Apple Cider Cupcakes and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream


Moist and flavorful recipe for Apple Cider Cupcakes made from scratch with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting makes for a mouthwatering fall dessert!

Moist and flavorful recipe for Apple Cider Cupcakes made from scratch with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting makes for a mouthwatering fall dessert!

Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts to make.  They are easier than making an entire cake, easier to frost, easier to photograph (which I realize only applies to me and other weird people who photograph their food), AND they are just plain fun.  Speaking of fun, remember my Fruity Pebbles cupcakes from earlier this year?  That’s all….just wanted to see if you remembered them.  No other reason other than they are awesome.

I’m so glad you’re here! Follow along on Pinterest and Instagram for more inspiration! 

Let’s go back to the “easier to photograph” part.  When I make a whole cake there’s no other way around it than for me to tear into it in order to have a slice to photograph.  This has not gone over very well when this said cake is for a special occasion or to bring to someone else’s party as a dish to pass.  Not to say this has ever stopped me (it hasn’t) but there’s just something so not classy about bringing a cake somewhere that has already been chopped up.  Ha, ha.  I have to say, though, I have gotten a lot better over the years about masking my hack jobs.  Re-frosting and patching up a cake is tons of fun (sarcasm).

Apple Cider Cupcakes recipe with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting for a great Thanksgiving day fall dessert!

Anyways…..these  Apple Cider Cupcakes.  These bad boys would be an awesome Thanksgiving dessert!  They come out as pretty dense cupcakes, not all fluffy and cake-like as you might imagine.  They have more of the consistency of muffins.  That being said, if you leave the frosting off, these can serve as muffins for a wonderful fall breakfast.  Dessert for breakfast is ALWAYS a good idea.  Leave the frosting off?  I know…I’m taking crazy pills.  The point I’m trying to make is that the cupcakes definitely pack enough flavor that you wouldn’t even need to adorn them with the brown sugar cinnamon frosting.  They could stand on their own two feet (do cupcakes have feet?), but let’s not go crazy here.  Add the frosting.  Definitely add the frosting.

Homemade Apple Cider Cupcakes recipe with creamy Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting for a great Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

This recipe is brought to you by the fact that I had an entire gallon of apple cider in the fridge and I’m the only one who drinks it.  Solution: make desserts with it.  And eat those yourself, too.  For the record, I had planned on giving them away but my plans fell through…so don’t judge!

Homemade Apple Cider Cupcakes recipe with creamy Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting for a great holiday dessert.

Apple Cider Cupcakes and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-17
Moist and flavorful recipe for Apple Cider Cupcakes made from scratch with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting makes for a mouthwatering fall dessert!
  • Cupcakes:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1⅔ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Frosting:
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cupcakes:
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer). Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the apple cider and the mixture of dry ingredients, alternating between the two, slowly incorporating them into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
  4. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake at 350º for 17-19 minutes. Bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  6. Frosting:
  7. Whip butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla together with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  8. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
  9. Add milk until you reach desired consistency (more for thinner frosting).
  10. Transfer to piping bag and frost each cupcake once they have cooled.
  11. Garnish with an apple slice, if desired.
  12. Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.
  13. Enjoy!

Recipe source:  cupcakes adapted from, frosting from

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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

57 Responses to “Apple Cider Cupcakes and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream”

  1. November 12, 2015 at 5:25 AM #

    Oh these looks so pretty! Love the background in your photos too!

  2. November 12, 2015 at 5:40 AM #

    Oh My – I am speechless – I don’t think I’ve ever seen or had an apple cider cupcake before, Ashley! These are way more fun than a cake and easier to photograph too AND they have APPLE CIDER IN them!!! Oooh and look at that mile-high frosting! Fantabulous!

  3. November 12, 2015 at 8:31 AM #

    Wait. Did you just say that nobody else in your house drinks apple cider? I’m coming over, stat. 🙂 I totally agree that cupcakes so way easier to photograph than whole cakes. I try not to cut into cakes early but sometimes it’s hard to control myself!

  4. November 12, 2015 at 10:42 AM #

    This looks delicious! And I would certainly like to eat cupcakes with buttercream for breakfast. YOLO 😉

  5. November 12, 2015 at 12:04 PM #

    Ooooo what an awesome flavor for a cupcake!! I’ll take one with my lunch please! 🙂

  6. November 12, 2015 at 12:51 PM #

    I wouldn’t give these cupcakes away either! I would hide them away and sneak a sugary fueled bite every five minutes.

  7. November 12, 2015 at 5:52 PM #

    OMG these look Amazing! I’m going to pin these as I have a bunch of apple cider in the fridge.

  8. November 13, 2015 at 10:24 AM #

    Great cupcake and so, so true about baking cakes and wanting to slice it to take pics for your blog! I can definitely relate to that (never thought about repairing it!). Great use of your apple cider!

