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Apple Cider Cupcakes with Apple Cider Cream Cheese Frosting

by Courtney on September 29, 2011

Alright. It’s time to switch things up a bit around here.

It’s no secret that one of my favorite parts about fall is the abundance of pumpkin. It gives me the perfect excuse to just go nuts with pumpkin everything…

Pumpkin Oats…

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin beer

Pumpkin Coffee…

Pumpkin bagels…

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes…

But what I often forget is that my beloved fall season is not only known for pumpkin…it’s known for apples.

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Goodies like apple pie, apple crisp, apple bread, and warm apple cider are all delicious fall favorites of mine. So when I went to make my next batch of cupcakes, I decided to embrace the apples…

Apple Cider Cupcakes with Apple Cider Cream Cheese Frosting

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One of the perks of these cupcakes, besides the fact that they’re just delicious, is that they are super easy to make, thanks to the use of a box mix as the base. Don’t get me wrong, homemade cupcakes are great; but sometimes, a little doctoring up of a mix does the trick just as well.

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The frosting that accompanies these apple cider cupcakes also embraces the seasonal flavors of fall, thanks to the addition of apple cider and cinnamon into a cream cheese frosting base. (This frosting is slightly thinner than most, so you may want to let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes to set before frosting. Don’t add more sugar – it will get too sweet!).

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To frost these cupcakes, I used a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. I then placed the tip at the center of the cupcake and continued to squeeze the bag, without moving it, until the frosting spread out to the edges of the cupcake. Easy peasy!

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As usual, these cupcakes got sent to work with Jay, and thankfully received the seal of approval from the co-workers. Apparently, however, I could have “put more effort into making them look more festive,” so my little photo setup here is my attempt at making them more festive.

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Hey, sometimes, a simple look is the way to go. Then, you just let the cupcakes themselves do the talking.

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Boy, I sure do love fall.

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Khushboo September 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

Pumpkins, I’m pretty indifferent about but anything apple-based has me drooling…even better when cinnamon is involved! I need some of these in my life with a venti iced coffee ;)!
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2 Amanda September 29, 2011 at 8:42 am

love these! totally making them when i go to Louisiana to visit fam at the end of the month! :-) It’s not all about “looking” festive… I bet they “TASTE” crazy festive! can’t wait!! xoxo
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3 Becky @ Fit Chick on the Fly September 29, 2011 at 8:45 am

Me and baking are not friends… your cupcakes look professional! I’m very impressed! ;-)
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4 Shawna September 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

wow. i’m not even a huge cake/cupcake fan, but pumpkin and apple anything are the two ways to my heart. these looks amazing! can’t wait to make.
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5 Paige September 29, 2011 at 8:49 am

Not to be needy or anything, but could you do a frosting vlog or tutorial or something? I absolutely SUCK at frosting and your frosting jobs are always so pretty! Show me your ways!

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6 Courtney September 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

Yes! I will have to do that! :)

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7 Kim @ The Family Practice September 29, 2011 at 11:28 am

Yay! I need that too!
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8 Meghan September 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

Paige you took the words right off my fingertips :) I am the worlds worst froster (I voted) and mine end up looking like one of my pre-k students iced it for me!! Tutorial PLEASE!!! With icing on top :)

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9 Faith @ For the Health of It September 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

Oof – all of your cupcakes sound amazing, but these look especially awesome! Cream cheese frosting is my all-time fave, and the warmth of the apple and spices sound like a perfect counterbalance to the vanilla-ey sweetness
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10 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen September 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

Your cupcakes always leave me drooling. I wish I my husband or I had coworkers to pawn these off on but I work from home and he only works with 1 other person so we’d end up eating them all!
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11 Hope September 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

Oh, my! These cupcakes look fantastic! I love apple cider so I can only imagine how amazing these taste! I definitely saved this recipe and I need to try it asap! :) By the way, I think they look professional and festive for fall!
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12 Krissie J September 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

I like modifying box mix for cupcakes as well. Saves a lot of time when you have other stuff to do. Planning to try my hand at making these soon! :)
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13 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries September 29, 2011 at 9:09 am

