Apple Cupcakes with Maple Almond Frosting

You know how you fall in love with a certain kind of food and gorge on it. Like, it’s all you can think about for days and days and days, and basically, it’s all you eat for days and days and days. Then, all of a sudden, you want nothing to do with it?

Well, that’s sort of what happened to me and baking. When I started recording my recipes digitally 6 years ago (!) a majority of them were baked goods. I tried a little of everything, and failed a lot, but ultimately fell off the baking bandwagon. My cravings changed when I went back to school – instead of being able to eat my weight in cupcakes, I ate sleeves of Ritz crackers and bags of potato chips.

Apple Cupcakes with Maple Almond Frosting - Vegan Heartbeats

Now I’m back. I know this because I recently made 24 cupcakes, two different flavors, for a pot luck with less than 10 people. I went overboard. And I loved it. I missed being that friend that always has dessert to push on people – like when you go to your grandma’s house and somehow she always has cookies coming out of the oven. I want people to come over hungry and leave with a cavity.

This recipe was inspired by a new product that was sent to me. Maple Vanilla Almond Butter that’s made with no added sugars and infused with protein. So it’s the healthiest, most delicious nut butter out there. Naturally, I found a way to make it unhealthy, but more on that later…

D’s Naturals, a company that makes the No Cow protein bar, makes almond and peanut butter in four flavors. I have been using the Smores Peanut Butter as a spread for graham crackers. I feel like I am treating myself, but with no added sugar and extra protein, it’s a snack I can feel really good about.

When I first tasted the Maple Vanilla Almond Butter I knew I wanted to make it into frosting for my applesauce cake.  Miraculously, I had a jar of my mom’s homemade applesauce leftover from last fall. I seriously don’t know how it survived that long, because it is crazy good. The cupcake recipe is straightforward, just measure and mix, measure and mix. The trick to the making the frosting fluffy and irresistible is turning the mixer on high and just forgetting about it for a few minutes. In my experience, nut butter based frostings can be thick, too rich and almost more of a fudge than a buttercream consistency. By adding an extra teaspoon of milk and not rushing your mixer, you’ll get a super fluffy frosting that is mind blowingly delicious.

Apple Cupcakes with Maple Almond Frosting - Vegan Heartbeats

Apple Cupcakes with Maple Almond Frosting

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Apple Cupcakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1 cup, packed, brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce, preferably homemade
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line or grease a cupcake tin.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix the ground flax seeds and warm water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken.
  4. Combine the canola oil, sugar, extract and applesauce in a medium bowl. Add the flax/water mixture and mix well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix with a whisk until there are no large lumps remaining.
  6. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner, or until each liner is two-thirds full.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake is pulled out clean.

Maple Almond Frosting

  • 1/4 cup D’s Natural Vanilla Maple Almond Fluffbutter*
  • 1/4 cup earth balance, or other vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
  • drop of almond extract (optional)
  • 2-4 teaspoons almond milk
  • small pinch of salt
  1. Combine the almond butter, margarine, and shortening in an electric mixer and beat until combined.
  2. With the mixer on the lowest setting, add three cups of the powdered sugar about a half cup at a time.
  3. Add the extracts, if using, two teaspoons of almond milk and a pinch of salt.
  4. Once combined, turn the speed up to high and let mix for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Give the frosting a taste, and add a little milk if it’s too thick, and a little extra sugar if it has a pasty texture. Turn the speed back up and let mix for 2-3 minutes.


  1. Allow cupcakes to cool in the cupcake tin for 10-15 minutes. Remove and let cool completely at room temperature.
  2. Use a piping bag and frosting tip, scoop (pictured) or a butter knife to add frosting to the cupcakes. Garnish with a slivered almond or sprinkle of cinnamon.

* Substitute plain almond butter and 1/2 a teaspoon of maple extract if unable to find D’s Natural Vanilla Maple Almond Fluffbutter.

Laura Lemon