  9. November 16, 2015 at 5:52 PM #

    These are so cute! I totally agree with you about cupcakes, but STILL I haven’t made them in FOREVER!! What is wrong with me!

  10. Katie
    August 24, 2016 at 1:36 PM #

    I guess I wasn’t expecting these to have such a strong vinegar taste when they were done baking! Haha silly me. They are definitely moist and have all the right qualities, I might have to add a little baking soda in there to counter the vinegar ( like a crazy cake) thanks for the recipe!

    • Katie
      August 24, 2016 at 2:16 PM #

      So I just realized what a silly mistake my baby brain has committed….I used apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider, hence the vinegar taste. Ps….I’ll never comment again bahahaha

      • August 24, 2016 at 2:28 PM #

        Katie this just made me laugh so hard!!!! But I AM sorry that happened and ruined your cupcakes 🙁 but thanks for the laugh today- those errors happen to all of us at one point or another!

        • Mm
          September 7, 2016 at 5:14 PM #

          I just made these. They taste delicious but they sank down in the middle a bit. What did I do wrong? I cooked for 16 min. Thx!

          • September 7, 2016 at 5:18 PM #

            Did you open the oven at all during baking? I read a tip one time to prevent sinking in cakes and cupcakes and that’s not opening the oven and letting heat out.

  11. Amanda Titi
    September 10, 2016 at 12:04 PM #

    I used this recipe today to make a layer cake for a bridal shower! I’m sure it’s going to taste delicious but for some reason they aren’t really rising at all. Any idea on what could be going wrong? Do the cupcakes rise, or is it a denser cake? Thank you!

    • September 10, 2016 at 12:08 PM #

      They will rise some but they are definitely my more on the dense side than the “fluffier” side! Also, make sure your baking powder is fairly new! Hope that helps!

  12. Annemarie
    September 18, 2016 at 8:39 AM #

    Looks so good, do you think using apple juice would work? Thank you for such a good post.

    • September 18, 2016 at 12:04 PM #

      Sure Annemarie! I don’t see why not! Thank you!!

  13. Jeannine
    September 18, 2016 at 3:11 PM #

    I made these today when I saw this on Pinterest drinking some apple cider. Delicious! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

    • September 18, 2016 at 3:42 PM #

      Jeannine, I’m so glad you liked them and thanks for coming back to tell me!!

  14. Jessy
    September 18, 2016 at 6:22 PM #

    I made these today and they came out SUPER dense (they’re still really delicious). This has never happened to me before so I’m not sure what I did to make that happen. Any ideas? I’d love to make another batch but maybe have them a little fluffier 😂

    • September 19, 2016 at 1:47 AM #

      Hi Jessy! Baking fluffy, moist cupcakes is all about creating air bubbles in your batter that expand in the oven. If you over-mix your batter, you collapse those bubbles and end up with a dense cake. To avoid this, always mix on a low speed, stopping just as all ingredients blend. Hope that helps!!

      • Jessy
        September 19, 2016 at 12:10 PM #

        Thanks! I’ll try making these again tonight!

  15. September 20, 2016 at 11:34 AM #

    I’m just about to use the frosting recipe in some fall baking. I love the apple slice to top the cupcakes

    Amy |

  16. September 27, 2016 at 12:37 PM #

    Ooo one of my favorite drinks in cupcake form?! The apple slice on top is a charming little touch as well.

  17. September 28, 2016 at 4:17 PM #

    Oh my goodness!!! These turned out just absolutely AMAZING! I made them for a family lunch and they were a HUGE hit! People were honestly mad when they were gone! Thank you for posting this delicious recipe!

  18. Laurel
    September 29, 2016 at 4:45 PM #

    Do you have any adjustments for high altitude?

  19. Priyanka
    October 10, 2016 at 2:49 AM #


    In my country we get apple cider vinegar not just apple cider.
    Using aerated apple juice will be okay? Really want to make this.

    • October 10, 2016 at 9:40 AM #

      Hi Priyanka! Apple juice will work fine!

  20. Naomi
    October 12, 2016 at 4:51 PM #

    Do you have any suggested adjustments in temperature or cook time to make mini cupcakes?

    • October 12, 2016 at 5:28 PM #

      Hi Naomi! I would bake them at the same temperature but maybe check them five or six minutes sooner – they will take less time to bake. Check them early as you can always put them back in if need be, but once they’re overbaked there’s nothing you can do and they won’t be soft anymore!

      • Naomi
        October 12, 2016 at 5:34 PM #

        Oh thanks! I’m planning on making some this weekend!

        • October 12, 2016 at 6:27 PM #

          I hope you like them! They are my favorite 🙂 sorry I wasn’t more help!

