These Apple Pie Cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting are the perfect fall treat. Apple pie filling is layered inside a ring of sweet vanilla frosting for a taste of homemade apple pie in cupcake form!
Everyone loves apple pie and cupcakes, so why not turn a classic American dessert into cupcakes for the ultimate delectable treat. Apple Pie Cupcakes combine a vanilla cinnamon cake with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting and homemade apple pie filling.
A simple cupcake batter is mixed with a blend of warming spices and baked in the oven. While cooling you’ll make an easy vanilla buttercream frosting with simple ingredients right in a stand mixer.
An apple pie filling is made by sauteeing freshly peeled apples in butter along with cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla until they are fragrant and tender. You can make the filling with your favorite kind of apples and even better when they are in season.
Vanilla frosting gets piped around the edges of the cupcake in a ring shape to make a sweet nest to hold the apple pie filling and make a beautiful presentation. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and sugar for a Fall dessert that’s perfect for kids or to serve on your Thanksgiving dinner table!
What People Are Saying About This Recipe
- “They were easy to make and delicious. My husband does not like gluten-free food. He ate more than one and said with the frosting and apples could not tell they were gluten-free. Thank you!” – CAM
- “They look fabulous, taste fabulous, and they ARE fabulous!” – SAMMY
- “Hi again, I made these cupcakes yesterday and they turned out absolutely amazing!! Great reviews from everyone. People loved the fact that the apple topping was homemade, too. The whole recipe was very simple to follow and everything worked out according to plan. Thanks so much for the great instructions and wonderful recipe!” – ALLISON
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the cupcakes:
- All-Purpose Flour & Cake Flour – Makes up the dry ingredient base of the cupcakes and holds everything together. You can substitute with a 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour that contains xanthan gum to make these cupcakes gluten free.
- Baking Powder – Helps the cupcakes rise and become fluffy and light.
- Salt – Helps activate the baking powder and balances the flavors in the cupcake.
- Spices – A mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves helps give the cupcakes a warming flavor.
- Unsalted Butter – You can substitute with salted butter and cut back on the salt.
- Sugar – Use granulated sugar for the best texture and flavor.
- Eggs – Helps the cake bind together and set properly when cooling.
- Vanilla Extract – Infuses the cupcakes with a light vanilla flavor.
- Milk – Thins out the cupcake batter while adding a creamy taste and texture.
- Unsalted Butter – You can substitute with salted butter, if needed.
- Apples – Use firm apples like granny smith for the best texture and flavor.
- Cinnamon & Sugar – Gives the apples a warm and sweet flavor.
- Water & Cornstarch – Thickens the apple pie filling to make a warm and sweet sauce to coat the apples.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
- Unsalted Butter – Makes up the creamy buttery base of the frosting.
- Confectioners Sugar – Sweetens up the frosting and gives it a spreadable consistency.
- Vanilla Extract – Adds a light vanilla flavor to the frosting.
Salt – Balances the flavor of the sugar in the frosting.
- Cinnamon & Sugar – A light dusting of cinnamon and sugar help enhance the flavor of the frosting.
How To Make Apple Pie Cupcakes
To make the cupcakes:
- Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 350F. Add muffin liners to a muffin tin and set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until fully combined.
- Mix the wet ingredients: To a stand mixer, add the butter and sugar. Mix with the paddle attachment at medium-high speed until butter and sugar are creamed together. Add in each egg one at a time and mix until each is fully incorporated into the wet ingredients. Add the vanilla extract, then turn the speed to low.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients together: In small batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet while mixing. Each dry ingredient batch should be followed with milk and repeated until all ingredients are combined.
- Assemble and bake: Evenly distribute the prepared batter into each muffin tin until 3/4ths full. Bake for 20 minutes rotating the pan halfway. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Set aside.
To make the apple filling:
- Cook the apples: Heat the butter in a medium-large skillet. Stir in the peeled and chopped apples, sugar and cinnamon. Heat until the fruit begins to soften and release its juices.
- Add liquid: Add ¾ cup of water to the pan and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook until the apples are just fork tender but not mushy.
- Thicken the apple pie filling: In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch, and whisk lightly until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and cook 1-2 minutes more, until the mixture has thickened. Let cool and set aside.
To make the vanilla frosting:
- Beat the butter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until it is creamy and fluffy.
- Mix the frosting: Bring the mixer speed down to low, then slowly add the sugar until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and salt, then turn up the speed and beat until light and fluffy for about 4 minutes.
Assembling apple pie cupcakes:
- Add the frosting: Pipe a ring of vanilla frosting around the edges of each cupcake.
- Add the apple pie filling: Inside the frosting ring, evenly distribute the apple pie filling in each cupcake using the frosting as a “nest”.
- Garnish: Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of the cupcake for garnish and extra flavor.
- To make sure the cupcakes and the frosting come together properly, the butter and eggs will need to be at room temperature.
- When mixing the wet and dry ingredients, do not overmix as the batter can become tough and will not rise properly.
- The cupcakes and apple pie filling need to be cooled completely before assembling as the heat of the cupcake can melt the frosting.
- Fill the cupcake liners only ¾ full to avoid the cupcakes spilling over the top while baking.
- Cut the apples into small bite-sized cubes to make sure they fit on top of the cupcake properly.
- Take a shortcut and used a boxed spiced cake mix to make the cupcakes if you’re short on time.
- If serving immediately, you can use whipped cream on top of the cupcake instead of frosting.
- This recipe can be made with peaches, plums, or pears instead of apples to change up the flavor.
- Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice makes a great seasoning blend to go inside the cupcake batter or sprinkled in the filling to add more fall flavor to these apple cinnamon cupcakes.
More Cupcake Recipes
Did you make these Apple Pie Cupcakes? Leave a recipe rating and review below!
Apple Pie Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter,, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups milk
For the apple topping:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cups peeled and chopped apples
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup water plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter,, at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
For the cinnamon-sugar topping:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons sugar
To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
- Sift together flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾-full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan about 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the apple topping:
- While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the apple topping. Heat the butter in a medium-large skillet. Stir in the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Heat until the fruit begins to release its juices. Add ¾ cup of water to the pan and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook until the apples are just fork tender but not mushy. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch, and whisk lightly until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and cook 1-2 minutes more, until the mixture has thickened. Let cool thoroughly before topping the cupcakes.
To make the frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Whisk together the 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Pipe frosting around the edge of each cupcake, leaving a well for the topping. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar topping. Divide apple topping evenly among cupcakes. Enjoy!
Can you make the apple pie filling ahead of time
Yes, you can make the filling up to 1-2 days in advance. Enjoy!
Making cupcakes for my sister’s wedding. She is gluten free. Made these swapping out the flour for gluten free one to one substitute. They were easy to make and delicious. My husband does not like gluten free food. He ate more than one and said with the frosting and apples could not tell they were gluten free. Thank you!
I love hearing that everyone enjoyed them. Thanks so much for your feedback!
Can this recipe be done with only all purpose flour? Also any chance you have the ingredients by weight (grams) thanks!
Hi, Samantha! Yes, this recipe can be made with all purpose flour only. I don’t have ingredients by weight at this time but will be updating soon. Thanks!
cupcakes looks so good
can’t wait to have it now
What kind of milk is used in the cupcake? Whole, 2% or would buttermilk be good? Thanks!
Hi, Sam! Whole milk or 2% works best. I don’t recommend using buttermilk for this recipe.