Your cupcakes always look so pretty! I get frustrated and impatient with the frosting. These look great… especially the cream cheese frosting! :)
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14 Steph @ A Hungry Bookworm September 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

Those sound amazing, please excuse me while I clean the drool off of my keyboard. ;)
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15 Colleen @ Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill September 29, 2011 at 9:18 am

My apple cider-crazed siblings would love these! Maybe a thin apple slice would work well to make the cupcakes more festive? I totally agree though, sometimes simple is the best way to go!
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16 Sam September 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

I have apple cider in my fridge right now! I miiiight just have to make these! MORE FESTIVE?!?! geez. what more do they want than delicious cupcakes?!
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17 Emmarie @ Bananas And Beer September 29, 2011 at 9:35 am

Just added these ingredients to my shopping list for tonight. I’ll be bringing these to work tomorrow!! I LOVE apple cider. We gave it out as the favor at our wedding!!
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18 Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 29, 2011 at 9:38 am

I love the pic with the cupcake liner pulled down. It looks so good!! I want one!
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19 Ruthie Hart September 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

Courtney I think you should do a video on how to make cupcakes look so perfect! Seriously I’d love to know your secret!
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20 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles September 29, 2011 at 10:05 am

I think all year round is the time for apples!!! :) ….These cupcakes are truly my cup of tea!
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21 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts September 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

Salivating …
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22 Claire September 29, 2011 at 10:19 am

Yummy!! Those look great Courtney :-)

I also have gotten more into Apple because pumpkin was taking over!
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23 Melissa September 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

Ho-ly delicious! Those are definitely talking to me! :) Love that you healthified them, too!!
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24 Jess @ Jess Go Bananas September 29, 2011 at 10:27 am

I feel ya! I have been going pumpkin-crayzee as well! I balance it all out though with crisp apples! Mmmmm…Fall!
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25 Mallory @ It's Only Life September 29, 2011 at 10:31 am

i agree with the above-suggested video blog on how to frost cupcakes! would love to learn!
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26 elysie September 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

I hope your husband was the one that made the comment about looking more festive. From anyone else, it would have just been rude! They look fantastic to me!

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27 Molly September 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

the frosting on your cupcakes looks so pretty!
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28 Jess@atasteofconfidence September 29, 2011 at 10:44 am

Those look delicious!

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29 TheBloggersBrother September 29, 2011 at 10:44 am

Alright so, whatever plans you have for tonight, drop em, bring me a few of those cupcakes at bowling tonight :)

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30 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake September 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

These look amazing & I’ll definitely be trying them soon! I love recipes where I have most of the ingredients on hand already & this is definitely one of those!
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31 Candice September 29, 2011 at 11:05 am

Those cupcakes look profesh and delicious! I’m sitting in class right now being wonderfully distracted by your blog…I’m going to get called out soon because I’m sitting here smiling…and this lecture is not smile worthy! Happy Thursday!
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32 sarah@spinach and spice September 29, 2011 at 11:17 am

Those cupcakes are frosted to perfection! Love the flavors in this recipe :)
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33 Andrea @ Andrea out loud! September 29, 2011 at 11:37 am

Wow! Cant wait to try these!!
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34 Jackie @ That Deep Breath September 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm

These look delicious! Apple cider is one of my favorite Fall flavors. I may have to make these soon!!
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35 Tracy @ Tracy's Treats September 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Oh my goodness. These look incredible! Thanks for posting such a yummy fall recipe!! :-)
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36 Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection September 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

ohmygosh YUM!!! I actually like the apple part of Fall better than the pumpkin, and I definitely need to make these! Thanks for sharing, as usual :)
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37 Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life September 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm

These look amazing! My son loves apples and apple cider. I think he would love these!
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38 Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled September 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I love the flavor of apple cider and these look so good. I can picture eating them with a hot mug of apple cider on the side. Love fall!
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39 Sarah Jane September 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Courtney — how do you smooth on your frosting so amazingly evenly?? i am wondering if you pipe it on — it looks PERFECT! (i say this having worked at a bakery in high school).

