add a teaspoon of baking powder to some hot water. If it bubbles, it’s still fresh. If it doesn’t throw it out.
- Check your oven. Use an oven thermometer to make sure that your oven is heated correctly so these bake properly. For more oven 101, read this post.
Can I Make These Cupcakes Ahead Of Time?
Absolutely you can! These cupcakes can be made ahead 2 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature.
The frosting can also be made 5 days in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
If you have leftover cupcakes they also keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can also freeze these cupcakes, without filling, for up to 2-3 months. Then just thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then fill and frost as normal! For a full tutorial on how to freeze cupcakes, click here.
Can I Use Apple Juice To These Cupcakes?
I haven’t used apple juice, but I think the same effect would be achieved!
More apple recipes
- Caramel Apple Snickerdoodles
- Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins
- Apple Crisp
- Apple Cinnamon Scones with Apple Cider Glaze
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Salted Caramel Apple Bars
More Cupcake Recipes
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes
- Easy Chocolate Cupcakes
- Funfetti Cupcakes Recipe
- Reese’s Pieces Cupcakes
- Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe
- Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
To make these apple cupcakes you will need:
- Cupcake Pans (I love and highly recommend these Chicago Metallic pans)
- Cupcake Liners (I love using these greaseproof liners)
- Cooling Rack (Never let your cupcakes sit in the pans once you take them out of the oven or they will continue to bake! These racks are a must.
If you like this recipe, let me know by leaving a comment and star rating below!
Apple Cider Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cup (180 g) cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter melted, slightly cooled
- 1 cup (207 g) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) apple cider, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Cupcake Pans
- Wilton 2D Tip
- Cupcake Liners
For the buttercream
- 1 1/2 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup (107 g) light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups (313 g) confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons apple cider
- pinch table salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the pie crumbs
- 3/4 cup (120 g) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter melted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons water
For the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar and whisk to combine. Mix in the eggs and egg white until incorporated. Add the vanilla.
- Alternate the dry ingredients and cider beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir just until incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
For the buttercream
- Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the powdered (confectioners sugar) one cup at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
- Add in your apple cider, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, and mix on medium to high speed for 8 minutes until light and creamy. Once cupcakes are cooled, fill the piping bag and pipe the frosting on top.
- If not using immediately, store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use, mix again until light and fluffy.
For the pie crumbs
- Heat the oven to 350oF.
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well mixed.
- Add the butter, and water and mix on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
- Spread the clusters on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (or line with a silicone baking mat). Bake for 25 minutes, breaking them up occassionally. The crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch at this point. They will dry and harden as they cool.
- Let the crumbs cool completely before sprinkling over the cupcakes as a garnish. You can store these in an airtight container for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.