Spice Cupcakes with Apple Pie Filling and Cinnamon Buttercream

Spice Cupcakes

I needed a dessert other than pie to make for Thanksgiving. I was originally going to make a spice cake, but I opted for cupcakes because they’re easier to distribute (and grab and go). This recipe uses a boxed spice cake mix as the base to save a few steps, but I disregard all of the preparation instructions on the box. They turned out great, though the buttercream was very sweet. These would also be good with a cream cheese frosting if you want something with a bit less sweetness.

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Makes 24 cupcakes.



  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2-3 apples (I used honey crisp)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter

Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups + 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients for the cake into a large mixer bowl. Mix using a stand mixer or hand mixer until ingredients are well-combined.

Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Transfer batter to cupcake tin, filling each cup between half and two-thirds of the way. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the filling. Peel and dice apples (small dice) and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir to coat.

Preheat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter in the pan, then add apples. Stir frequently so the sugar doesn’t burn. Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Continue to stir fairly frequently. Once the apples begin to soften, remove from heat. Place the filling in the refrigerator or freezer to cool down. (Recommend transferring to a Tupperware container before transferring to fridge. Getting them out of the pan will cool them faster.)

To make the buttercream, cream the butter with a mixer until it’s a smooth, even consistency. Add the powdered sugar gradually, continuing to beat until incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on a medium-high speed for about a minute. Cover the buttercream tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Once the cupcakes are out of the oven and have cooled completely (and the filling has also come to at least room temperature), use an apple corer to remove the center and make space for the filling. Add the filling to a piping bag and fill each cupcake. Frost with the buttercream.

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