Maple cupcakes are simple to make and they’re the perfect dessert for fall. Frosted with a not-too-sweet maple cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are always a hit!
When it comes to fall flavors are you team pumpkin or team apple?
Given that binary choice, I’m team pumpkin all the way. But throw maple into the equation?
It’s not even a tough call, I’m team maple. Hence these maple cupcakes with INSANELY good maple cream cheese frosting—the cream cheese adds a gorgeous zing to keep the frosting from being overly sweet.
And the best part? The cupcakes are refined-sugar free so if you leave off the frosting (which you shouldn’t, but if you did) you could pretend you’re eating something healthy. I’d insert a winking emoji here but I can’t figure out how to do that from my computer. . .
Why you’ll love these maple cupcakes
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make them!
- They freeze well so you can keep them on hand for cupcake emergencies
- They’re made with kitchen staples you probably already have on hand
How to make maple cupcakes
- Stir together your dry ingredients
- Beat butter until smooth
- Mix in the maple syrup, eggs, and a few more ingredients
- Beat in the dry ingredients until smooth
- Divide between paper-lined muffin cups
- And bake!
Let your cupcakes cool completely before you frost them so your frosting doesn’t melt and make a mess—and ruin the delicious, delicious frosting too.
Baker’s tip: If you want to make the cupcakes a day ahead, you can store them at room temperature, covered loosely with plastic wrap, overnight. Then make the frosting and frost your cupcakes when you’re ready to serve.
How to make maple cream cheese frosting
- Beat room temperature butter and cream cheese together until smooth
- Add powdered sugar and a few other ingredients
- Beat until smooth
Then it’s just a matter of frosting your cupcakes and devouring.
I used my trusty small offset spatula to frost my cupcakes; I love the sort of rustic look I can achieve with it—it’s simple and perfect for fall.
To frost them, I just scooped a dollop of frosting on each cupcake and swirled the offset spatula around the top of the cupcake several times, until I liked the way they looked.
If you prefer to pipe your frosting, this maple cream cheese frosting is pipe-able, you just might need to chill it for a bit since cream cheese frosting is usually softer than a standard American buttercream.
How to store maple cupcakes
Once the cupcakes are frosted, you’ll need to store them in the fridge (because of the cream cheese). Keep them refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days but keep in mind they taste best the day they’re made.
You can also store them in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months.
To freeze your cupcakes, set them on a baking sheet, then put the baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze until the frosting is set, usually about 30 minutes.
Wrap individually and store them in freezer bags; you can pull one out any time you’re craving something sweet!
- Fold 1 cup of chopped walnuts into the cupcake batter after you add the dry ingredients (nuts add great texture)
- Fold 1 cup of chocolate chips (mini work best) into the cupcake batter after the dry ingredients
- Add a 1/2 teaspoon (or more, to taste) of ground cinnamon to the frosting when you add the powdered sugar
- Similarly, you could sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top of the frosting for a little sparkle and extra flavor
Is maple syrup the same as pancake syrup? Can I use pancake syrup in these?
No they’re not the same and no you can’t substitute pancake syrup here.
Maple syrup is sap from the maple tree that’s been boiled down until thick. It’s pure—no additives, no nothing other than maple syrup are included.
Pancake syrup is typically corn syrup that’s been flavored with maple extract; it’s not a substitute for pure maple syrup in baking.
I won’t go into the different grades of maple syrup because apparently they’ve changed in the last few years and I can’t wrap my head around them anymore—it really doesn’t matter what grade you use though.
Just be sure you’re using pure maple syrup, not “pancake syrup.”
Did you make these maple cupcakes? Hooray! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. Then post a pic over on Insta–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your beautiful creations!
Maple cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting are an easy dessert you'll serve all through fall!
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup maple syrup*
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 to 3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 to 14 muffin cups with cupcake liners (or spray with cooking spraand set aside.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Put the butter in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the maple syrup and beat to combine, then beat in the eggs.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the milk, vanilla, and maple flavor and beat until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat on low for a few seconds more.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 16 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Take the cupcakes out of the oven and set the tin on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting them.
- Beat the butter and cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Add 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and the maple flavor and salt.
- Beat on low to combine, then turn mixer to medium and beat until frosting is very smooth. Add additional milk or powdered sugar if necessary to achieve a spreadable (or pipe-ablconsistency.
- Frost your cooled cupcakes as desired and serve.
- Uneaten cupcakes can be stored in the fridge, loosely covered, for up to 2 days (but they’re best the day they’re made). You can also store them in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months.
- *Be sure to use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup; they’re not the same thing.
- If you want to make the cupcakes (without frosting them) a day ahead, you can store them at room temperature, covered loosely with plastic wrap, overnight. Then make the frosting and frost them when you’re ready to serve.
Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes