Apple Cider Cupcakes

I apologize for the images not being exactly what I usually photograph but life has gotten busy and I didn’t have the time to bake until later in the day and I ran out of sunlight while doing it. Either way these cupcakes came out scrumptious.
So my family was always big on going apple picking and pumpkin picking in the fall along with all of the lovely bonuses that includes. The one in particular that I could never ever get enough of was apple cider doughnuts. My mouth is watering just talking about them! Anyways, I was thinking of doing a cupcake flavored with cider for more apple celebration (and yet another fall obsessed flavor) when I stumbled upon this recipe for apple cider doughnut cake. So naturally I chose that one and adjusted it for cupcakes instead of bundt cake. On top of that I thought some honey cinnamon buttercream would be extra yummy points so I decided to make a half batch of it and do half with cinnamon sugar and half with buttercream frosting.
I had a friend ask if they were ‘muffin enough’ to eat for breakfast, but regardless what I thought that didn’t stop her from having one for breakfast anyways. That’s always a compliment to me!

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Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

9 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups (about 12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
3/4 cup (about 5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (about 3 1/2 ounces) packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill cupcake pan with paper tins.
In medium saucepan, bring chopped apple and cider to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until most of the cider has been absorbed and apples are easily smashed with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cool 5 minutes, then pulse in food processor until pureed. Measure out 1 cup apple mixture and stir in milk; set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and mace; set aside.
In large bowl, beat remaining 8 tablespoons butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add oil and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with apple mixture, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Increase speed to medium and beat mixture just until combined, about 20 seconds. Add vanilla and beat once more, just to combine, about 10 seconds.
Scrape batter into cupcake tins. Bake until cake tester inserted in cake comes out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool for a few minutes.

Cinnamon Sugar topping

6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle warm cupcakes with cinnamon sugar.

Honey Cinnamon Buttercream

1/2 C Butter, room temperature
3-3 1/2 C Confectioners’ Sugar
2 T Clover Honey
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
2-3 T Milk (or cream), as needed

Cream butter in mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add honey and cinnamon and mix until combined. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, and mix at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add more cream or sugar as necessary to achieve proper consistency. (Note: mind you that if you decided to do half and half like I did, make sure to make a half batch of frosting or you will have way too much left over!)

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