Hard Cider Cupcakes

12 Nov

Like many people, autumn is probably my most favorite time of year. The trees come alive in a blaze of firey colors, the air takes on a little nip that causes us to wrap ourselves up in a favorite old sweater. As the days gradually shorten, we start to prepare our homes for nesting in during the long months of winter.

This is the time of year we trade our zucchini and yellow squash for butternut and pumpkin, blueberries for cranberries, and peaches and plums for pears and apples. It is the time of year we turn from garden fresh salads and smoke-infused grilling to simmering soups and ginger-spiced baking.

Autumn is also the beginning of the season of traditions – family traditions, holiday traditions, this is the time of year we pull out old costumes, the good china, or handed-down family recipes to bring those traditions back to life and keep them alive.

When my daughter, Sydney, was little, one of our favorites fall traditions was to head about 25 miles outside of town to her favorite Linvilla Orchards. This place is a child’s dream with hayrides, a corn maze, face painting, and a menagerie of docile deer and goats and ponies to pet and feed. After a treat of warm apple cider doughnuts or a gooey caramel apple, we’d get down to the very important task of picking out that perfect pumpkin for the Halloween Jack-O-Lantern. But no trip was complete without stopping at the refrigerated case to pick up a gallon of icy cold fresh pressed apple cider.

Over the years, trips to the orchard were replaced by soccer tournaments, part-time jobs, college visits and now a true career. But recently, we were lucky to have a day off together. We did a little mother-daughter shopping, some lunch, and decided to run out to Linvilla to pick up some fresh apples. We looked at the pumpkins and mums, had an apple cider doughnut or two and chose our Winesaps and Cortlands to take with us. But this time, we didn’t pick up any apple cider from the case. Because she’s an adult now, and that means new traditions:

There weren’t a lot of recipes for hard apple cider cupcakes. This one, adapted from Cupcakes for Dinner, looked promising. While everyone loved the Brown Sugar Buttercream frosting, reviews were mixed on the actual cupcakes themselves. Some thought them a little bland, others liked they way they offset the frosting. So give them a try, I’d say there’s a lot of room for adding your own personal touch. I used Crispin’s Hard Apple Cider, but there are manyvarieties to choose from.

Hard Apple Cider Cupcakes
Makes 12 – 16 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups hard apple cider
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes, then add egg and vanilla
Mix in apple cider – mixture will look curdled.
In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, and create a well in the center.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined.
Fill prepared cupcake tins 3/4 full.
Bake for 16 minutes.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream

1/2 cup butter
1/2 brown sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon hard cider
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk

Cream butter and brown sugar together
Slowly add powdered sugar, cider, vanilla, milk and cinnamon

Frost as desired.

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3 Responses to “Hard Cider Cupcakes”

  1. juliabinta November 12, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Oh my these look delicious!!!

  2. Sara November 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Linda, these look great. I love hard cider. Looks like I’m off to the grocery store tomorrow for ingredients 🙂

  3. Di November 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Linda, These sound really good. The icing looks especially creamy and good!

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