Grandma's Applesauce Cupcakes with Ermine Buttercream

Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes

From my Grandma, who was born in 1897 - the BEST applesauce cupcakes!

Do you have old family recipes that just take you back to childhood? Maybe it’s a photo, maybe it’s the first whiff of them baking in the oven, or maybe it’s that first bite? This is one of those for me…my Grandma Irene’s Applesauce Cupcakes. I’d guess these date back to the 1930’s, at least.

Grandma's Applesauce Cupcakes

Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes

The spicing is gentle; just the faintest hint of nutmeg & clove, and the applesauce makes them super moist. They’re not a light, airy cupcake; they’re just a bit dense and they’re super delish.

Generally, I don’t frost them. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they’re so moist, they don’t really need frosting. They’re absolutely flat on the top, so they practically scream out to be frosted, so I did today.

Grandma's Applesauce Cupcakes

Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes

For some reason I couldn’t help but think about the Ermine Buttercream frosting my Mom used. It’s always been a favorite and goes perfectly with the cupcakes.

I like Cream Cheese frosting, but I get a little tired of it sometimes. The cream cheese flavor can dominate and I think it would overpower these little cupcakes.

Grandma's Applesauce Cupcakes

Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes

Grandma always used shortening in her Applesauce Cupcakes but I’m a butter person with just a few exceptions. Snickerdoodles for one and my Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread for another. Other than that I generally update old recipes and use butter as I did here.

Did you know that there’s a slight difference in measurements when substituting butter for shortening? For every 1 cup of shortening in a recipe, you will need to use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter.

Grandma's Applesauce Cupcakes

Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes

Applesauce Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 1/2 cup shortening or 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour (stir to lighten flour and then spoon into measuring cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins (dark or golden) or chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream fat and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.

In another bowl, sift together (I just put in a bowl and whisk) flour, soda, cloves, nutmeg. Add in raisins or dates and nuts if using.

Add flour mixture alternately to creamed mixture in three additions alternating with applesauce, beginning and ending with flour.

Fill lined muffin cups about 2/3rds full (I used 1/3 cup scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until top springs back when gently touched.

from the kitchen of


You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #31 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!

Click over to our Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!

Of course, I can’t miss bringing this to Fiesta Friday #112, hosted by Angie and cohosted this week by Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked and Hilda @ Along The Grapevine. Wow, 112 consecutive weeks!


18 thoughts on “Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes

    • As I understand it, the butter is composed of slightly less fat than the shortening – and therefore on a straight one to one ratio, items made with butter may have a drier crumb.

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