Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cream “Cheese” Frosting

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cream "Cheese" Frosting #cupcakes #dairyfree

I’ve been watching a lot of Food Network TV since we moved in to our new place. Every time I tune in, Anna Olson is front and center preparing another one of her irresistible desserts. Chocolate ganache, creme brulee, ladyfingers, each recipe more delectable than the last but laden with every single ingredient that I’m allergic to. I would love to see her make some dairy-free recipes… but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Watching her show used to make me upset, make me yearn for a normal life again where I could stuff my cookies full of butter, whip up dessert using pastry flour, and drown my cupcakes in white sugar. That was long before I learned that any recipe, no matter how much gluten, dairy, and sugar it may contain, can be made into something that I can enjoy, allergies and all. It just requires a little practice, patience and creativity!

When I saw Anna Olson scoop out the middle of her chocolate cupcakes and insert a truffle, followed by an episode of apple cinnamon galettes, you better believe the wheels were spinning at the possibilities of combining the two recipes, making it sugar reduced, gluten-free, grain-free, and… delicious!

Challenge accepted.

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cream "Cheese" Frosting #cupcakes #dairyfree

One bite of these cupcakes and you’ll be hard pressed to believe that they’re made from a combination of bean flours. Really, you will be. No bitterness, no bean pieces, no strange chickpea flavor. Just apple cinnamon all the way through.

And, you couldn’t get someone to guess that the frosting is made with vinegar and cashews.

Or that there’s no butter.

Or that all of the sugar that should be in this recipe is instead replaced with raw agave nectar.

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cream "Cheese" Frosting #cupcakes #dairyfree

They’re light and fluffy with a crisp, sugary top and taste just as delicious as they look. Plus, there’s an apple pie treat inside!

The filling is my favorite part, hands down.

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cream "Cheese" Frosting #cupcakes #dairyfree

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4.7 from 3 reviews
Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cream "Cheese" Frosting
Recipe type: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
Fluffy, irresistible grain-free cupcakes filled with a gooey and sweet apple pie center and topped with dairy-free cream "cheese" icing.
Apple Cupcakes:
Apple Pie Filling:
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined walnut oil
  • 2 apples, diced small and skin left on
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dairy-free Cream "Cheese" Frosting:
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
  • 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup ground coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
To prepare cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with muffin liners. Set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until incorporated.
  5. Divide batter into prepared muffin cups.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 1 minute before removing from the pan and placing on a cooling rack to cool.
To prepare apple filling:
  1. Add oil to a medium-sized frying pan. Heat on medium heat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and saute for 8-10 minutes until apples are crisp tender.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside.
To prepare frosting:
  1. Add all ingredients to a small food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
To assemble cupcakes:
  1. To insert the apple pie filling, use a melon baller to scoop out a circle of cake from the top of each cupcake. Drop a tablespoon or so of apple pie filling into the hole of each cupcake and press the mixture gently so that it's flush with the top of the cake.
  2. Drop a dollop of frosting onto each cupcake and smooth with an icing knife.
Cupcakes can be stored for a few days in the fridge or freeze in an air-tight container for up to 2 months. View nutrition info

Begin by whisking the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients with a hand mixer or stand mixer.

Drop dry ingredients into wet and give it a quick mix. Not too much or your cupcakes will be stiff.

Drop into liners and bake.

Meanwhile, get your apple pie filling ready!

I used the apples we picked last week, but any apple will do the trick!

Once the cupcakes have had time to cool, scoop out the middle with a melon baller. Take your time with this step to avoid breaking the cupcake or going too deep.

Gobble up the little mounds of cupcake. It’ll do your soul good.

Press apple pie mixture firmly into the cupcake.

Top with prepared icing and spread evenly across the cupcake.

Dive in!

Did you all have a great weekend? Kevin and I sure did! We went to Ottawa on Friday to meet up with our old neighbors from Airdrie, visited the Canadian War Museum, feasted on elk burgers, worked on a couple of home projects and had a lovely turkey dinner last night. Here are some of the pictures from our adventures…

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Last but not least, I’ve just posted a new Facebook giveaway on the Healthful Pursuit Facebook Page! Be sure to check it out

For those of you who do not have access to Facebook, entries can be submitted through Twitter too.

Have a fabulous Monday!

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

    • We celebrated on Sunday and then spend Monday back working as normal… I know, thrilling!

  1. I miss Anna Olson! Her recipes are definitely drool-worthy. Do you think that this recipe might be veganized? They sure look yummy, good work!

    • I’m sure it could be. Bean flours are pretty open to veganizing but does take a bit of work.

  2. Ok, I’m a huge Anna fan too, but I think you are pure GENIUS to be able to morph her creations into allergen-free and just-as-delish ones!! These look amazing and I bet you had fun taste testing this morning! :) Love all the pics from your weekend, especially the one with you and the ships wheel!! You’ll also be happy to know that The Works just opened up here this summer, and is only about a 10 minute walk away!

    • :| I say we add it to the itinerary… if you’re down. Have you been?

  3. I love adding a surprise filling to cupcakes! :) these sound SO good, and I already know how good that frosting is! :)

  4. HI Leanne, this look great, I am wondering if you could add the apple filing before baking instead of using the scoop to make a little hole for it. Do you think it would end up a giant mess?

    • Thanks Leah! I wondered that myself, but seeing as I made 6 batches of this recipe until I got it right, I didn’t venture down that road. I’m about… 70% sure that it would be a huge mess… but hey, if you do it, let me know!

  5. These look sooooo yummy. Could I use gluten free all purpose flour instead of the garfava? There is no Xantham gum in it, so would that work?

