Cupcakes, Desserts, Recipes

Cupcake Day: Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream

Sweet spiced apple cupcakes paired with a tart cranberry buttercream. Two fall flavors in one mini cupcake bite! With just a few special ingredients you can have some extraordinary cupcakes!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream |

Before I forget… go say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my baby sister. 🙂 How convenient that I’m posting a cupcake recipe today, huh? Here we are 25 years ago! Aww.

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream |

The best things come in small packages, I think [see above?!], and mini cupcakes and muffins are no exception. They’re pretty much my favorite things ever! I hadn’t made mini cupcakes in wayyy too long, so when Coleen of The Redhead Baker announced her celebration of cupcakes this fall, I KNEW mini cupcakes would be my contribution. And after much deliberation, I decided to make apple cupcakes. But what to top them with?

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream |

One of my Nashville friends has her own baking business and recently brought some sample cupcakes to our Bible study. She topped her apple cupcakes with a salted caramel buttercream, which was delicious, but I didn’t want to be a copycat. 🙂 Cinnamon buttercream also sounded good too, but then my favorite applesauce variation came to mind. Ben and I love swirling cranberry sauce into homemade applesauce, so I thought a nice tart cranberry buttercream may be the way to go. And ohhh my–it is!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream |

Multiple strong, overly sweet flavors don’t always work for cupcakes in my book. So I like to keep either the cake or the frosting on the simple side, and really play up the other. The cake portion of these cupcakes are just a subtle, spiced apple flavor. I grated the apples to add some texture and fresh apple. I normally love small chunks of apple in cake and muffins, but the grated texture works better in mini cupcakes, imo. Then the frosting. Ohhh the frosting!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream |

The cranberry buttercream is stunning, isn’t it? It’s naturally that bright, bold shade of pink, and each bite is better than the last. This buttercream is sweet, with a fantastic cranberry-y tart aftertaste. Good thing this recipe makes a ton of buttercream… enough to keep in your fridge for a late night snack. 🙂 Seeing these pink seasonal cupcakes just makes me so happy! I wish I could bring some to share with you in real life today. Enjoy!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream |

Thanks for organizing this celebration of cupcakes, Coleen! Be sure to scroll down below the recipe to see lots of yummy cupcake recipes. Have a great Monday!!

four years ago: Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream

  • Servings: 32 mini cupcakes
  • Print


for apple cupcakes from Chow

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded apples [2 medium Gala apples]
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour [156 1/4 grams]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 3 ounces buttermilk, room temperature

for cranberry buttercream from Baker By Nature

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Begin by shredding the apples with a box grater or food processor. Then press apples through a fine mesh sieve to drain as much juice out as possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. With a mixer, beat butter for 2 minutes until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat for another two minutes. Add egg and buttermilk, then beat for another minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Then, fold in apples.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling just below the top of the cup.

Bake for 14-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool completely before frosting.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare buttercream. Begin by placing cranberries and lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cranberries pop and can be mashed easily. Mixture will look like a thick cranberry jam. Remove from heat, and working in batches, press mixture through a fine mesh sieve to separate the puree from the seeds/skin. This may be time consuming but is worth it. Cover and refrigerate puree to chill.

When ready to frost cupcakes, beat butter on medium-high for 2 minutes, until very smooth. Add in cold cranberry puree and beat for another minute until fully combined. Add powdered sugar, cup by cup and beat until desired thickness is achieved. I used about 4 cups. Stir in vanilla, then pipe or frost as desired.

Pssst! Look at all these other delicious cupcake recipes that my friends made for Cupcake Day! Mmm!


52 thoughts on “Cupcake Day: Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream”

  1. These cupcakes sound absolutely amazing. And cranberry and apple are a great combination (I’ve got a cranberry applesauce posting tomorrow morning!). The color of that frosting is incredible too.


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