Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting.

Moist & flavorful apple spice cupcakes finished with a salted caramel frosting.

Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

It’s that time of year again. Apples, pumpkin, cinnamon spice, and everything nice seem to take over the kitchen. And there’s no way I’d rather have it. Try and try as I might, I really would like to convince you that non-chocolatey sweets are my dessert of choice. It’s true. My mom’s apple crisp, pumpkin pie, and gingersnap cookies are my absolute FAVORITE.

Oatmeal raisin cookies grab the spotlight over chocolate chip any day and you might as well just butterscotch my everything because an oatmeal scotchie is the bees knees in my world. I digress.

Today’s cupcakes are why I believe that sometimes less is truly more.  While they aren’t stuffed with chocolate mousse, crowned with any type of ganache, or adorned with candy bars, these modest cupcakes are quite certainly a new favorite. The cupcake itself is made with melted butter and brown sugar. Comforting flavors like nutmeg and cinnamon dot each bite with the perfect amount of fall spice.  The tiny pieces of tart Granny Smith apples hiding inside will melt in your mouth. They’re incredibly moist like banana bread, soft and fluffy like a muffin, rich and decadent like a chocolate cupcake.

The cupcakes pack enough flavor that you wouldn’t even need to adorn them with frosting.  They could truly stand on their own, but let’s not be silly.

Apples and caramel are a classic fall flavor combination and I baked today’s cupcakes as an excuse to make my Salted Caramel Frosting again. I know many of you have made it before and it’s truly one of my favorites.  It’s dangerously good. Luscious, satin-y, and combining the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

What I love most is how simple it is – (1) make salted caramel (2) stir in powdered sugar (3) stuff your face (4) check yourself in the mirror before walking out the door.  I may have skipped #4 and left the house with frosting on my nose, but whatever. Totally worth it.

Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting by

What I love most about today’s cupcakes is that there’s no mixer required! The cupcake batter and the frosting can be mixed together by hand.

One bite is all it will take to convince even the most die-hard summer spirit that the flavors of fall are here. And there’s no turning back. 😉

Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Yield: 14-16 cupcakes

Print Recipe

Moist & flavorful apple spice cupcakes finished with a salted caramel frosting.



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 2 small apples, peeled and finely chopped (I suggest Granny Smith)

Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups (240-360g) powdered sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes: Whisk the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla, whisking until combined. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until combined.  The batter will have a few lumps. Fold in the apple.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters of the way full with batter. Bake for 21–23 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool. With an electric mixer, beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency. I used 2 cups. Add a little cream or milk if you find the frosting too thick. Frost cooled cupcakes and adorn with store-bought caramel sauce and sprinkles, if desired.

Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.

Additional Notes:

*Recipe tested with skim milk and 1% milk. Almond milk, soy milk, 2% milk, and rice milk are all OK.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


What are your favorite fall recipes?  I’m a sucker for apple pies, apple crisps, and caramel apples. 🙂


Some of my favorite apple recipes include:

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Easy Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls, stuffed with brown sugar & apples and drenched in homemade caramel. Recipe by


Apple Butterscotch Magic Bars

Apple Butterscotch 7 Layer Magic Bars


Caramel Apple Brie Quesadillas

Caramel Apple Brie Quesadillas


Apple Spice Quinoa Granola

Apple Spice Quinoa Granola


Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie


Easy Caramel Apple Turnovers

Caramel Apple Turnovers


See all apple recipes.




93 Responses to “Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting.”

  1. #
    Emilyposted September 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Hi Sally. I’m helping out at a friend’s baby shower, and I want to bring these cupcakes. I did a trial run this evening, and they tasted great. But, I have a couple questions if you have time. First, if the frosting gets too thick is it okay to add more heavy cream? Next question; I believe my cupcakes were not very moist. I’m assuming they’re supposed to be moist. I’m think I may have over-baked them or maybe over-mixed? Any thoughts? Thanks, and I love your recipes!!


    • Sallyreplied on September 3rd, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Hi Emily! Yep, feel free to add more cream to the frosting. I fear the cupcakes were over baked. Keep your eye on them. Careful measuring your flour – do not overmeasure. And perhaps try using buttermilk instead of any other milks. It makes creates a moist texture.


      • Emilyreplied on September 3rd, 2014 at 8:19 pm

        Thanks, Sally! I think I agree with you about the over-baking. I baked it less than 20 minutes. However, I’ll keep a closer eye on them for the baby shower!

  2. #
    Julissaposted October 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Hello! I’ve made this recipe twice already and people think they are amazing! The only problem that I’ve had was the frosting. It comes out too thick and it crumbles a lot. People said it was too think and not very frosting like. What am I doing wrong? Or how can I fix it? Thank you for this delicious recipe!


    • Sallyreplied on October 20th, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Hi Julissa. A great way to thin out the frosting is to add a little cream or milk when you add the powdered sugar. This frosting is supposed to be very thick, not really light and fluffy like buttercream or other frostings.


  3. #
    Melanieposted March 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Hello Sally!! This recipe looks delish and I’m going to try making it tonight. But I have one question: is the salted caramel frosting pipeable? Can I use a Wilton 1M tip to pipe it?


    • Melaniereplied on March 12th, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Also- I made your s’mores cupcakes for a baby shower I was hosting yesterday. Everybody LOVED them! I love your recipes and am planning to give the apple spice cupcakes ago after the s’mores ones were a hit! Thank you for bringing yumminess into our lives :D:D


    • Sallyreplied on March 12th, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      I piped the frosting here with a Wilton 12 tip, but I wouldn’t try a swirl tip. It won’t hold the shape. Let me know how you like them!


      • Melaniereplied on March 14th, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        They turned out delicious 🙂 I got so excited about all these yummy flavors that I bought your cookbook! I was happy to see they sell it on Amazon Europe!! Thanks again for all these yummy recipes!

  4. #
    Marissaposted September 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

    HI Sally!  I’m so excited to make these for our party tomorrow. How ‘finely’ chopped should the apples be? Smaller than a fingernail size? Thanks!


    • Sallyreplied on September 25th, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      Fingernail size is perfect Marissa. Enjoy the cupcakes!


  5. #
    Natalieposted October 15, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Can I replace the heavy cream with fresh milk for the frosting? 


    • Sallyreplied on October 15th, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Heavy cream is a must for the caramel.


  6. #
    Gemmaposted March 1, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Sally,
    Love all your recipes and have made these before but would like to turn it into a double layer birthday cake- do you think just to double quantities? 


    • Sallyreplied on March 2nd, 2016 at 5:32 am

      Gemma, I would make two separate batters instead of doubling. Working with less batter heads decrease the risk of overmixing. Unsure of the bake time for the layers in a cake. But it will be delicious!


      • Gemmareplied on March 2nd, 2016 at 7:05 am

        Thanks for the reply! Can’t wait to give it a try- the cupcakes always go down so well anyway!

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