Apple Pie Cupcakes

Baking With Booze
By Nicole Watts
Photos & Video by Jeff McSweeney

September is the start of apple season, which means that it’s time for homemade Apple Pie & apple themed cupcakes at my house.  This year, I decided to combine the two.

ApplejackCupcakes 46.JPG

For those of you not familiar with Apple Pie, it is a concoction of grain alcohol, apple cider, apple juice, sugar, and cinnamon. It is delicious served very cold or slightly warm, but should never be served at room temperature.

Having been sworn to keep my recipe for Apple Pie in the family, I went to Friar Tuck in search of bottled apple pie. I ended up with two types of moonshine, and an apple pie liqueur.

·         Travis Hasse’s Apple Pie Liqueur was almost too sweet to drink, but smelled the closest to the homemade version.

·         Ole Smoky was rich, complex, smoky, yet smooth, but did not have much of an apple taste.

·         Everyone had the same reaction to Midnight Moon: swear words were uttered, tears were wiped, shots were spit into the sink. Any apple taste that may have existed was overpowered by the alcohol fumes.

For the cupcakes, the obvious choice was Travis Hasse’s Apple Pie Liqueur.

Apple Pie Cupcakes  (makes 24)


For the cupcakes:

1 white cake mix (Betty Crocker Super Moist)

3 eggs (whole)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 ¼ cup Apple Pie Liqueur

For the frosting

2 sticks of butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 box (1 pound) powdered sugar

3-4 Tablespoons Apple Pie Liqueur

Red gel icing color

For the details

Red sugar

8 chocolate Tootsie Rolls midgees

24 green apple Tootsie Frooties

Special tools

Red cupcake papers (24)

Parchment paper

Fondant veining tool

Fondant leaf cutter

Rolling pin



1.      Preheat the oven to 350

2.      Line your cupcake pans with cupcake papers

3.      Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and Apple Pie Liqueur in a bowl

4.      Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes

5.      Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full

6.      Bake for 15 minutes

Frosting & Decorating

1.      Mix butter in mixer until creamy

2.      Add vanilla

3.      Slowly add powdered sugar

4.      Add 3 Tablespoons Apple Pie Liqueur

5.      Mix until blended

6.      Add ½ teaspoon red gel icing

7.      Mix until blended (frosting should be a dark reddish pink to light pinkish red color)

8.      Add more Apple Pie Liqueur if frosting is too thick

9.      Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe frosting onto cupcakes

10.  Next, add enough red sprinkles to cover the top of the cupcake (I use a cookie sheet under my cupcakes so that the mess is minimized.)

11.  Set cupcakes aside so the frosting can settle

12.  Repeat until all cupcakes are frosted and covered in sprinkles

13.  Cover cupcakes and place in refrigerator while making the leaves and stems

To make leaves & stems

1.      Unwrap candies

2.      To make leaves, fold a piece of parchment paper in half

3.      Place green apple Frootie inside parchment paper “envelope”

4.      Press down with rolling pin and roll until the candy is flattened

5.      Using fondant leaf cutter, cut the shape

6.      Use the veining tool to draw a line down the center of leaf and veins running to the center line

7.      Fold one end and curl to look like a leaf

8.      Set aside

9.      To make the stems, pull a small piece off of a chocolate Tootsie Roll.

10.  Roll it between your hands until it starts to look like a stem (Play-doh snakes?)

11.  Shorten it to the desired length

12.  Flatten the top and shape to look like a stem

13.  Set aside

Final Assembly

Once all of your leaves and stems are done, remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator. To place the stems, insert a toothpick into the top, remove and add stem in the hole left by the toothpick. Add the folded end of the leaf as close to the base of the stem as possible. Refrigerate cupcakes (in an airtight container) until ready to serve.

For a kid friendly version of these, substitute water in the cake mix for the Apple Pie Liqueur. Substitute milk in the frosting in for the Apple Pie Liqueur.


ApplejackCupcakes 31.JPG