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Applesauce Cupcakes

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Give your homemade applesauce new and glamorous life in these delicious applesauce cupcakes!

Made with simple ingredients these moist cupcakes are full of warming spice perfect for fall and beyond.

This great recipe is sure to become part of your regular rotation for fall desserts, bake sales, and more! And heck, because it does use applesauce one could truly make them anytime of year when the baking urge hits.

Cupcakes sitting on a wood plank platter with text overlay reading Maple Frosting - Applesauce cupcakes.

Pantry Ingredients

This is intentionally a simple recipe. Designed to take advantage of a well-stocked pantry and prevent any extra trips to the store. While they are basic, here are some things to keep to mind:

Applesauce

Start with unsweetened and plain (no spice) applesauce for this recipe.

Use the best applesauce you can find. I start with my homemade chunky applesauce and puree it until smooth in a blender and then proceed.

If you’re buying applesauce from the grocery store or local market it should contain nothing but apples, water, and some kind of acid. The acid is usually lemon juice or ascorbic acid – which is simply Vitamin C. The acid is to prevent the applesauce from turning brown. There doesn’t need to be anything else in the applesauce.

An applesauce cupcake on a plate with a platter of more cupcakes and a jar of applesauce in the background.

If you’re starting with homemade applesauce that does contain sugar and spice, you may want to add less sugar and skip the spices in the original recipe below.

Cozy Spices

Cinnamon and clove combine for a hit of warming spice here. However, no one is locked into those choices.

Switch up the spice to personal favorites. Ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg would all be tasty. Apple pie spice, gingerbread spice, any kind of sweet spice mix would also work.

Butter

Unlike many applesauce cake recipes, these rich treats include butter alongside the applesauce.

The butter does indeed add richness and make these feel more like cupcakes than say applesauce muffins.

Applesauce cupcakes with a white frosting arranged on a wooden plank platter.

If you wanted to make them vegan or dairy-free, you could use margarine or shortening instead. 

The recipe as written uses salted butter and includes no additional salt. If you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the dry ingredients.

Flour

Basic all-purpose flour makes these easy to whip up and what most folks think of when they think of cupcakes.

However, substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour if desired for a lovely whole grain crunch and heartiness that is quite lovely.

Maple Syrup

If you make the maple frosting, use real maple syrup. The darkest maple syrup you can find will give the best flavor.

An applesauce cupcake with the paper liner removed sitting on a white plate. A platter of more cupcakes and a jar of applesauce sit in the background.

Don’t use imitation maple syrup. The flavor simply doesn’t compare.

Maple syrup is expensive, I know, but it’s worth using the real thing here for a special treat.

Size

The recipe is written for regular-size muffins cups, however; one could make the mini size if desired.

The mini size would be great for larger parties. Simply check for doneness much sooner if going with the smaller size.

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Optional Additions

While the cupcakes are delicious just as they are, there are additions to make them heartier if desired.

Add up to 1 cup of the following:

  • Peeled & Diced Apple
  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Raisins or other dried fruit bits

Frosting Choices

The recipe does include a maple frosting that works wonderfully but that isn’t the only choice.

Use heavy cream instead of maple syrup and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for a simple buttercream frosting.

Cream cheese frosting would be delicious.

Caramel frosting would compliment the apple flavor wonderfully.

A side view of a frosted applesauce cupcake sitting on top of its paper liner on a white plate with a red cloth in the background.

A dollop of fresh whipped cream on the top of each cupcake just before serving would be a nice switch.

Skip frosting and serve with a scoop of ice cream instead.

Decorative Touches

I always keep my decorating style a bit on the rustic, very basic side. I enjoy the look of frosting just kind of spread haphazardly with a butter knife on a cupcake. However, feel free to use a piping bag and decorative tips if desired.

To give the cupcakes a little more decorative appearance consider placing a candied walnut or pecan on the top of each frosted cupcake.

Roll the edges of the frosting in some finely chopped nuts or sprinkles for an additional decorative touch.

How to Store

Keep fresh cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

This delicious recipe freezes well, so make a double batch if time allows.

A wooden plank platter scattered with frosted applesauce cupcakes sitting on a red cloth. A jar of applesauce sits behind it.

To freeze, simply put baked and cooled cupcakes into a freezer bag and freeze. You can freeze them frosted or unfrosted.

If you freeze them frosted, let them thaw overnight in the fridge prior to serving.

If you freeze them unfrosted, let thaw at room temperature and then frost just before serving.

Use up frozen cupcakes within 6 months for best flavor and to prevent freezer burn.

Yield: 12 Cupcakes

Applesauce Cupcakes Recipe

A frosted applesauce cupcake on a plate.

Make these moist and sweet cupcakes for a comforting and decadent treat using leftover applesauce.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

Applesauce Cupcakes Batter:

  • 2 Cups Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 Egg

Maple Frosting

  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

Instructions

Make the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together the sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the applesauce and beat until combined. Add the egg and mix completely.
  6. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups, filling each approximately 2/3 full.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes. The edges will be a golden brown and an inserted tester will come out clean when done.
  9. Place pan on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pan to cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Make the Frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat on a low speed for ultimate creaminess.
  3. After all of the sugar has been added, pour in the maple syrup. Beat on a medium speed until thick, creamy, and spreadable.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 340mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 1gSugar: 42gProtein: 3g

We try our best but cannot guarantee that nutrition information is 100% accurate.

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