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Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cider Icing

Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cider Icing

Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes

Subtly spiced, these tiny cakes fill your home with a comforting aroma as they bake. Topped with a cider-laced drizzle, these are the kind of cupcakes your grandma would make. They would make a perfect dessert at an autumn picnic, but the kids probably wouldn't complain if you packed one in their lunch box.

What you'll need


  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple (about 2 small apples)


  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 1/4 cup cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider (preferably unfiltered)


Yields 24 cupcakes or 12 mini bundts

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Butter and flour (or use paper cups) for 2 12-cup muffin tins or one mini-Bundt pan (mine only has 6 molds, so I needed to bake 2 batches) and set aside.
  3. Into a small bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside. In a larger bowl, whisk eggs with sugar, until light yellow and glossy. Add vanilla extract, apple sauce, melted butter, sour cream and lemon zest and mix well. Add dry ingredients, and whisk only until just combined. Gently fold in chopped apple.
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared molds (filling about 2/3 full), and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes for a muffin tin, 22 minutes for the larger mini-bundt pan. Cool the cakes for 5 minutes in the pan, then unmold them and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the glaze ingredients together. It should be a thick drizzle. If it is too thin, add more confectioner's sugar, if it is too thick, add more cider, a teaspoon at a time. When cakes are cool, drizzle the icing over the tops, letting it drip down the sides. Let the icing set before serving.