Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

These Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes have a cinnamon spiced apple cupcakes filled with a homemade caramel topped with cinnamon buttercream and sticky apples. Plus they are vegan, gluten-free and easy to make.

If you love all things apple, cinnamon and caramel, then these cupcakes are perfect for you. They are easy to make, packed with warming cosy spices and are super light and fluffy. They are the dream for the start of Autumn/Fall and they proved hugely popular with my family and neighbours.

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcake on a wire rack
Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Why will I love these cupcakes?

These Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes are delicious because they are:

  • Light, fluffy, moist and tender
  • Spiced, warming and cosy
  • Filled with a gooey sticky homemade caramel sauce (ready in 1 minute)
  • Topped with luscious cinnamon buttercream
  • Piled high with homemade sticky caramel cinnamon apples
  • Made with wholesome ingredients
  • Easy to make in one bowl
  • Naturally vegan and easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • Great for the apple season

If you already love the look of these Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

The cupcakes are easily made with staple ingredients. For the cupcakes themselves:

  • Ground chia or flaxseed: I prefer chia seeds and I grind them up in a blender to a fine meal or powder and store them for 2 months in a sealed container. When mixed with water, they form an egg-like gel which will bind the batter.
  • Applesauce: this is the key to these apple-y cupcakes. You can make your own, see tips here, but I often have a few jars of unsweetened applesauce for these occasions. Make sure it’s 100% apple without any additives, if you can. I like the ones from Biona Organic or KoRo.
  • Thick dairy-free yoghurt: I always use coconut yoghurt as it’s the thickest and creamiest and bakes really well. Try using the natural or vanilla Cocos Organic.
  • Smooth almond butter: smooth and runny is best for these, as it makes the batter smooth. If you like, you can swap this for peanut, cashew or hazelnut butter or keep them nut-free by using tahini.
  • Olive or sunflower oil: a light, liquid oil is best for the softest cupcakes but you can also use melted and cooled coconut oil.
  • Coconut sugar: I love the richness of coconut sugar but you can also use caster or golden caster sugar.
  • Lemon juice: helps bind the batter. You can also swap this for apple cider vinegar.
  • Vanilla essence: for flavour.
  • Plain or GF plain flour: keep these Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes nice and light with plain flour or try with wholemeal or spelt flour, too, for heartier cupcakes. if you are using gluten-free flour, use a 1:1 baking blend that you usually use and that contains xantham gum.
  • Cinnamon: for flavour.
  • Baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt: for rise and flavour. Always make sure your raising agents are in date.

As for the caramel apples on top:

  • Apples: I use regular eating apples like jazz, pink lady or gala, whatever is in season or I have at home. No need to peel them, just core and chop them small.
  • Coconut oil: to coat and soften the apples or you can use vegan butter.
  • Cinnamon: for flavour.
  • Maple syrup: for stickiness and to make them more caramel-like. You can also use other syrups like agave, date, oat or vegan honey.
Unwrapped Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcake
Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes

For the caramel sauce, we need a few ingredients and this is based on my favourite quick caramel:

  • Runny almond butter: as above, you can swap this for other nut/seed butters as long as they are runny and smooth.
  • Coconut oil: helps with the texture, as it cools it will harden. So, if needed, warm up the caramel in the microwave until runny again.
  • Maple syrup: for the sweet stickiness and you can swap this as above.
  • Salt: for a salted caramel sauce.

Finally, the vegan cinnamon buttercream:

  • Vegan butter: make sure you leave the butter out for 30-60 minutes to reach room temperature so that it can soften. This helps for the fluffiest buttercream.
  • Icing sugar: also known as powdered sugar.
  • Vanilla essence and cinnamon: for flavour.
  • Plant-based milk: to create the perfect fluffy consistency. Any dairy-free milk is great like coconut (from the carton), oat, almond or soya.

How do I make these cupcakes?

These cupcakes seem impressive but are easily made in a few steps. Take time to read through the method properly first-time as certain elements need to cool down.

