These apple cupcakes are favorites every fall in our household. They are like eating an apple cobbler in cupcake form.
I make my apple cupcakes with brown sugar and load them up with fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves.
I also always add lemon zest to my apple desserts as it brightens up the flavor and gives them a little zing!
Which are the Best Apples to Use in Apple Cupcakes?
I like to use tart apples that hold their shape. I don’t want apple mush in my cupcakes; I want recognizable apple bits.
Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious apples are all great choices, but there are so many others that will also work well.
Tip: There is no need to peel the apples before use in apple cupcakes. I don’t peel them in my apple crumble pie, either!
How to Frost Apple Cupcakes
Over the years, I’ve experimented with lots of different frosting recipes for my apple cupcakes.
Vanilla cream cheese frosting and a caramel drizzle is a classic choice. That’s the recipe I share in this post.
Cream cheese frosting is always a win for me, but if you prefer buttercream, try my vanilla buttercream frosting.
One of my favorite ways to frost apple cupcakes is with pumpkin frosting (shown below). I make that using actual pumpkin pie!
Apple cupcakes are also wonderful with a crumb topping. When you make them that way, you can actually serve them for breakfast and call them apple muffins.
For some other fall recipe, frosting, and decorating ideas, take a look at my favorite fall cupcakes!
Why Do Cupcakes Peel Away from the Liners?
If a big piece of apple is right up against the liner, it won’t stick to the liner in the same way that the cupcake batter would and the liner will peel away.
You can avoid this by cutting the apples into smaller pieces.
If you like the big pieces, as shown in the image above, you can hide the fact that the liner peeled away by:
- Using cupcake wrappers that go over cupcake liners after baking, or
- Using baking cups instead of cupcake liners.
Can You Use Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream?
If you don’t have sour cream in the house, I’ve done extensive testing and found that yogurt works perfectly as a substitute for sour cream.
You could even use flavored yogurt as a recipe twist!
Apple Cupcake Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 pound apples roughly chopped and loosely packed, about 2 1/2 cups chopped apples
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
- Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until blended.
- Mix in flour mixture a little bit at a time until just combined.
- Fold in apples.
- Divide batter evenly among 12 cupcake liners (they will be filled almost all the way to the top).
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Mix in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time until fully combined.
- Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.