Hard Apple Cider Cupcakes

Recipes » Cakes + Cupcakes » Hard Apple Cider Cupcakes

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!

top down view showing 4 hard apple cider cupcakes on a brown wooden surface. To the left of the wooden surface is a blue linen, and to the left of that is a white surface.

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 Cupcake Ingredients

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

Cupcakes

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Step 2

In a small bowl, combine cider and melted butter, then stir in sugar. The mixture will look clumpy.

Step 3

In a large bowl whisk together the applesauce, eggs, and vanilla, then slowly add the cider mixture.

Step 4

Add flour and baking soda and mix until smooth.

Step 5

Pour into liners and bake 18-22 minutes until golden brown.

Step 6

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and move to wire racks to cool completely.

Frosting

Step 7

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.

Step 8

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, spread frosting on top and enjoy!

Angled close up view of Hard Apple Cider Cupcakes on a wooden surface with a blue linen to the left of the cupcakes

Recipe FAQs

What happens when you add alcohol to cupcakes?

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!

What alcohol is in hard cider?

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.

Do boozy cupcakes get you drunk?

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.

Side view of hard cider cupcakes on a wooden surface with a blue linen to the left of the cupcakes

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Hard Apple Cider Cupcakes

Delicious cupcakes flavored with hard apple cider.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: boozy, easy, quick
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1 cup hard apple cider
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

Icing

  • 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

Instructions

Cupcakes

  • 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.

Frosting

  • 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.

Notes

Ensure cupcakes are fully cooled before frosting.
For a little something extra, add a sprinkle of sea salt to make the caramel sauce into a salted caramel sauce.

This post was updated in August 2021 with new photos, an updated recipe, and additional information about the recipe.

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