Cinnamon spice cupcakes baked with hard cider, filled with whiskey caramel apples, and topped with a whiskey cinnamon buttercream. Warm, comforting, and perfect for fall!
Cinnamon Spice Hard Cider Cupcakes
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temp
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 cup hard apple cider, room temperature*
Whiskey Caramel Apple Filling
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 large (or 3 small) Honey Crisp apples peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons whiskey**
Cinnamon Whiskey Buttercream
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons whiskey**
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter over low-medium heat, whisking constantly. Once you see brown specks appear on the bottom, remove from the heat and continue whisking for 30 seconds. Pour into another bowl so that the butter doesn’t continue to cook (which could result in burning).
- Once the butter is cool, add the buttermilk, egg, sugars and vanilla, and mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
- Gradually add the flour to the wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Once the flour is fully incorporated, stir in the hard cider, being careful not to over mix.
- Line a muffin pan with liners, and spray them with non-stick spray. Fill each muffin tin slightly more than halfway with the batter.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
For the Filling
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the apples are soft and have released their juices.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the whiskey with cornstarch, and then add to the pan with the apples and cook for about 3 minutes, until the liquid thickens. Set aside to cool.
For the Frosting
- Cream the butter for about 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until creamy.
- Add the whiskey and beat on high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and whipped.
- Core each cupcake with a cupcake corer, or with a knife angled at 45-degrees (the shape you remove will be a cone shape). Fill the cupcake with apples, then top with buttercream. If you have leftover apples (this will depend on how much of the cupcake center you removed), top the frosting with more apples.
*I used Strongbow in the cupcakes, because it’s my favorite hard cider. If you do not want to have alcohol in your cupcakes, regular cider should be fine.
**I used Jack Daniel’s whiskey. If you want to forego the whiskey in this recipe, replace it with water in the apple filling, and either omit it in the frosting, or replace it with heavy whipping cream.