A soft, melt in your mouth, apple cider cinnamon cake is filled with an apple cider cranberry sauce, topped with a swirl of cinnamon cream cheese frosting and adorned with cinnamon sugar pie crust leaves and apple cider syrup.
Keeping this recipe from you has been agony!
Spiced Apple Cider Cranberry Cupcakes. It’s the Holidays in a cupcake!
I know. Lots going on here, but I promise the flavors come together perfectly. Cinnamon and apple cider are common themes in each component with a splash of cranberries thrown in for spice and tartness!
The cake is made with 100% brown sugar, which makes it delightfully moist and amplifies the cinnamon and apple cider flavors. It is soft with a delicate crumb but it is not light and fluffy, because if you’ve hung around here a while, you know that I like my cupcakes more dense than airy. That is just how I do.
The cranberry apple cider filling is my Spiced Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce and it is packed with fresh cranberries, apple cider, and apples, and seasoned with star anise, cinnamon and cardamom. It’s spoon-lickin’ good. The tartness of the filling nicely compliments the cake and frosting.
Speaking of the frosting, I used my favorite cinnamon cream cheese butter cream, and it is sensational. For these cupcakes I whipped it up to make it a bit lighter than in previous recipes because I planned to pipe the frosting on the cakes and nobody wants a mound of dense frosting. It’s all about the balance!
And, because I just couldn’t leave the apple cider flavor well enough alone, I boiled a cup of apple cider down to about 2 tablespoons and drizzled it over the top. Sooooo goooood!
And those sugared pie leaves? They almost stole the show. Crispy, sugary and buttery.
Would it be enough to simply sprinkle the pie crust leaves with cinnamon sugar? No. No it would not.
So I rolled the pie crust out in sugar and then topped it with more cinnamon sugar. The sugar on the bottom caramelizes and gets all nice and crunchy. I suggest you make extra to serve with the cupcakes because they are addicting and one will not be enough!
I know this is overwhelming. It’s a whole lot of awesome to take in all at once.
So for your next Holiday Party give the cookies a break and bring these Apple Cider Cranberry Cupcakes…it’ll be legendary.
If you were one of the two people who guessed “cupcakes” in this post, then you are awesome and you have won the satisfaction of knowing that you were right. 🙂
Ps- The little pie crust leaves are actually the second crust from the recipe that I wasn’t pleased with here. While I wasn’t a fan in that particular recipe, here it worked rather well. Buuuut I tossed out what I did because I didn’t like it. So I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Bring on the Holiday Cheer with Cupcakes!