Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

This is a caramel apple turned into a cupcake and it’s probably the best idea i’ve ever had.

Except for that one time I made apple pie toast.  I thought that was way, way, way fun and a contender for my best idea.  And then there was the time I made apple crumble bars, which wasn’t my best idea but is a good recipe classic.

But let’s move on to this epic fall cupcake recipe.

I know in the title I say the cupcake part is, “spiced.” But I’m here to say the cupcake part isn’t too spicy. 

I’m not a big fan of overly spiced fall desserts.  If we really get down to it I just think I don’t like certain spices that are typically in fall desserts.  Like nutmeg, allspice and cloves.  I love the smell of them, but the taste makes me feel like I’m eating a fall-themed potpourri. 

But then I like chai tea lattes a bunch, so I confuse myself.  I really do like strong cinnamon and / or ginger flavors.  Like, if we’re talking chewy ginger cookies (which I’ll be sharing an epic recipe for in November), sign me up.

For this recipe, I was in the mood for a fall apple dessert because apple cider donuts aren’t a thing in Houston, which I think is totally lame.  One day I would love to visit an apple orchard that makes fresh apple cider donuts.  That whole food experience just sounds really dreamy to me.  Do they make apple cider donuts where you live? If they do, please go enjoy one for me.  Until I can get my hands on an apple donut, I’ll be enjoying these apple cupcakes.  

If you like caramel apples, fun, or fall baking…then you’ll love this recipe.

Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Yield: makes a dozen


spiced apple cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large apple, peeled & finely chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

salted caramel buttercream
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup caramel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350ºF.  In a bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and apples.  Add in butter, eggs, vanilla extract, milk and heavy whipping cream.  Mix together until a batter forms.  Pour into a muffin tin lined with cupcake holders.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool.  

While cooling, whip up your frosting.  Use an electric mixer to mix together all buttercream frosting ingredients.  Once cupcakes are cool...frost & serve! 


  1. I’ve never heard of apple cider donuts, but you’ve got me craving apple cider now! Donuts would be a bonus. Also I just had to follow the link to see the apple pie toast and just…wow. Yum.

  2. These sound so good, & they look adorable! In fall of 2012, Kaci & I visited Charlottesville for the second time & were able to visit an apple orchard + enjoyed a local fall donut. You’ll have to put that on your bucket list! 🙂

  3. Apple cider donuts are definitely a thing here in Massachusetts! Officially the best/most famous ones are from Atkins Farm in Hadley, but I think there are better ones to be had from the N. Hadley Sugarshack, Warner Farm’s Corn Maze in Sunderland, Quonquont Farm in Whately, and prettymuch anywhere they are warm and freshly fried.
    Um, can you tell we like our cider donuts? Last fall me and my husband bought one from each of our favorite farms and had a donut tasting party. It was the best idea I’ve had in a long time :)
    These cupcakes look so good, though! I love that they’re spiced but not SPICED.

  4. I grew up in CT, and until I moved south, I didn’t realize the rest of the country was missing out on cider donuts. Now that I live in FL, I become fixated every fall on locating cider donuts. So far, I have been unsuccessful! I realize I could make them myself, but frying donuts sort of puts me off a little.

  5. As amazing as those cupcakes look, I’m in love with the cake stand! Do you remember where you got it?

  6. I’m originally from Michigan and in the fall, we would head to the local orchard for fresh made cider donuts AND fresh pressed apple cider. The fruit farm there is no longer in business, but I took my husband there once and he still talks about that apple cider.  What you buy in the store does not even begin to compare!!!  A great memory for sure!  (Kylie, you would have loved them both!)

  7. If you ever make it to Vermont, hands down, Cold Hollow Cider Mill makes the best cider donuts EVER! Right in front of you. Warm. YUMMO!
    Also, you look beautiful in that maternity shoot photo!!!

  8. Love this and so easy! Also – your due date 11/11 is the day I’m getting married :D Best of luck to you, Andrew, and you’re little Raspberry!

  9. Here in Charlottesville we head to Carter’s Mountain Orchard in the fall to get fresh apple cider donuts! We were just there last weekend and they were so good again!

  10. I wish I could send you an apple cider donut! I love your blog, have a great day!

  11. Those look amazing but the baking powder amount looks like it’s a typo! I really want to make these soon but I don’t want to mess them up! I have honeycrisps waiting for me! 

  12. I’m sure you meant 11/2 tsp. Baking powder NOT 1 1/2 cups.

  13. I moved from Houston to North Carolina a few months ago and actually had my first apple cider donut this morning! (I also saw that the donut shop has started selling kolaches, I will have to see how they compare to Houston’s). These cupcakes look so yummy!

  14. I’ll have to wait till after my physical fitness test and weigh in to try these, but these sound amazing! You make me giggle : )
    I love the name of your webpage and how the last picture of the cupcakes is a pretty trail and a munched one at the end LoL.
    I hope you’re having a great week!

  15. Pingback: Friday Thoughts - The Real Life RD|NYC Dietitian Nutritionist

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