Fall Spice Cupcakes

fall spice cupcakesDespite what retailers would have you believe, it’s still fall. And we have a lovely holiday – Thanksgiving – to celebrate this week. I get that Christmas can be a magical time of year for people, and most folks (even those who hate winter) get excited for the holidays, seeing family, spending time with friends, having special foods and whatnot. But when I heard Christmas music while out shopping this past weekend, I thought: not today, Santa. Not. Today.

Perhaps in response to the premature Christmasification of things, I baked these fall spice cupcakes, a warming combination of cinnamon, cloves, maple syrup, and applesauce. I found the recipe over at The Live-in Kitchen and cut it down to make a smaller batch, and I decided on a maple buttercream frosting instead of the original cream cheese one in the recipe. These treats are bound for my friend Diana, who is a fantastic baker herself and one of the few people who ever actually bakes for me.


For the cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature

For the frosting

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners; my recipe yielded 10 cupcakes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and cloves; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup and egg and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and applesauce alternatively in two batches, mixing to just combine.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into cupcake wells, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove cupcakes from tin; cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

To make frosting, beat butter on medium speed for about 1 minute; add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter. Add maple syrup to taste, as well as 1 tablespoon milk to reach a spreadable consistency. Frost cupcakes using an offset spatula; store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, or in the fridge for 2-3 days. The tops of these cupcakes get kind of sticky, so a cooler environment is best. Makes 10.