For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups milk
For the apple topping:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cups peeled and chopped apples
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup water plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
For the cinnamon-sugar topping:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
- Sift together flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾-full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan about 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the apple topping. To make the apple topping, heat the butter in a medium-large skillet. Stir in the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Heat until the fruit begins to release its juices. Add ¾ cup of water to the pan and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook until the apples are just fork tender but not mushy. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch, and whisk lightly until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and cook 1-2 minutes more, until the mixture has thickened. Let cool thoroughly before topping the cupcakes.
- To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Whisk together the 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Pipe frosting around the edge of each cupcake, leaving a well for the topping. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar topping. Divide apple topping evenly among cupcakes. Enjoy!