Apple Spice Walnut Cupcakes with Apple Cider Buttercream and Caramel

Is it even fall if you don’t bring out the warm flavors of cinnamon and apples? These ingredients are full of flavor and make for the most amazing aromas! Strangely enough, I am not big on the sweets, but there is something about a perfect cupcake that gets me every time. The combination of apples and walnuts give these cupcakes an amazing apple flavor with a moist “carrot cake like” consistency. Topped off with an apple cider buttercream and a caramel drizzle, they are definitely too good to resist!

Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup heavy cream (can be substituted with any milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus more for topping each cupcake
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Apple Cider Buttercream

2 tablespoons cold apple cider
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Note: you can use homemade or store-bought caramel to drizzle after icing each cupcake, about 2 tablespoons

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Measure out each ingredient.
3. Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Whisk together.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the melted butter and both sugars together with a mixer at medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to mix. Add the heavy cream and vanilla. Mix together and set side.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing at low speed. Mix until combined. Using a spoon, fold in the chopped apples and walnuts.
5. Line a muffin pan and fill 3/4 of the way with the cupcake batter. Bake for 20-23 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
6. For the buttercream, place the softened butter in a bowl. Using a mixer, mix on medium speed until fluffy.
7. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined.
8. Add the apple cider and cinnamon. Mix on medium speed until the buttercream is smooth.
9. Ice each cupcake with the icing. Sprinkle each with cinnamon and drizzle with caramel. Enjoy!

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Elizabeth Canas