True story: I was recently reading a blog and started clicking around, trying to find the more recent posts, wondering why the writer of the blog was talking about semi-current events, but the dates were all wrong. And then I realized that it is April. The end of April. Not the fall. The dates were right and I was (am?) just losing my mind.

Since I’m totally a mental health professional (I’m not), I spent about 5 minutes psychoanalyzing myself and have decided that after 3 months of morning sickness followed by 3 months of utter chaos, my brain has reset itself to the last time things were kind of normal. Also, due to said morning sickness, I skipped out on all sorts of cinnamony fall and winter treats because literally the only two things in the world that didn’t make me want to gag were big, ice-filled glasses of purple grape juice and Coke (not together; the idea of that makes me want to gag).

So apparently I’m now compensating for my lack of fallish baked goods because I have this overwhelming urge to make things like Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins. I just keep telling myself that brunch is a very springy thing and that you can never go wrong with coffee cake or muffins of any kind at brunch. Not that I’ve hosted or been to a brunch lately. But whatever.

For the cake part, you’ll need a yellow cake mix (if you’ve forgotten or weren’t around for previous posts on this subject, I’m a die-hard Duncan Hines brand loyalist, and no, this post is not being sponsored in any way by Duncan Hines), sour cream, canola oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (depending on your preference), tart apples, lemon juice, and an itty bit of all-purpose flour.

Preheat your oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.

Peel and chop the apples and then toss them in about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Then sprinkle the apples with 2 tablespoons of flour and toss them well to combine. Set the apples aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine the remaining cake ingredients. Beat on low for 30 seconds to incorporate the ingredients and then another 3 minutes on high. Fold in the apple mixture and then divide the batter evenly among the lined muffin tins.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/2 cup white sugar.

Add 3 tablespoons softened butter and cut it in with two knives or a pastry blender until crumbly.

Sprinkle the streusel topping over the cupcake batter. Place the pans in the preheated oven and bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and a pick inserted into the center of one of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans. Makes 24 muffins.



  1. 1
    Charlotte says:

    These look so good!! I want to make them now but I don’t have a cake mix handy, do you think these will still work with a basic muffin recipe?? Thanks

  2. 2
    Perdita says:

    i just said to a colleague at work ‘do these muffins sound OK?’ She said ‘NO THEY SOUND AMAZING!’ So I guess I know what I’m making for the next staff meeting hahaha!

    It’s really interesting what the same products are called in different places. Yellow cake mix is always called sponge in the UK, even though the ingredients, branding, picture etc’ are the same, he he it will work whatever the box is called I guess. And pie spice is just plain ‘mixed spice’, as all-purpose flour is just ‘plain flour’. Sigh, much less glamour over here in the baking aisle of Tescos hahaha!

    • 2.1
      Lisa says:

      Thanks for that Perdita! I’m a kiwi in London, just googled Duncan Hines yellow cake mix £17 on Amazon 🙁 so what relief can buy at Tesco 🙂
      Love this site and the amazing recipes and tips etc Thanks so much best bites x

  3. 3

    mmm..cinnamon coffee cake is one of my all time favorites…I dont know why I never though to turn them into muffins! you’re a genius! I cant wait to make these soon!

  4. 4

    These muffins sound delightful. Yum!

  5. 5
    Olivia says:

    Help with liners? Every time I use cupcake liners the food ends up sticking to the liners really bad. I’ve been spraying them with Pam, but they end up so greasy and messy. Any help?

  6. 6
    Patti says:

    That’s interesting, Kate. About a week ago, a saw a commercial for baseball and I thought “Oh, is it the World Series coming up?” Uh, NO! Baseball is just getting started. It’s not October, it’s April! I was very confused for a minute. So I completely understand your feeling of losing your mind.
    I made some muffins similar to these and the fun part was using ground-up cinnamon graham crackers in the streusel! It was great!

  7. 7

    I can totally relate to being off with the dates. I find it hard to believe that it’s the end of April as well! (probably because I had morning sickness at the end of November through January – and we’d moved at the end of September… So it all seems like a blur!) However I think the thing that keeps me most on track is looking forward to the ever approaching due date!
    These look delicious and I so want to go make them, but I have to buy a cake mix first…

  8. 8
    Paula says:

    I agree with only using Duncan Hines cake mix. Those with pudding in the mix end up with slimy texture which isn’t good to eat. I was at a party over a year ago and I got complements about my yummy cupcakes. I was even asked what my secret was. My answer, Duncan Hines. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Apples and cinnamon were made for each other.

  9. 9
    Chantel H. says:

    Feel for you with the pregnancy thing. I’m done in just under 3 weeks now, but I missed out on so much food-wise in the fall. This looks great!

  10. 10
    Deirdre says:

    Maybe there is something in the air too…I forgot how old I was and I’m definitely not so old that should be happening…
    Love the cupcake/muffin wrappers!

