I love that hard ciders have become so widely available recently. They're a perfect fall drink so of course I have to use that to create a perfect fall dessert! These Hard Apple Cider Cupcakes are easy to make and are the epitome of what fall should taste like! So grab your favorite craft cider and whip up these fabulous fall treats!
Why this recipe works
Cider is such a great fall flavor and pairs so nicely with so many other fall flavors. And there are so many different cider flavors that you can find a delicious hard cider for any time of year. The dry apple cider balances perfectly with the sweetness of the cupcake and the apple cider flavor really shines through in this recipe.
Ingredients and notes
Hard Apple Cider - This is, of course, the key flavor of these hard cider cupcakes. I've made this recipe with both Angry Orchard cider, and Downeast Cider which is a local cider here in the Boston area. You can use any hard apple cider, or a non-alcoholic cider, or you could even try this with a homemade hard apple cider. For this recipe, we really highlight the apple flavor so I have not tried this with any other flavors of ciders.
Applesauce - The applesauce in this cupcake recipe really enhances the apple flavor, and also helps make these super moist cupcakes.
How to make this recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine cider and melted butter, then stir in sugar. The mixture will look clumpy.
In a large bowl whisk together the applesauce, eggs, and vanilla, then slowly add the cider mixture.
Add flour and baking soda and mix until smooth.
Pour into liners and bake 18-22 minutes until golden brown.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and move to wire racks to cool completely.
Combine all the frosting ingredients and mix until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add more cider. If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, spread frosting on top and enjoy!
Adding alcohol to cupcakes adds a delicious flavor and also adds an extra kick. While some of the alcohol will bake out of boozy cupcakes, some will still remain. Plus, in this recipe, there is cider in the frosting too, so unless you use non-alcoholic cider, these are still adult cupcakes!
Hard cider is similar to beer. It's essentially fermented apple juice. The fermentation process is what creates the alcohol content, but since apples have less sugar than grapes, cider has a lower alcohol content than wine.
It's not likely. This recipe uses just one cup of cider in a dozen cupcakes. Considering that some of that alcohol bakes out, you'd have to eat a lot of alcohol-infused cupcakes to get drunk. A LOT.
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Hard Apple Cider Cupcakes
- 1 stick butter melted
- 1 cup hard apple cider
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 stick butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons hard apple cider
Optional Caramel Topping
- 10 caramels
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon hard apple cider
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or grease pan.
- Combine cider and butter. Stir in sugar. The mixture will look clumpy.
- In a large bowl combine applesauce, eggs, and vanilla.
- Slowly add the cider mixture. Add flour and baking soda and mix until smooth.
- Pour into liners and bake 18-22 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and move to wire racks to cool completely.
- Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add more cider. If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Spread icing on cupcakes once the cupcakes are fully cooled.
Optional Caramel Topping
- Heat caramels and heavy cream over med-low heat, stirring frequently until melted.
- Once melted, remove from heat and stir in cider. Drizzle caramel over cupcakes.
This post was updated in August 2021 with new photos, an updated recipe, and additional information about the recipe.