These Apple Pie Cupcakes are topped with a Salted Maple Buttercream you’ll want to eat by the spoonful. A favourite classic dessert in cupcake form, you’ll love these apple cupcakes all year round.

An apple pie cupcake being drizzled with maple syrup, surrounded by more cupcakes and apple slices, on a white background

I love these Apple Pie Cupcakes but I possibly love the Salted Maple Buttercream even more. I could literally eat it off a spoon, it’s so good.

Cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar really amp up the cosy vibes in these apple cupcakes along with the super easy cinnamon apple pieces that top them. All made from scratch and all totally delicious.

Ingredients in apple cupcakes

These cupcakes are made with regular ingredients like flour, eggs and milk, but those below are the real stars here.

  • Brown sugar – adds moisture and a slight caramel flavour, perfect with apples.
  • Corn flour (cornstarch) – A regular in my cupcake recipes, I use corn flour (cornstarch) and flour to make my own cake flour so that I don’t need to keep another container of flour in the cupboard. If you have cake flour on hand you can swap out the plain (all-purp) + corn flour for the same quantity of cake flour instead.
  • Melted butter – I use melted butter in a lot of my cupcake recipes as it makes them quicker to throw together and also results in a moister cupcake. You’ll find the same method in these Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes and my Easy Vanilla Cupcakes.
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg – those classic warming spices that work so well with apple
  • Apple – well they wouldn’t be apple cupcakes without apples. I like using granny smiths in my baking.

The best apples for baking

My go-to apple for baking is always Granny Smith. It has a great combo of sweet yet tart flavour and it holds it’s shape well. It’s also my favourite apple for snacking on so it just fits well.

Fuji, Jazz, Honey Crisp or Pink Lady also work really well. Check out this guide for more great apples to bake with.

But here on Sugar Salt Magic you’ll find granny smiths in all my apple desserts like this Warm Apple Crostata and my Caramel Apple Pie Bars.

A closeup of an apple pie cupcake with the paper peeled away showing the texture of the cake. It sits on a marble worktop

How to make apple cupcakes

  • Start by mixing together the melted butter and sugar for a minute or so until it looks glossy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla beating well until it’s all completely combined.
  • Alternate the dry ingredients and milk – folding in with a spatula, then add the apples with the last batch of flour.
  • Use a medium ice cream scoop to portion out the batter = less mess. I love this method.
  • Bake for 20-24 minutes. Check at the 18 minute mark as all ovens vary.

Addictive Salted Maple Buttercream

Ok, let’s get to the important stuff though. In case you didn’t know, I’m a frosting girl through and through. The cake really is just a vessel for holding said frosting so that you don’t get it all over your hands, right? Who’s with me?

Salted Maple Buttercream has to be one of my favourite buttercream recipes. I love the maple flavour that works so well with apples and just as with salted caramel buttercream, the salty sweet combo is absolute perfection. Such a great balance and I probably could have eaten this directly off the spoon but you know, I have restraint …. sometimes.

It couldn’t be easier to make either. Just start by beating the sugar and a little icing (powdered) sugar until it looks creamy then add everything else in and beat it for a good 5-6 minutes until it looks fluffy and whipped.

Tips for the best apple cupcakes

  • Beat the butter and sugar well – while you don’t need to cream the butter and sugar here, still make sure to beat it for a minute or so until it’s nice and glossy.
  • Cut the apple small – I finely chop my apples to about 5mm square each, so very small. You can use larger chunks if you prefer but they may not cook all the way through. You could also grate the apple if you don’t want chunks in your cupcakes.
  • Don’t over mix once the dry ingredients are added. This can cause gluten to form which will result in dense cupcakes. The best way is to use just a spatula and fold it in until it’s just combined.
  • The toothpick test – These cupcakes take around 22 minutes for me but all ovens were not created equal. Test your cupcakes from the 18 minute mark. A toothpick inserted should come out with just a crumb or two clinging to it but no wet batter.

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Apple pie cupcakes sitting on a wooden cake board

So, if it’s a cosy dessert your looking for, these Apple Pie Cupcakes are just what you need. With their spices, cinnamon apples and totally addictive Salted Maple Buttercream, you’ll have a hard time stopping at one.

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An apple pie cupcake being drizzled with maple syrup, surrounded by more cupcakes and apple slices, on a white background

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Salted Maple Buttercream Frosting

4.5 from 4 votes
These Apple Pie Cupcakes are topped with a Salted Maple Buttercream you’ll want to eat by the spoonful. A favourite classic dessert in cupcake form, you’ll love these apple cupcakes all year round.

Ingredients

FOR THE APPLE PIE CUPCAKES

  • 195 g (1 1/2 cups / 6.9oz) plain (all-purp) flour
  • 30 g (1/4 cup / 1oz) corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g / 7oz) light brown sugar, packed
  • 115 g (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large apple

FOR THE CINNAMON APPLES

  • 3 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

FOR THE SALTED MAPLE BUTTERCREAM

  • 115 g (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups icing (confectioners / powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Peel the apple, then cut into quarters. Cut away the cores on each piece. Cut 12 small neat cubes (about 2cm squarand set aside. Finely dice the rest of the apple (approximately 3/4 cup, diced)

FOR THE APPLE PIE CUPCAKES

  • Preheat oven to 180C / 320F / 160C fan. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  • Whisk the flour, cornflour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Beat the melted butter and sugar together until well mixed and glossy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. Add the vanilla and beat well until all completely mixed.
  • Add one third of the flour and stir it through with a spatula. Add half of the milk and mix until just combined, then repeat with remaining flour and milk, finishing with the last 3rd of flour and diced apple. (Make sure not to overmix or you'll end up with dense cupcakes).
  • Fill the cupcake cases to just over half full, then bake for 20-24 minutes (note) until a toothpick inserted comes out with a crumb or two (they will continue to cook with residual heat once removed from the oven).
  • Allow to cool only a couple of minutes in the baking tin before transferring onto a rack to cool.

FOR THE CINNAMON APPLES

  • While the cupcakes bake, mix together the apple cubes, butter, brown sugar, water and cinnamon in a saucepan. Place the saucepan over low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Let it cook for around 5 minutes until the apple softens, stirring regularly.

FOR THE SALTED MAPLE BUTTERCREAM

  • In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter with one tablespoon of icing sugar for 3-4 minutes until pale and creamy.
  • Add the remaining sugar, maple syrup and salt and beat for 5-6 minutes until light and whipped.

ASSEMBLE THE CUPCAKES

  • Pipe each cupcake with maple buttercream then top with one of the cinnamon apple pieces and a drizzle of the remaining juice.

Notes

Equipment used in this recipe: silicone muffin trays, stand mixer, handheld beater
  • The cooking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of your cupcake cases. Check them first around the 18 minute mark and remove them from the oven as soon as a toothpick comes out with just a crumb or two stuck to it, but no wet batter.
  • I use a standard 20ml Australian tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
  • For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  • I use corn starch a lot in my baking. This mixture of plain and corn flour is a homemade cake flour to save keeping another type of flour on hand. You can substitute both for the same quantity of cake flour if you prefer.

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A closeup of an apple pie cupcake with the paper peeled away showing the texture of the cake.

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