Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

My good friend, Amanda, and I have been talking about having a fall-themed baking party since September. First, we said we were going to make like 4 or 5 things. Then a few weeks ago, it turned into 3 things. Then, two weeks ago, it was just two things. Come Saturday, the day of our baking party, it was one thing. Grad school gets in the way of all our fun! Not only did we only end up making these cupcakes, but we took a shortcut by using boxed cake mix and kicked it up a bit. Some people don’t like to admit to using box mix, but I am not one of those people my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making my own cake from scratch, but when you are short on time, why not use a box mix? We didn’t end up getting together until the evening and had two other important things on our agenda: 1. drink lots of wine and 2. watch trashy TV.

So, all in all, our baking party was certainly not the baking extravaganza that we had hoped it would be, but these cupcakes came out pretty good!!

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

– 1 box spice cake mix

– 1 1/3 cups water

– 1/3 cup vegetable oil

– 3 large eggs

– 1/2 cup sour cream

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 3 apples, peeled and diced into small bite-size pieces

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

– pinch of salt

– 1/2 lemon

Ingredients for the frosting:

– 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

– 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (add more if you want to really taste the cinnamon)

– 1 stick unsalted butter, softened


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, water, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Mix until well-combined. In a separate bowl, add the diced apples, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add the apple mixture to the cupcake batter. In a muffin tin lined with baking cups, distribute the batter evenly amongst each cup. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla extract. Add the confectioner’s sugar 2 cups at a time until it is well-combined with the cream cheese. Add the cinnamon and mix until it is thoroughly mixed in with the frosting, but try to avoid over-mixing the frosting.

– I used Duncan Hines box mix for this recipe. If you use a different brand, I recommend following the directions for that specific cake mix, then add in my additions of the vanilla, sour cream, and apples.
– Most cake mixes say that the mix will make 24 cupcakes, but because you are adding the apples to this, you have to account for the fact that they are going to release moisture while baking, so you need more of the dry mix to account for this. This recipe should give you about 12 cupcakes.
– The frosting recipe might make more than you need for just 12 cupcakes, but I wanted to give these a generous frosting so I made sure to have extra!



  1. These are absolutely stunning! Buzzed! …and pinned! The recipe is great, the photos are great….it’s all amazing!

  2. Stephanie, these looks simply decadent. Apple and cinnamon oh and cream cheese.. boy of boy.. yummmMieee.. Btw, your cuppies paper cup is so over the top cute. Hahaha.. ok do I sound like I’m high on something? I assure you I’m not. Just happy to be back checking up on all of you. Till then.. have a good halloween. Hugggssss.. Jo

  3. Those are the most adorable cup holders. I am a fan of owls. This sounds like the perfect party. I am not big on cake boxes but I do use them in a pinch. Plus if you add other fabulous ingredients is it really still cake from a box?

  4. I use boxed cake mix from time to time too, and I’m not ashamed to admit it either. That sounds like my kind of night, cupcakes, wine and trashy tv! I love me some Real House Wives! And of course, the cupcakes look great! I can never get my frosting to look so perfect!

  5. I LOVE your cupcake cups. Owls are my favorite! Your cupcakes are beautiful, too! Look very yummy.

  6. The flavors compliment one another so beautifully! The photos are just lovely too! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe! =]

  7. YAY! The pics came out great!

  8. Beautiful pictures! Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting….oh yum! Perfect addition to the cupcakes.

  9. boxed cake mixes can make the best cupcakes, so I do not frown on using them occasionally. These do look amazing-I can actually see the grains of cinnamon in the frosting. You are humble girl-pretty good!?! More like amazing. I want some.

  10. I want to eat this frosting by the handful. Dangerous.

  11. Stephanie.. these are absolutely gorgeous! I love your beautifully piped icing. The flavor combo is out of this world. Perfect Fall cupcakes!!

  12. My family would never object to a doctored up cake mix…especially when it’s transformed into cupcakes with LOTS of yummy icing…mmmmm. Sounds like a fun night :)

  13. Great idea to add apples to the spice cake mix! These look great.

  14. These are BEAUTIFUL and probably amazing! Love. I wish I knew how to frost a cupcake. I always make a huge mess. haha.

    • Thanks, Claire! I use a piping bag and the first time I used it, I made the biggest mess of my life. I have only used it a few times since, but I’m still trying to figure out how to pipe. You would think it wouldn’t be so hard!

  15. I feel you on the grad school thing… it is taking over my life! These cupcakes are amazing though!

  16. Absolutely NOTHING wrong with a box mix! These little guys look so wonderfully tempting. Love the apple with the spice cake!

  17. Cinnamon AND cream cheese in the frosting–I’m all over this!

  18. These look gorgeous S! Love the frosting!

    I’m hosting an apple blog hop this month. Come over and share your recipe with us.

  19. These apple spice cupcakes are so different, i loved the flavours! The picture looks so tempting!

  20. these are amazing!! i made some monster cupcakes recently and I would love to know what you think.

  21. First of all, these looks incredible, tasty & pretty! Secondly, I was just going through my spam folder for comments for the first time and, for whatever reason, wordpress has been dumping all of the comments from you in there! I wanted to apologize for not responding to any of them; I had no idea they existed! But thank you very much for all your kind comments :) I believe I fixed it so your comments will stop going to spam.

  22. Those look so cute and recipe is fantastic..You did such a great job!!!

  23. Love the cinnamon in the frosting. Looks like a well spent evening!

  24. Yum! Love the cinnamon frosting! I am not against using box mixes either. To me, it is just another ingredient when you use them in short cut recipes.

  25. Nothing wrong with taking short cuts. Sometimes store bought are even better then homemade…just sometimes =)
    I love your frosting. So pretty with the specs of cinnamon.

  26. Those cupcakes look wonderful! Even if you didn’t get to have your baking extravaganza…

  27. Stephanie, these look fantastic and are full of autumn splendor. I wish I could reach out and take a little (big) bite through the screen!

  28. Cupcakes look amazing and perfect for fall. I absolutely love the wrappers with the owls! Where did you find them?

  29. I love these! So perfect for autumn. I love pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting. Adorable cupcake papers!

  30. If there was one thing to make, this was definitely it! I love cupcakes and your fall inspired ones are fantastic :) Hope grad school settles down before autumn is over and you have a chance to bake the rest of your party plans.

  31. These look fabulous! I’m not against using boxed mixes. Why not? Sounds like you guys had a fun evening. Good thing you made the cupcakes before all the wine drinking :)

    By the way, I obviously didn’t mean to post this under scalloped potatoes!

  32. Those are the cutest little cupcake wrappers ever! Love them!

  33. These look amazing! Who cares that you used a box mix, you definitely kicked it up a bit and I love the cream cheese frosting recipe. I’ll have to keep these in mind for the next time I feel like treating the husband

  34. Apple and cinnamom. You can’t beat this combo! Love the paper liners :)

  35. These look absolutely divine…like autumn in a wonderful little cupcake. I am totally pinning this to my baking board on Pinterest :D

  36. Help! I would love to make these cupcakes, however I have no lemon! What should I do?

  37. Pingback: Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting « The Cupcake Blog

  38. Wow, these look absolutely delicious! Thanks for the idea…and the Sugar Rush!

  39. I always love a good modification of a boxed mix! That frosting looks so….lickable! Mmmm!

  40. Pingback: Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  41. Where did you get those adorable cupcake wrappers?

  42. Pingback: Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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