Bring on the apples, spice and everything nice this fall! Let’s start off with some perfectly season appropriate Spiced Apple Cupcakes! Not only are these babies studded with chunks of one of autumn’s favorite fruits but they also get an extra special kick with the addition of the glorious creation that is apple butter! *drool!*
As you’ve seen by the recipe title I’m topping these cupcakes with a creamy maple frosting to switch things up from the usual caramel + apple pairing we’re used to seeing. The cream cheese in the frosting brings a wonderful tang that is balanced nicely with the warm sweetness of maple. Sweet without being overly sweet! Ya feel me?!
Now, back to one of my favorite discoveries, apple butter! Guys, I only discovered this amazing creation last year! It is incredible and can be used in baking in so many ways! I found apple butter while visiting orchards (also, for the first time!) on a lovely day trip last fall. How had I never heard of such a thing before?! It’s sooooo good!!! Literally from toast and oatmeal to pies and cupcakes, put this stuff on errythang!!
My recipe for these cupcakes calls for adding apple butter straight into the batter. Apple butter can be found at many orchards during this time of year but also check your local farmers market during fall to see if specialty butters are available. If you can’t get your hands on pre-made apple butter you can also try making it yourself at home! (Something I hope to try!) But if you’re in a pinch you can substitute the apple butter in this recipe with apple sauce. Both will work, but I personally prefer the concentrated flavor of the apple butter.
The recipe itself is pretty straight forward. Mix together your wet ingredients, add in the dry ingredients, fold in some diced apple and you’re golden! Sit back and enjoy how incredible your house smells while these guys are baking!
Don’t forget to set out the butter and cream cheese for the frosting while you prepare the cupcakes. This way they will be perfectly soft and ready to use once the cupcakes are done. Another little mix of ingredients and you’re ready to plop, dollop, swoosh or swirl on some creamy dreamy frosting! Time for a bite! 🍏
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp table salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground all spice
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup apple butter (or apple sauce)
- 1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely diced
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp maple extract
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together oil and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix in vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- To the wet mixer add in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the apple butter (or apple sauce), beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until there are no more dry streaks, careful not to over mix. Stir in the finely diced apple by hand.
- Spoon the batter into the lined cupcake tins, about ⅔ full. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Allow to cool completely.
- In a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese for at least 5 minutes until light and fluffy. On a low speed, begin to add in the powdered sugar. Next, add the maple extract and a pinch of salt and beat again on a medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Once cupcakes are cooled pipe or spread frosting onto the cupcakes.