Apple Spice Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

This is a very adult cupcake. It reminds me of an apple pie in cake form and a bourbon cocktail all in one. The grated apple helps keep the cupcake moist while giving it texture. The addition of bourbon to the buttercream takes the flavor combinations right over the top! To give the tops some interest top with sautéed apples, toasted pecans or toasted coconut.

Yield: 24 cupcakes


  • Bourbon Buttercream:
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cups water, room temperature
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons bourbon
  • Apple Spice Cupcakes:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups grated apple , (1 gala and 1 granny smith)


  1. Bourbon Buttercream: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Continue to boil until sugar syrup reaches 240 – 244 °F. Soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer. As it cooks start step 2, the meringue.
  2. While sugar syrup is cooking, separate eggs placing whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low to medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whip on medium to high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, but not dry.
  3. With mixer running, add cooked syrup to whites in a slow but steady stream, beating on high speed. Beat on high speed until steam from hot syrup stops, about 5 minutes. Add butter a tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth, approximately 4-5 minutes. Beat in vanilla, scrape down sides gently and beat again for 1 minute. Beat in bourbon.
  4. Apple Spice Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325°F.
  5. Butter cupcake pan OR line with cupcake liners.
  6. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy.
  7. Add eggs one at a time. Mix until incorporated. Scrape down bowl and paddle attachment and mix until smooth.
  8. Add vanilla, buttermilk and sour cream, mix on low speed until combined.
  9. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. It’s important not to over mix at this stage.
  10. Remove from mixer.
  11. Grate 1 granny smith apple and 1 gala apple, should equal 1 1/2cups grated apple. Fold into cake batter with a rubber spatula.
  12. Fill prepared cupcake pan three quarters full, just shy of 1/4 cup.
  13. Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  14. Cool completely before frosting.