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4.86 from 28 votes

Apple Cider Cupcakes

These easy cupcakes are made with apple cider, warm spices, and then topped with an apple cider buttercream, and pie crumbs!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 617kcal


Apple Cider Reduction

  • 2 cups (480 ml) apple cider

For the cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter melted, slightly cooled
  • 1 cup (213 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) apple cider reduction * see instructions
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (57 g) sour cream

For the buttercream

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup (107 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (313 g) confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) apple cider reduction
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the pie crumbs

  • 3/4 cup (120 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 57 g) unsalted butter melted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons water


Make the apple cider reduction

  • Pour apple cider into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and let it cook, watching carefully, until the cider is reduced to ½ cup. This took about 40-45 minutes for me. If it reduces too much, add enough cider to make ½ cup. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before using. I pop mine in the freezer to cool down faster. This can also be done the day before. Simply cover and refrigerate until ready to use the next day, but make sure it comes back to room temperature before using. You will use 1/4 cup in the cupcakes, and the remaining 1/4 cup in the buttercream.

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, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 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, sour cream, and apple cider reduction. 
  • Stir in the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
  • 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 salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, and mix on medium speed to incorporate. Add in the apple cider reduction (make sure it's at room temperature) a tablespoon at a time, and mix on low to incorporate. Once it's all added, then you can increase the speed to high speed for 8 minutes until light and creamy. If the mixture slightly curdles, keep mixing it will smooth back out. 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.


  • Storage/ Make Ahead: These cupcakes can be made ahead 2 days in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. If they are frosted, I prefer to store in the fridge.  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.
  • Freezing: You can also freeze these cupcakes, without frosting, for up to 2-3 months. I let thaw at room temperature and then frost as normal. You can freeze the buttercream. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then re-whip in the mixer before frosting and using.
  • Apple Cider: This can be made the day ahead of time, and refrigerated. Make sure it's at room temperature before using. I haven't used apple juice and don't recommend as it won't have the same flavor. 
  • Sour cream: I used full-fat sour cream for best results. I haven't tried with greek yogurt but think it would be fine. I've also made these with milk instead, and it works great, but I found them to not be as moist. 


Calories: 617kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 1099IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg