There is no better way to kick off or enjoy cozy season than with a freshly baked batch of these Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes. This recipe not only captures the essence of the season but does so with flair! Brace yourself for a dessert that combines the sweet, fruity goodness of apples with the warm, aromatic spice of cinnamon, all crowned with a luscious cinnamon swirl frosting that’s sure to satisfy. Whether you’re big into fall or not, these cupcakes are destined to become a seasonal (or even year-round!) favorite that everyone can enjoy. Let’s shimmy into the kitchen and start filling our homes with the best smells of autumn!
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Ingredients Needed for Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
You’ll need the following ingredients to make these awesome Fall cupcakes! Here is your grocery list:
- Apple Cider (1 cup): Apple cider is the secret ingredient that infuses these cupcakes with a rich, natural apple flavor. It adds moisture and a hint of tartness, creating a delectable apple essence that complements the spice in the cupcakes.
- All-Purpose Flour (2 cups): All-purpose flour serves as the foundation of the cupcakes, providing structure and helping them rise while baking. It ensures the cupcakes have a tender crumb texture.
- Sugar (1 cup): Sugar sweetens the cupcakes and plays a crucial role in their texture. It caramelizes slightly during baking, enhancing the overall flavor and creating a golden brown crust.
- Baking Powder (1 tsp) and Baking Soda (1/2 tsp): These leavening agents work together to make the cupcakes light and fluffy. Baking powder provides an initial lift, while baking soda helps with browning and further rising.
- Salt (1 tsp): Salt enhances the flavors in the cupcakes, balancing the sweetness and intensifying the cinnamon and apple notes.
- Cinnamon (1 tsp), Ginger (1/2 tsp), Nutmeg (1/4 tsp), Cloves (1/4 tsp): This combination of spices embodies the warm, comforting flavors of fall. Cinnamon adds a sweet and earthy note, ginger contributes a subtle warmth, nutmeg adds depth, and cloves provide a hint of spiciness. Together, they create a harmonious blend that complements the apples beautifully.
- Applesauce (1 cup): Applesauce serves a dual purpose in this recipe. It imparts even more apple flavor and moisture to the cupcakes while acting as a vegan-friendly egg substitute, helping bind the ingredients together.
- Non-Dairy Milk (1/2 cup): Non-dairy milk, such as almond, soy, or oat milk, adds moisture to the batter and ensures the cupcakes remain tender and moist without the need for dairy.
- Canola Oil (1/4 cup): Canola oil contributes to the cupcakes’ moistness and soft texture, making them indulgently rich without the use of butter.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tsp): Apple cider vinegar reacts with the baking soda to create carbon dioxide gas, which aids in the cupcakes’ rise and lightness. It also balances the sweetness and acidity of the batter.
- Vanilla Extract (2 tsp): Vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor profile, adding a sweet and aromatic note that complements the apple and spice flavors, making the cupcakes more well-rounded and irresistible.
Vegan Cinnamon Buttercream Ingredients
To make your own, homemade buttercream you will need the following to be accessible to you:
- Non-Hydrogenated Shortening (1 cup): Non-hydrogenated shortening is a key ingredient in vegan buttercream frosting because it provides stability and a smooth, creamy texture. It replaces traditional butter and ensures that the frosting holds its shape and doesn’t become too soft at room temperature.
- Vegan Butter (1/4 cup): Vegan butter adds a rich, buttery flavor to the frosting without using dairy products. It also contributes to the frosting’s creamy consistency and helps balance the flavors.
- Powdered Sugar (3 cups): Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar, is the primary sweetener and thickener in buttercream frosting. It creates a smooth, sweet texture and holds the frosting together while providing the desired sweetness.
- Non-Dairy Milk (1 tablespoon): Non-dairy milk, such as almond, soy, or oat milk, is used to adjust the frosting’s consistency. It can make the frosting creamier if it’s too thick or help thin it out slightly if needed.
- Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon): Vanilla extract adds a delightful and aromatic vanilla flavor to the frosting, enhancing its overall taste and aroma.
- Cinnamon (1 teaspoon): Cinnamon is the star of the show in this recipe, providing a warm and cozy flavor that complements the sweet frosting beautifully. It infuses the frosting with that classic cinnamon taste, making it perfect for pairing with autumn-themed desserts like apple cinnamon cupcakes.
- Pinch of Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the overall flavor profile of the frosting by balancing the sweetness and bringing out the cinnamon’s warmth. It adds depth and complexity to the taste.
Steps to Make Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes (with pictures!)
- Reduce the Apple Cider: You’ll start by reducing your apple cider by half. This will ensure that the water evaporates from the juice and you are left with potent, apple spice flavor.
- Make the Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the reduced apple cider and the remainder of the wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Bake: Grab your prepared cupcake pan and fill each paper liner about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. Place pan on center rack of preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean with only a few crumbs clinging to it.
- Make the Frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the non-hydrogenated shortening and vegan butter with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Sift in powdered sugar and add nondairy milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt to the bowl. Continue to beat until frosting comes together.
- Assemble: You can add frosting the your cupcakes using a a piping bag and piping tips or simply spread it on using an offset spatula. Stick 1/2 of an apple slice into the top of each of the cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve.
Tips for Making Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
- Get Ahead: If you want to get ahead of the curve, reduce your apple cider ahead of time. Allow it to cool on the stove for a while before transferring to an airtight container and placing it in the fridge. It can be stored this way for a couple days.
- Use Unsweetened Applesauce: Ensure your applesauce is unsweetened to control the sweetness of the cupcakes. It also adds moisture and natural apple flavor.
- Mix Ingredients Gradually: When combining wet and dry ingredients, mix them together gradually and avoid overmixing. Overmixing can result in dense cupcakes.
- Line Cupcake Pans: Use cupcake liners to prevent the cupcakes from sticking to the pan and to make for easy cleanup.
- Evenly Fill Cupcake Liners: Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 to 3/4 full to allow room for rising without overflowing.
- Bake at the Right Temperature: Preheat your oven to the correct temperature (usually 350°F or as specified in your recipe) and bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Avoid opening the oven door too often to maintain consistent heat.
- Cool Thoroughly: Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. This prevents them from becoming soggy.
- Decorate Creatively: Once the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe or spread the cinnamon buttercream frosting on top. Get creative with your decorations, using extra cinnamon, apple slices, or a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar for added flair.
Why to Reduce Apple Cider in Baking
Reducing apple cider is a technique that enhances its flavor, sweetness, and consistency, making it a valuable ingredient in baking that adds a delightful apple essence to your recipes while ensuring your baked goods turn out just right.
Here are some of the benefits of cider reduction:
- Intensified Flavor: Reducing apple cider concentrates its natural flavors, creating a more robust and intense apple taste. This enhanced flavor can elevate your baked goods and make them taste more authentically apple-like.
- Sweetness: As apple cider reduces, its sugars become more concentrated. This added sweetness can complement the sweetness of your baked goods, reducing the need for extra sugar in the recipe or enhancing the overall sweetness profile.
- Thicker Consistency: Reducing apple cider thickens it, which can be beneficial in recipes. The thicker consistency helps prevent excess moisture in your baked goods, ensuring they maintain the right texture and structure.
- Balanced Moisture: By reducing the liquid content of apple cider, you can add the concentrated flavor without adding too much moisture to your recipes. Excessive moisture can lead to soggy or undercooked baked goods.
- Improved Shelf Life: Reducing apple cider can extend its shelf life, allowing you to prepare and store it for future use in baking. This can be particularly useful if you want to incorporate apple flavor into recipes year-round, even when fresh apples are not in season.
- Versatility: Reduced apple cider, often referred to as “apple cider reduction” or “apple cider syrup,” can be used as a versatile ingredient in various recipes beyond baking, including salad dressings, glazes for meats, or drizzled over pancakes and waffles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of non-dairy milk is best for this recipe?
You can use any non-dairy milk you prefer, such as almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk. Choose one that complements the flavors of apple and cinnamon or one that you enjoy the taste of.
Can I make the frosting in advance and store it?
Yes, you can prepare the vegan cinnamon buttercream frosting in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature and give it a quick whip to restore its creamy texture before frosting the cupcakes.
How do I prevent the cupcakes from becoming dry or dense?
To prevent dry or dense cupcakes, be careful not to over-mix the batter. Mix wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Also, don’t over-bake the cupcakes. Remove them from the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Can I use a different frosting for vegan apple cinnamon cupcakes?
Absolutely! While the recipe includes a vegan cinnamon buttercream frosting, you can use any vegan frosting you like! These could include a cream cheese frosting, maple glaze, or a simple dusting of powdered sugar, based on your preferences.
How to Serve/Store Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
Serving Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
The key to serving vegan apple cinnamon cupcakes is to make them look and taste irresistible while accommodating dietary preferences. As this recipe is amazing, this shouldn’t be too hard! Here are a few additional tips and ideas:
- Cool Completely: Ensure that the cupcakes have cooled completely before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and ensures the frosting has set properly.
- Frosting: If you’ve prepared a vegan cinnamon buttercream frosting (or any other frosting of your choice), pipe or spread it generously on top of each cupcake. This not only adds flavor but also makes them visually appealing.
- Decorate: Consider decorating the cupcakes to make them even more inviting. You can sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top of the frosting for an extra burst of flavor. Garnish with thin apple slices, a dusting of powdered sugar, or a drizzle of caramel sauce for added flair.
- Serve on a Platter: Arrange the decorated cupcakes on a beautiful serving platter or cake stand. This elevates their presentation and makes them look even more appetizing.
- Accompaniments: Vegan apple cinnamon cupcakes pair wonderfully with a variety of accompaniments. You can serve them with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream or a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream for a decadent treat. Alternatively, a hot cup of tea, coffee, or warm apple cider complements the cupcakes perfectly.
Storing Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
Properly storing vegan apple cinnamon cupcakes ensures they stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before storing them. This prevents condensation from forming inside the storage container. Select an airtight container that is large enough to accommodate all the cupcakes without them touching or getting squished.
If you plan to consume the cupcakes within 1-2 days, you can store them at room temperature in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. You can also store them in the refrigerator if you hope to get another day or two out of them.
If you want to store the cupcakes for an extended period, freezing is your best option. Wrap each unfrosted cupcake individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Place the wrapped cupcakes in an airtight container or a freezer-safe resealable bag. They can be frozen for up to a month.
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Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
These cupcakes feature a moist, apple cider-infused cupcake base, perfectly spiced and topped with a creamy cinnamon buttercream frosting. A hand-held dessert that captures the essence of autumn in every bite!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Bake Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 16 Cupcakes 1x
- Category: Cakes and Cupcakes
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
For the Cupcakes
1 c apple cider
2 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 c applesauce
1/2 c nondairy milk
1/4 c canola oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Frosting
1/4 c vegan butter
3 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 apple, sliced (for garnish)
- Reduce the Apple Cider: Pour apple cider into a small saucepan and heat on the stove over medium. Bring the cider to a boil and allow it to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until it has reduced by half. You should only have about 1/2 a cup remaining. Set aside to cool completely. You can place it in the refrigerator to speed up this process if desired.
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners. Set aside.
- Make the Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the reduced apple cider, applesauce, nondairy milk, canola oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Bake: Grab your prepared cupcake pan and fill each paper liner about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. Do not over-fill. You will have enough leftover batter for about 4 additional cupcakes in the next batch. Place pan on center rack of preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean with only a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the Frosting: Begin to prepare the cupcakes while the frosting is cooling. In a large bowl, beat together the non-hydrogenated shortening and vegan butter with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Sift in powdered sugar and add nondairy milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt to the bowl. Continue to beat until frosting comes together.
- Assemble: Once cupcakes have completely cooled it is time to frost! You can add frosting the your cupcakes using a a piping bag and piping tips or simply spread it on using an offset spatula. Stick 1/2 of an apple slice into the top of each of the cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve.
*Frosted cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to a month.
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