What’s more American than apple pie? (Other than baseball of course, Go Giants!)

Nothing! That’s why, for our all-American themed book club meeting to discuss Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, I had to find a way to make an apple pie cupcake. Some quick googling turned up these adorable creations from Annie’s Eats and I was inspired. I had to take them one stop further, so I combined them with this tasty sounding apple spice cupcake recipe. Together, they were nothing short of apple pie overload and 100% patriotic deliciousness.

Apple Pie Overload Finished Product

American Apple Pie Overload Cupcakes with Light Vanilla Buttercream

Cooking Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: About 24 Regular Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce, unsweetened (exactly 2 individual servings cups)

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced (Note: The original recipe called for 3 apples. I found 2 was PLENTY, but it’s your call.)

*Homemade Apple Pie Spice
Who needs to pay for ANOTHER spice that is made up of the ones you already have? Found this recipe over at BakingBites.com.

In a ziploc baggie or other small container, combine:

  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 with the rack in the middle.  Line a standard cupcake pan with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, apple pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.

The Dry Ingredients

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the room temperature butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and splash in the applesauce. Whatever you do, don’t think about how gross this looks right now.

The Wet Ingredients

Add the flour mixture in thirds and beat until just combined. Adding the dry ingredients in small batches prevents flour from flying all over your kitchen, and frankly I’m a messy enough baker as it is.

The Batter

Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarter full (as always, I recommend an ice scream scoop here). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 2-3 minutes in the cupcake pan and then remove them to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, it is time to make the filling. If you were short on time you could use store-bought apple pie filling, but I encourage you to try making your own – it’s so easy!

Heat the butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Once melted, add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble and look like a paste.  Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples.

The Apples

Mix well. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on how small your apple chunks are. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Once the cupcakes and the filling are cool, use a small knife to hollow out the cupcakes. Start around the edge of the cupcakes, angling the knife in towards the middle and cut out a small cone shape. Reserve the cones for making cake pops (if you don’t eat them first). Spoon in a generous amount of apple filling.

The Filling

Light Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
This is a basic buttercream frosting that I use for a lot of different purposes. The basic ingredients stay the same, just add flavorings or modify to your tastes. And when I say light, I mean in texture, not in fat content. Cupcakes are no place to be counting calories!

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla and then slowly beat in the powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. I wanted the frosting for the Apple Pie Overload Cupcakes to resemble Cool Whip, so I kept mine slightly thinner than normal.

This frosting is also great for taking on the go: take a sturdy ziploc baggie (the freezer ones work nicely) and fill it with the frosting. Store it in the fridge and bring it with you when you take the cupcakes. When you are ready to frost, just cut a small slice of the corner of the ziploc baggie with some scissors and – voila! – an instant piping bag.

The Frosting

And there you have it – delicious American Apple Pie Overload Cupcakes with Light Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. They’re sure to be a hit at your next Americana event or anytime you need a recipe to get rid of surplus apples.