Apple Cider Cupcakes that are gluten free and vegan! Light and fluffy and topped with delicious maple buttercream frosting, these cupcakes are a perfect fall treat!
Cupcakes are one of my favorite things to make, and these apple cider cupcakes are perfect for autumn. Light and fluffy and filled with the most delicious apple flavor thanks to the crisp apple cider in the batter.
And let’s talk about frosting. This buttercream is made with maple syrup, which if you haven’t tried it before you will love! Not to mention the buttercream is also dairy free!
These cupcakes are a holiday dessert game changer! Make them for Thanksgiving or any other fall festivities you have planned … or just make them to enjoy!
How to Make Apple Cider Cupcakes
Begin with prepping your oven by heating it to 350F. Line a muffin tin with parchment paper cups or lightly spray with a neutral flavored oil. Set them aside.
In a large bowl with your hand mixer, or in your stand mixer, begin with whipping together the butter, white, and brown sugar. You can use dairy butter or plant-based butter. My personal favorite is the soy free from Earth Balance. It comes in a tub but just scoop it out. I find this has the best non-dairy butter flavor in baked goods.
After the butter and sugar are light and fluffy (about 4 minutes mixing) add your vanilla, eggs, and apple cider. This might look a little funny as you mix it up. That’s because the apple cider is so tart and acidic that sometimes it can react with non-dairy butter. Just keep mixing and it will all work out in the end, I promise.
Now add the cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Give it a quick mix before adding your gluten free flour. My personal favorite is a blend that I mixed up myself, which you can read here: DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend. What I love about it is the mild flavor and the fact it contains no funky ingredients or nightshades. It blends perfectly into these cupcakes!
After the cupcake batter has come together, give it a sniff. You want it to smell like apples and cinnamon. If you want it extra sassy, add a few more dashes of cinnamon.
Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Gluten free things tend not to rise as much as non-gluten free things. If you get more than 12 cupcakes (and this batter usually makes me about 15) feel free to bake both trays at the same time. Just note that you’ll pull the one with 3 cupcakes out a minute or two before the other tray. But no need to bake them separate.
Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before frosting! I like to remove my cupcakes from the hot tray after about 3 minutes so that they don’t overcook in the tray.
How to Make Maple Butercream Frosting
For making the maple buttercream frosting, nothing could be simpler. First, I start by using a helping hand in Kate’s Safe and Sweet Frosting Mix. This simplifies the entire process down to just a few ingredients and 2 steps, something that I love!
Begin by mixing in a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer your butter and vegetable shortening.
Why do I use vegetable shortening in frosting? Shortening does a few things that butter doesn’t in a recipe. First, it prevents the buttercream from getting too difficult to work with in that it has a higher melting point than butter. No more runny frosting!
The other reason I like using vegetable shortening is that it has a different fat ratio than butter. It has more fat and more fat means more flavor.
However, you don’t have to mix both butter and shortening in your frosting mix. You can stick with just all butter or all shortening! Both make amazing frosting to top your cakes and cupcakes!
After you mix your butter and shortening together for about 4 minutes to get it light and airy, add in your maple syrup, dash of cinnamon, and frosting pack. Starting on low speed, slowly incorporate the ingredients. When they have come together, ramp up the mixing speed and whip on high for about 4 more minutes or until the frosting looks light and fluffy!
Transfer to a piping bag and top your cupcakes! Or just take a spoonful and generously spread on top. No matter how you frost your cake, it will be delicious.
To make it dairy free: Use your favorite dairy free plant based butter in both the cake and the frosting. I like soy free Earth Balance for texture and flavor. For the frosting, you can skip the butter altogether and go right for shortening only.
To make it egg free: To make the cupcakes egg free, swap out the chicken eggs for 1 flax seed eggs. A flax seed egg is made by combining 1 tablespoons of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of almost boiling water. Mix and set aside for 5 minutes or until gelatinous. The batter will be slightly more runny and the final cupcake will have a denser texture when made with a flax egg but should not require longer baking time.
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Apple Cider Cupcakes (gluten free + vegan)
Apple Cider Cupcakes
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter (plant-based of choice)
- 2 eggs (or 1 flax egg, see note)
- 3/4 cup fresh apple cider
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cup gluten free flour
Maple Buttercream Frosting
- 1 pack Kate's Safe and Sweet Frosting in Vanilla
- 1/2 cup butter (plant-based)
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
- dash cinnamon
Apple Cider Cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Make sure the oven rack is set to the middle of the oven. Line or lightly spray muffin tin. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter until light and fluffy.
- Add your eggs and vanilla. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly incorporate the apple cider. Mix until combined.
- Now add the baking powder and cinnamon before adding the flour. Mix well until no lumps remain.
- Fill cupcakes 3/4 of the way full, making sure not to over fill. Place in the oven for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center pulls out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.
Maple Buttercream Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl with your hand mixer, or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together your butter and vegetable shortening until light and fluffy. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, and the contents of the vanilla frosting pack. Whisk on high for 4 minutes or until fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag and frost cupcakes.
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