Apple Cider Cupcakes

Soft, fluffy Apple Cider Cupcakes piled high with a spiced apple cider buttercream frosting. Perfect for fall parties!

There’s just something about a cupcake that brings a smile. Soft, fluffy cake piled high with swirls of buttercream make me happy! These apple cider cupcakes are no exception.

Whether you are planning a fall party at school or need something for the kids for Thanksgiving dessert, give this easy cupcake recipe a try!

plate of apple cupcakes with swirled buttercream

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Semi-homemade, but you’ll love the homemade taste!
  • Kept easy with a box mix as a base.
  • 100% homemade buttercream with apple cider.
  • Maple spice flavor in the cupcakes and the frosting.

How to Make Apple Cider Cupcakes

This recipe starts with a box cake mix, but swaps the water for cider and adds some seasonings and spices to create a comforting fall flavor.

  • Stir together dry cake mix, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Using a hand mixer, beat in apple cider, vegetable oil, eggs, and maple extract until incorporated. You can also use a stand mixer if you’d like.
  • Scoop batter into lined muffin tins until about ½ full. We got 20 cupcakes, but you may get slightly more or less. Just make sure not to overfill them.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  • Scoop batter into lined muffin tins until about ½ full. We got 20 cupcakes, but you may get slightly more or less. Just make sure not to overfill them.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling.

Apple Cider Frosting

Although you can get away with mixing cake batter with just a whisk, you really need a powered mixer (either stand mixer or hand mixer) to mix frosting to get that perfectly fluffy texture. I used a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

  • Begin by mixing together butter, salt, lemon juice, maple extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined.
  • Pour in half of the powdered sugar (2 cups), and apple cider and mix.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and blend.
  • Turn the stand mixer on high and beat for 5 minutes. This is to make the icing super fluffy and soft. This is why it is good to have a stand mixer!

How do I frost the cupcakes?

But using a piping bag and a Wilton 1M tip, you can frost these cupcakes pretty easily with the frosting you just made. Start in the very middle of the cupcake. Squeeze the frosting with a steady pressure. Create a tight spiral from the middle, moving towards the outsides. Once the first layer is frosted, frost from the outside into the middle. Feel free to be creative with this decorative part.

cake decorating tip piping frosting on a cupcake

How do I store my cupcakes?

Store your cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days. You can also keep them, covered, in the refrigerator for 4-5 days before they get too hard.

Recipe Variations

  • Use apple juice instead of apple cider.
  • Use a spice cake or yellow cake mix.
  • Make a 9×13 sheet cake instead of cupcakes.
  • Top with crushed gingersnaps and caramel if you’d like.
apple cider cupcake sliced in half
apple cider cupcake sliced in half

Apple Cider Cupcakes

5 from 2 votes
Soft, fluffy Apple Cider Cupcakes piled high with a spiced apple cider buttercream frosting. Perfect for fall parties!
Servings 20
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 box white cake mix (15.25 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup salted butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (divided in half)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider (plus more if needed)
  • sprinkle of ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Stir together dry cake mix, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Using a hand mixer, beat in apple cider, vegetable oil, eggs, and maple extract until incorporated.
  • Scoop batter into lined muffin tins until about ½ full.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.
  • Once cupcakes are cooled, prepare frosting.
  • Begin by mixing together butter, salt, lemon juice, maple extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. I used a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  • Pour in half of the powdered sugar (2 cups), and apple cider and mix.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and blend.
  • Turn the stand mixer on high and beat for 5 minutes. This is to make the icing super fluffy and soft.
  • Frost cupcakes with icing (I used a piping bag and a Wilton 1M tip).
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple cake, cake mix recipe

About Julie Clark

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Haven’t made the buttercream yet, but I’m not loving the cupcake so far. The nutmeg is overpowering and tastes more like pumpkin than apple cider