I’ll also have you know that Pumpkin ice cream is my ABSOLUTE favorite flavor ever. SO glad you got to sample!
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40 e@thisnotedlife September 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

i feel like apple is totally stuck in pumpkins shadow… i LOVE apple

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41 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I’ve been loving on apples lately too!! Those cupcakes are too cute.
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42 Katie September 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I made something like this last year. I think it was apple cider buttercream instead of cream cheese. Still delicious and I think I will have to make again!

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43 Lindsay @ biking before bed September 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

The icing looks amazing. I want to make it and spread it on everything… Apple Cider Cheesecake oats anyone?
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44 Lexie @ This Aussie Eats September 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Ohhh you sure know how to take good photos and make a girl drool over her lunch break :-)

I would also love a vlog about ypur frosting teqchniques, they always look so perfect!
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45 Erica September 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm

i love apple cider! i think apples trump pumpkin in my book…(don’t hate me!)
i think i’m going to have to try this!
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46 Kelly @ Not So Rocky Road September 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Man do those look AMAZING! I just might make these for our Fall office party :)
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47 Hilliary@HappilyEverHealthy September 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Omg! These sound amazing!! I have been craving a cupcake!
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48 Sweet and Savvy September 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Oh boy do these look great! Apples are my favorite fall food . :)
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49 Brigitt September 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm

These look so yummy and so professional!! I’m going apple picking in two weeks and will definitely have to pick up some fresh apple cider so I can give these a try!!
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50 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun September 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Get in muh bellay! These look amazing.
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51 Lizzie September 29, 2011 at 10:23 pm

those look SO good! i love the whole idea of switching it up and using apple cider instead of pumpkin! nicely done!!
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52 Courtney September 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Mmm just being all inspired about apple (cider) and pumpkin and the fact that fall is HEEERE (gold organs sounding out in background)… what about switching out that apple cider frosting for pumpkin spiced frosting? Or vice versa, with pumpkin cupcakes/muffins and an apple-esque buttercream to top it off. Am I crazy (in love with fall) or am I crazy (in love with fall)?!

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53 Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats September 29, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Oh my goodness. I’m not usually a fan of apple baked goods but these sound wonderful! :)
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54 Shari @ The Daily Dish September 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

These sound and look awesome! Thanks for sharing. Definitely adding this to my list of things to bake this Fall. :)
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55 Laura@mypurposefullife September 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm

These pum (oh man I almost wrote pumpkin then decided it was too funny to delete, and figured you’d understand ;) ) cupcakes look SO good. I too am a pumpkin girl through and through (obviously), and I often forget about other delicious Fall treats: apples, pear, cranberries… but these look phenomenal. You better believe I will be making these :) Thanks for another great recipe!
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56 alex September 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I love using cake mixes and also boxed brownies…such a great base and then you can make them super tasty! great recipe!
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57 Kelly October 3, 2011 at 11:35 am

I made these as soon as I got home from work on Friday and they were a hit in my house. I brought 9 to work today out of 26 i made and they were gone before you could apple cider cupcakes! lol thanks for the wonderfully delicious recipe.

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58 Meg L. October 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I made these last night (no icing, ran out of conf. sugar)! They are really yummy! Also a helpful hint – since I forgot to buy applesauce I used canned pumpkin instead and they are still a fally-delicious treat! Yum! Thanks Court!

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59 cupcake is love and life December 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm

after reading , i guess your frosting is very rich-taste… i will try this,… ^_^ hardly can’t wait..
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60 Amanda October 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I loved this recipe and included it in an apple cider round up on my blog. Thanks for making and sharing this, it sounds fabulous! If you’d like to see the round up it’s here http://amandascookin.com/2012/10/30-apple-cider-recipes-for-fall.html

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61 Ihjaz Ahmad December 12, 2014 at 7:59 am

Oh my goodness, Apple Cider Cupcake looks delicious! I’m definitely making this! thanks for sharing!
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