          • Naomi
            October 13, 2016 at 3:35 AM #

            Hey that’s no problem! It’s trial and error so I’ll see how this goes. 🙂 I want to share with work buddies, so I figured making mini ones would be easier.

          • Naomi
            October 14, 2016 at 12:51 PM #

            I made the mini ones last night. I cooked them at 350 for 11 minutes and they were perfect. My only concern with them is that the bottom of each cupcake isn’t very full. It must have had too many bubbles on the bottom that took away from the cupcake, and the bottoms were almost empty. How could I change that for next time?

  21. October 13, 2016 at 7:48 PM #

    Hey, I know this may sound stupid but is the 350 degrees in celcius or fahrenheit? haha
    Thank you!!

    • October 13, 2016 at 7:49 PM #

      NOT a stupid question! It’s Fahrenheit 😊😊

  22. Tessa
    October 14, 2016 at 11:39 AM #

    I just made the cupcakes, they turned out amazing by the way. Now I am about to make the frosting. I was thinking of how I could make the frosting have a bit of a cider taste as well, so I decided to use apple cider instead of milk at the end. Turned out lovely. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it’s a keeper.

    • October 14, 2016 at 11:43 AM #

      I love this idea, Tessa!! I am trying that next time!! So glad you loved the cupcakes.

  23. Pua
    October 14, 2016 at 12:02 PM #

    This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for! Question; do you think adding applesauce to the recipe will punch up the apple flavor even more? Or would that ruin the cupcakes? I’m actually doing mini cupcakes for an early Halloween gathering and I was going for a Carmel Apple recipe, but I saw this and loved it instantly. I’ll be making these today just to try them out before the event. I was hoping that since their minis, the applesauce might help to keep them a bit more moist.

    • October 14, 2016 at 12:36 PM #

      It would definitely change the texture but adding a small amount could probably work! I can’t say from experience though 🙁 Enjoy!!

  24. Selina
    October 16, 2016 at 7:04 PM #

    Hello, I’m Selina and I just made these and they came out so good but my frosting is not thick. I melted the butter 🙁 but they still taste amazing. What I did was cut a small whole and put the filling inside. Ugh so good. Thank you for this.Yes it’s my first time making them.

    • October 17, 2016 at 12:49 PM #

      Yeah the directions say softened butter which means it’s at room temperature, not melted. I’m glad they still tasted great! Next time definitely try the softened butter and they will be perfect 🙂

  25. Melissa
    October 19, 2016 at 12:03 AM #

    Are there any adjustments to the recipe for high altitude?

  26. linda
    October 25, 2016 at 5:53 PM #

    I just tried this recipe. The cupcake itself is delicious! However, i find that the frosting is WAY too sweet.

    • October 25, 2016 at 7:07 PM #

      Most people like it just the way it is but feel free to cut back on the sugar next time! Glad you loved the cupcakes!

  27. Ally
    November 9, 2016 at 4:17 PM #

    My frosting started out fluffy. I slowly added the powered sugar at half a cup each until all three cups were incorporated. The frosting came out thin, and I hadn’t even added the milk yet. Is it supposed to be a thinner consistency?

  28. Emily Monahan
    November 18, 2016 at 10:24 AM #

    Hello, will this recipe make to cake layers fir a layer cake?

    • November 18, 2016 at 11:51 AM #

      I’m not sure it would be enough for two layers. I’ve never tried that before. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  29. Katie
    November 25, 2016 at 11:24 PM #

    I made these for thanksgiving 2016. And they were a HUGE hit. So so popular and loved that I will be making them again for BOTH my Christmas holiday parties. One thing I will mention that I adapted, I skipped out on the milk in the frosting. The buttercream frosting was thick, but it held its shape. Which was helpful when I was designing maple leaves and other fun creations on top. I think if I had added the milk it would have been too thin for fun decorative designs. Still tasted amazing and not too sweet!!

    • November 25, 2016 at 11:25 PM #

      Thanks so much for letting me know Katie! So glad you liked them!

  30. Kim
    November 26, 2016 at 6:12 PM #

    My husband took one bite of these cupcakes and his eyes rolled into the back of his head in pleasure. He immediately requested that I make these for his birthday…and every other time I make cupcakes for the rest of our lives. I’ve been raving about and sharing them with everyone I’ve come in contact with for the past two days. These are amazing!!!!

    • November 26, 2016 at 6:13 PM #

      Wow!! Thank you so much Kim! And thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know 🙂

  31. Erin
    November 29, 2016 at 1:33 PM #

    I made these for Thanksgiving and they turned out perfect!! Huge hit with the family, and my fiancé said it was the best cupcake he’s ever had. I’ll definitely be making them again next year!

    • November 29, 2016 at 1:35 PM #

      Wow!! Thanks so much for coming back to let me know, Erin!


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