Apple muffins with a surprise inside: a warm center of cinnamon-spiced apples.
These muffins include a double-dose of apple with applesauce in the batter and pieces of apple in the center. Go big or go home, as they say.
As far as baking goes, these muffins are about as complicated as I like to get, but, trust me, it’s worth it. The muffins have four specific components:
- Apple filling
- Cinnamon-spiced brown sugar crumb
Choosing an apple for baking
A quick Google search shows the various opinions on the Internet for the best apples to bake with, but here’s a quick guide. When choosing the right apple for baking, it comes down to just two main components to consider: flavor and texture.
For flavor, do you want an apple that is sweet, tart, or somewhere in between? I land somewhere in between for baked goods, leaning toward the sweeter side. This means less conventional sugar is needed to get a sweet flavor. I’d rather taste the natural sweetness of the apple any day.
The texture is where it gets a bit complicated. Raw apple varieties have their own texture, some are soft and grainy, some are crisp and crunchy. Once baked, that texture changes dramatically. Some apple varieties hold their shape when baked, which is great for a pie, and others become mushy and perfect for applesauce.
- Best overall: Honeycrisp
- Best for tart flavor: Granny Smith
- Best for sweet flavor: Gala
I made these muffins with Gala, which is easy to find, inexpensive, and sweet enough to be able to reduce the other sugars in the recipe. Feel free to adapt the recipe to use your favorite apple.
More apple favorites:
- 3 cups peeled and diced Gala apples about 3 medium apples
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup applesauce
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with liners. In a medium saucepan, combine apples, granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, cornstarch, and water. Heat on medium heat for 6 minutes or until the liquid thickens. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
- In another small bowl, combine the sour cream and applesauce.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing on medium until combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add the flour mixture and sour cream mixture to the stand mixer in alternating parts, starting and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.
- Fill each muffin cup ⅓ of the way with batter and top with a heaping tablespoon of the apple mixture. Then spoon 1 teaspoon of the spiced brown sugar over the apple mixture, saving some for later. Top with the remaining batter and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar all over the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes are fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze by stirring together the glaze ingredients until smooth.
- As soon as they are cool enough to handle, gently remove each cupcake from the pan and immediately spoon the glaze over the top.