On a crisp winter morning, the thought of biting into an apple cinnamon swirl mini-cupcake is extremely appealing (A mini-cupcake could be a mini-muffin, right?!). The original recipe includes a cinnamon sugar ribbon that melts through the batter during baking, and advises sprinkling additional cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter to make a crisp topping. While I’m sure that version is delicious, these are mini-cupcakes, so I frosted them with cream cheese frosting before sprinkling with cinnamon sugar. Bake whichever version appeals to you most!
Apple Cinnamon Swirl Mini-Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans
Swirl & Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup grated peeled apple
1 Tbsp cinnamon sugar (from above)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp butter (optional, use only if not frosting cupcakes)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with baking cups. In a small bowl, stir sugar and cinnamon together to make the swirl and topping. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix together the grated apple and the 1 tablespoon of cinnamon sugar, then set aside. In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg, oil, apple sauce, and vanilla, stirring until well blended. Stir in the reserved apple mixture.
Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon batter into each paper liner. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon sugar over the batter in each liner. Spoon the remaining batter over the cinnamon sugar, to about 1/4 inch below the top of the liner (each liner will hold about 1 tablespoon total of batter). If frosting cupcakes: Skip ahead to baking instructions. If not frosting cupcakes: Use a pastry brush to dab the top of the batter with melted butter. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.
Bake just until the tops are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Holding an edge of each liner, carefully lift the cupcakes from the pan and place them on the wire rack to cool completely.
To make frosting, combine butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a large bowl, beating with a mixer at low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and scrape sides of the bowl as needed. Add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting further. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.
If frosted, the cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. If unfrosted, the cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Yield – 24 mini-cupcakes (serving size: 1 cupcake)
Calories – 115 (frosted), 63 (unfrosted)
Carbs – 16 (frosted), 9 (unfrosted)