    • Hi Kelly – I haven’t tried the recipe with anything other than garfava and chickpea. It took me a bunch of batches to get it right, so I’d be hesitant to mix things up. If you did use all purpose, you’d have to make sure it had xanthum gum or another type of gum to hold things together as bean flours seem to do it on their own. Hope that helps!

  6. I have unsubcribed from your emails sad to say because almost every email has been a dessert. I believe that switching to a healthy lifestyle means fewer processed desserts and foods in general. Unadulterated frutis and veggies are the best foods by far. It really disappointed me to see all the desserts coming through my email box. Desserts in my opinion are something you have a few times a year. I really was looking forward to recipes on healthy breakfast, lunch and dinners not desserts. I know you are appealing to the masses. However, in my family fruit salad is dessert on a regular basis cupcakes etc are for birthdays or parties. So sad to say I am moving on from your email list. Healthy Pursuit I think not.

    • Hi Camille – sad to see you go. I post 1-2 savory recipes per week and try to mix things up as much as possible. I’m sorry that you feel HP doesn’t have what you’re looking for and wish you the best of luck on your healthy journey!

    • I’m not too sure, Rebecca, although I think almond flour would work better than coconut. Good luck!

  7. LOVE this post. I used to watch Sugar episodes every chance I got then create the baked goodies in my own kitchen. Every once in a while I mourn my old way of eating. Thank you for the recipes that you recreate and post! I do have an egg allergy so many recipes, like this one, I get all excited about then realize that it contains eggs. You have created a lot that I can make though and I’ve found a cookbook that meets my allergy needs. Keep up the great work!

    • I’m happy that I can be a part of your allergen-free baking adventures! Thanks for stopping in and saying hello :)

  8. Hi Leanne,
    I attempted to make these cupcakes before work this morning and encountered a snafu. My batter was quite runny and I had way more than 12 cupcake liners worth. I must have filled them each too high trying to squeeze it all in (even though I added an extra 3 1/2 cupcakes on another pan) and the tops and edges burned after only 25 minutes at 375F. I’m not sure what went wrong! The only changes I made was using garbanzo bean flour since I didn’t have garfava and I also subbed coconut nectar for the agave nectar. Were those changes enough to cause this catastrophe? I managed to scrape off the burnt tops and stuffed them with the yummy filling and covered the unsightliness with the creamy frosting. They’re edible, but not anywhere near as pretty looking as in your photos. Would you mind double checking the ingredients as listed or offer any tips for future attempts? Thanks! – Heather

    P.S. I did make the gluten free apple crisp the other night and it was amazing!! Everyone loved it. :)

    • Hi Heather – oh no! I’m sorry to hear that your cupcakes were a flop. The batter should be runny, no worries on that. Similar consistency to pancake batter. Garbanzo and garfava act a bit differently so that may have caused a bit of issues. I used regular-sized muffin liners, I believe they were medium size and had just enough mixture for 12 cupcakes, filled just under the top of the liner. I made this recipe 6 times before I nailed it and just checked over everything just in case. It all looks perfect so I’m not sure what went wrong… I’ve been testing out my oven over and over again to make sure it’s perfect and feel confident in the temperatures and such. Were they cooked through?

    • So your comment got me thinking… I went out to a kitchen supplies store and purchased two oven thermometers. Both of them said that our oven wasn’t hot enough. So, I’m going to play around with this recipe again tomorrow to see if the baking time/temperature need to be adjusted. I’m so sorry about this, Heather! I’ll be sure to update the post the minute I figure out is something was off.

  9. Oh no, sorry to have caused you any worry! I’m still a bit suspicious of my batter, because it wasn’t nearly as thick as a usual pancake batter. I’m talking mostly liquid here. I was supposed to and applesauce AND apple juice, not one or the other, right? I’m determined to get this recipe down.. The insides did cook through and they were actually really moist and delicious. I just need to stop the tops and sides from burning, because they were really tough to peel away from the cupcake liners. Thanks for all of your help and concern! I’m still enjoying the remains anyway. ;)

    • Yep, apple sauce and apple juice. I find chickpea flour will yield a more liquidy batter, but good that they cooked through. You’ve helped more than you know. I spent all morning testing out the temperature with various older recipes. I think I’ve determined that my new oven is 37 degrees cooler than it should be. So, that’s a start! I’ve adjusted the recipe down to 340F for the same amount of time. Hoping that does the trick! Let me know how it goes, always nice to have someone else test them as I get accustomed to my new kitchen.

  10. Leanne, would it be alright to just use unbleached wheat flour instead of garfava? Also, I’m a bit wary of using agave in large quantitites… do you think maple syrup would work?

    • Hi there – I’m not sure whether or not wheat flour would work for this recipe. I’ve never baked with it.. you could give it a try! And, I’m sure maple syrup would work as a substitute. Hope that helps :)

  11. Oh. My. Goodness. My son and I just made a batch of these and they are DELICIOUS! We used one Pink Lady apple, and one Mutsu, and the flavors mixed beautifully. I am an avid fan of the apple pie breakfast cookies (and pretty much every other breakfast cookie for that matter), but these are our family’s new favorite! Thank you, Leanne, for your amazing recipes!! Keep em’ coming, because we enjoy every blissful bite!

  12. For the record on my previous comment, I did swap out f coconut palm sugar for the agave nectar in the batter, because all of the fructose in agave does not agree with me, and I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour, because I hadn’t realized I had run out of Garfava flour. They still turned out perfectly. The batter was intimidatingly liquidy, but still rose nicely, cooked all the way through, and yielded a very moist, light cupcake. I did bake them in a convection oven for the full 35 minutes.

  13. Making these today but it is only me so I want to freeze them. I see that you say they can be frozen but wanted to check that you freeze them with the filling and frosting or before you add them. Thanks

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