Recipe courtesy of Marilyn Norris

Apple-Spice Cupcakes with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 12 min
  • Prep: 50 min
  • Cook: 22 min
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes
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Apple Filling:

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple-Spice Cupcakes:

1 2/3 cups unbleached pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Vanilla Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted, divided

1/2 cup cream or milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Walnut and Blue Cheese Topping:

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Honey, for drizzling


  1. For the filling: In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, apples, cinnamon, and salt. Cook until the apples soften, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Cool.
  2. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard cupcake pans with 14 cupcake liners.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, and cayenne pepper into a medium bowl and whisk together. In a liquid measuring cup, mix the buttermilk and vanilla extract. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Place 1 teaspoon Apple Filling on top of each cupcake and lightly swirl into the batter. Bake until golden brown, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  5. For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the salt until smooth. Add 1/2 the powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Add the cream, vanilla, and remaining powdered sugar and beat to desired consistency.
  6. For the topping: Combine the walnuts and blue cheese, making sure to crumble the mixture after it is combined. Set aside.
  7. To assemble: Frost each cupcake with a wide, flat "pillow" of vanilla frosting. Dip the frosted cupcake into the walnut and blue cheese topping. To finish, drizzle the cupcake with honey.

Cook’s Note

If using unbleached all-purpose flour instead of unbleached pastry flour, reduce the flour quantity to 1 1/2 cups.

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