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apple spice cupcakes

Apple Spice Cupcakes With Praline Filling and Brown Sugar Frosting

  • Author: Amanda McGrory-Dixon
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: About 24-26 cupcakes


These apple spice cupcakes with praline filing and brown sugar frosting are the perfect fall dessert. Everyone who tries them instantly falls in love.


For Praline Sauce
See recipe here or use store-bought

For Apple Spice Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup salted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs, room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 cups apples, peeled and grated
1 cup pecans, chopped

For Brown Sugar Frosting
2 cups butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla bean extract or paste
2 pounds powdered sugar, about 7 1/2 to 8 cups
1/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Prepare the praline sauce. Take care of this step first to give the sauce time to thicken. You can even make the sauce a few days ahead of time.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in muffin pan. Bonus points for festive fall-themed liners. 
  3. For the cupcakes, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. Melt butter over medium heat until it turns a golden brown. Whisk occasionally. Remove from heat. 
  5. Whisk together the brown butter, white and brown sugars, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, maple extract and applesauce until combined. When adding the brown butter, use a spatula to get all those brown bits.
  6. Spoon about a 1/4 cup of dry ingredients into the batter and mix to fully blend. Repeat this process until you mix in all the dry ingredients. Stir in grated apples and chopped pecans. 
  7. Spoon the batter into the muffin liners. Fill about half way to two-thirds the way up the liners. Bake for 18 minutes. Insert a toothpick into a cupcake. If it comes out clean, remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  
  8. For the frosting, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the dark brown sugar, molasses and vanilla extract. Beat until the dark brown sugar is incorporated.
  9. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream as needed. 
  10. Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, beat for a couple additional minutes.
  11. To finish the cupcakes, cut a hole in the middle of the cupcakes and spoon in a dollop of praline sauce. Finish by either piping icing onto the cupcake or spreading it on with a knife. Enjoy!


  • About four or five apples should be enough to grate 2 cups. I like to use half Honeycrisp and half Granny Smith apples. You can use a box grater to grate the apples.
  • The frosting recipe makes enough to pipe on cupcakes. If you plan to spread frosting on using a knife instead, you can cut the frosting recipe in half.
  • Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 430
  • Sugar: 56
  • Sodium: 231
  • Fat: 17
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 68
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 24

Keywords: apple spice, apple, apple cupcakes, praline sauce, brown sugar frosting