  11. 11
    Ann says:

    I guess I want to know a little more about your love affair with Duncan Hines cake mixes as I get compliments ALL THE TIME and I’m a Betty Crocker girl. Even when I bake a cake with no embellishment, I gets raves galore. I’m told it can’t be “just a cake mix.” Btw, for dietary reasons I usually substitute applesauce that I’ve wicked the moisture from by draining on a plate lined with 4-6 layers of paper towels.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’ve just had a very different cooking experience than you and desire more info. But then maybe I’ll just have to give DHs a try for myself so I can be sure I like what I think I like. 🙂

  12. 12
    Naomi says:

    These muffins sound great, but I wish this recipe did not include a cake mix. It’s just a pet peeve of mine. I know that cake mixes are a nice shortcut, but I’d rather use “real” ingredients, which is almost as easy. Cake mixes contain ingredients that I can’t pronounce, as well as artificial colors and flavors.

    • 12.1
      Melinda says:

      You can substitute the following any time a recipe calls for yellow cake mix:

      2 cups all-purpose flour
      1 1/2 cups sugar
      1 tablespoon baking powder
      1/2 cup non-fat dry milk

      It works perfectly!

  13. 13
    Jamie says:

    Yum-o! I’m all for brunchy goodies any time of the year, bring ’em on. = )

  14. 14
    Emily says:

    How would these be substituting rhubarb for the apple?

  15. 15
    Elaine W says:

    I happened to have a Duncan Hines Butter Crunch cake mix in my freezer, a couple of granny smith’ getting on the old side AND a smidge of sourcream (aha just enough) These were awesome. The crunch on the tops are such a contrast to the apply yummy inside. Thanks for an easy and delicious recipe.

  16. 16
    Stephanie says:

    These look amazing! However, I’m wondering, would it work to substitute plain yogurt for sour cream? Want to make them for my father-in-law but he can’t do sour cream in things. Thanks!!

    • 16.1
      Morgan says:

      you could use plain greek yogurt. it has the same texture and taste as sour cream, but its better for you. i use yogurt all the time as a sub and things turn out delicious!

    • 16.2

      Yep, totally! I use Greek yogurt a lot in place of sour cream, but I just didn’t mention it because can be a very expensive substitution.

    • 16.3
      Mommy J says:

      I substitute a good brand of plain yogurt for sour cream straight across all the time.(no HF corn syrup/gelatin)
      If you want the thicker texture of a greek yogurt, scoop a little extra into a cheesecloth lined strainer and let the yogurt drain for an hour or so in the fridge.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Amber says:

    The exact same thing happened to me! I had a baby in October, and I’m just now coming out of the mommy fog… so I missed out on all the fall baking. Guess who baked a pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins last week?! I’ve been craving something cinnamon too!

  19. 19
    Cathy says:

    I made these over the weekend and they were a hit with everyone! Thanks so much!

  20. 20
    Angela says:

    Ok I made these yesterday and they were soooooooo good. I felt like a chef or something. They tasted professional. Thank you thank you!! Oh & for the record, I used pillsbury cake mix and it was delicioso! 🙂

  21. 21
    Kathy E. says:

    What a fabulous recipe! I made these last night to share with my teaching colleagues and everyone LOVED them! I used jumbo muffin liners and pans to get 12 luscious treats. I subbed “apple pie spice” instead of the pumpkin type. I delivered them wrapped in a plastic bag and tied with a ribbon attached to a note saying “Happy May Day”. Thanks for sharing this and making several teachers happy today!

  22. 22
    Kelsey says:

    I only use Duncan Hines now and I only partly know why – because you said so!

  23. 23
    Debbie says:

    We made these muffins using a spice cake mix (omitting the spices called for in the recipe), substituting unsweetened applesauce for the sour cream, and adding some fresh rhubarb to the apples — amazing! 🙂

  24. 24
    Rebecca says:

    We are dairy free here, can we UAE almond milk or something else instead of sour cream?

  25. 25
    Valerie says:

    Have you tried making this in either a Bundt pan or 9″ x 13″? (not a muffin girl)

  26. 26
    michelle says:

    I have found that warm muffins often stick to the paper liners (and I make muffins in batches of 48). If you use a table knife to help separate it if you are trying to get a warm muffin out, it works a lot better.

  27. 27
    TeriAnn Lewis says:

    Made these for breakfast – they were yummy. I think next time I will make them for dessert and eat them with vanilla ice cream.

  28. 28
    Melissa says:

    I wonder if using streusel on the bottom of the muffins also would give them a crust similiar to costco apple muffins? or do you think they add something else for the crust? either way, i am making these this weekend! 🙂

  29. 29
    Lindsay says:

    Made these last night, sooo yummy!

  30. 30
    heather r. says:

    Made these this afternoon for a Sunday School treat and they are tasty! Thanks for another yummy treat! I’m going to throw the extras in the freezer for a quick breakfast on the way to work!

  31. 31
    Amy H. says:

    I just made these….YUM. Thank you!!

  32. 32

    Hi Kate!

    I just found your blog. These muffins look great! Just perfect for this time of the year! Although they are probably equally delicious in April 😉

    So I guess the baby is about 16 months now? Does she/he like them too?


  33. 33
    Julie says:

    These were so good! My 8-year-old said he’s going to “have a heart attack from the deliciousness”. 🙂

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