  • For the cupcakes stir together all the wet ingredients: including the chia gel until smooth.
  • Sift and whisk in the dry ingredients: till thick and smooth.
  • Divide the batter between 12 cases: and smooth over the tops.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until golden and fluffy: and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack.
  • Make the sticky apples by chopping the apples and warming in a pan: with the coconut oil and cinnamon. Then add the maple syrup and cook for 5-8 minutes till sticky. Cool fully.
  • Prepare the caramel by stirring together the ingredients: till smooth. This can be used warm or cooler.
  • Make the fluffy buttercream: whip the butter till smooth then gradually beat in the icing sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and dairy-free milk till really fluffy. Beat for 1-2 minutes more.
  • To decorate the cupcakes, core the middle: and fill with caramel.
  • Pipe the buttercream around the edge of the cupcake: and fill the middle with the cinnamon apples.
  • Decorate with more caramel sauce: and enjoy.
Three Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes

How long will these keep?

Once made, keep these in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container or you can freeze unfrosted and unfilled cupcakes for up to 1 month, wrapped well.

Are these gluten-free and nut-free?

Yes, these Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes are easily gluten-free, make sure you use your preferred gluten-free baking flour blend and check all other ingredients. To keep these nut-free, swap the almond butter for tahini and check that your yoghurt, milk and butter are all nut-free.

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcake on a small plate with a fork
Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes

I love making cupcakes and cakes, what else can I bake?

I hope you are going to love these Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes and for more ideas, how about my:

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcake on a wire rack

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

These Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes have a cinnamon spiced apple cupcakes filled with a homemade caramel topped with cinnamon buttercream and sticky apples. Plus they are vegan, gluten-free and easy to make.


  • For the Cupcakes:
  • 2 tbsp ground chia or flaxseed with 6 tbsp water
  • 200g applesauce
  • 150g thick dairy-free yoghurt e.g. coconut
  • 60g smooth almond butter
  • 60ml olive or sunflower oil
  • 100g coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 280g plain or GF plain flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of sofa
  • A pinch of salt
  • For the Caramel Apples:
  • 2 small eating apples
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • For the Caramel Sauce:
  • 90g smooth almond butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • A pinch of salt
  • For the Frosting:
  • 120g vegan butter, softened
  • 360g icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp plant-based milk


  1. For the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases. Stir together the chia seeds with water and whisk to a gel. Leave for 5 minutes to thicken.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, yoghurt, almond butter, olive oil, coconut sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and the chia gel till smooth.
  3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl with the salt. Whisk or stir the mix to a thick, smooth batter with no specks of flour.
  4. Scoop the batter between the 12 muffin cases and smooth over the tops.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean, and they have risen well. Remove immediately from the tins and cool fully on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, make the caramel apples: core the apples and chop them very small. Add the coconut oil to a small pan and once melted add the apples and cinnamon and cook over a medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes, till softening. Now add in the maple syrup and cook for another 5minutes till sticky. Remove from the heat and allow to cool fully.
  7. For the caramel sauce: stir together all the ingredients till smooth.
  8. Make the buttercream: add the butter to a bowl or freestanding mixer and beat for 1-2 minutes till soft. Gradually add in the icing sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and plant-based milk and continue to beat. Once fully incorporated, beat for 1-2 minutes more till really fluffy. Place in a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle.
  9. Core the middle of the cupcakes and fill with some caramel. Replace the top of the cupcake over the caramel and then pipe around the edge of the cupcake with the buttercream. Fill the middle with the caramel apples and then drizzle over more caramel sauce. Repeat to decorate all 12 cupcakes.
  10. Enjoy straight away or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Unfrosted cupcakes will keep in the freezer for 1 month, wrapped well.


*keep these gluten-free by using your preferred 1:1 gluten-free flour blend

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I look forward to hearing what you think of these Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cupcakes so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star rating. If you do make these cupcakes, I’d love to see, so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With cinnamon caramel apple love x

p.s. this recipe was first made with Salter Kitchen Scales, which are a new favourite in my kitchen. This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

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