Apple Cider Muffins: The Secret Recipe Club

It is time again for the Secret Recipe Club (SRC)! This month I was assigned to {Sweetly} Serendipity and I found the perfect fall recipe on Taryn’s site. I had so much fun browsing through all of her delicious recipes, it was a tough decision–as always! If you’re unfamiliar with the SRC, make sure to check out the website. You can also browse my previous recipes that were part of the SRC: Zucchini, Red Pepper and Carrot Pancakes, Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Grape Sauce, Asian Grilled Chicken, and Chicken Enchiladas Verde.

Taryn’s apple cider muffins are adapted from Apple Cider Bread on Lori’s (Recipe Girl) site, another blog that I love, so I was sure this would be a winning recipe. I decided to make it back into bread like the original recipe….


I failed.

(I told you from the beginning that I would share my failures. So there it is. Ugly, gooey, and blurry to boot. Still tasty though. Not that I would eat under-cooked bread…) 

I thought the toothpick was clean, I really did! Turns out it was very much under-baked in the middle so I went back to the drawing board. This time I decided to stick with muffins.

I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe, as always. I subbed out half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour to give it a little health-boost. (Note: The preparation photos are actually of the bread, not the muffins–the bread was entirely all-purpose flour, I added the whole wheat to the muffins only.)

I also left the peels on the apples.


  • I think the color they add.
  • They get quite tender if they are cut small enough.
  • Extra fiber.
  • I’m very lazy and I had to make this recipe twice. <—real reason.

These muffins did not disappoint. They were delicious. I topped the bread with a little cinnamon-sugar mixture, and meant to do the same with the muffins but I forgot. I think Taryn put a glaze on her muffins which would be great too.

Apple Cider Muffins
adapted from Sweetly Serendipity and RecipeGirl

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
2 1/4 cups chopped apples (I probably used more like 3 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease, spray, or line muffin tins (makes about 18).
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves.
3. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs.
4. Add in half of the flour mixture, mix until just combined, then add in half of the cider, mix until just combined.
5. Repeat step 4 with the rest of the flour and cider.
6. In another small bowl, mix together chopped apples with lemon juice. Fold these into the batter.
7. Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comers out clean.
8. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from muffin tins.

Verdict: Delicious! Great recipe for fall, especially if you’re sick of pumpkin!
Husband’s take: He ate all the outside of the failed bread and said “This is the best bread I’ve ever tasted!” Have I mentioned how much I love this guy?
Changes I would make: Well, I wouldn’t screw it up again. Hopefully. I was tempted to make it more low-cal by adding applesauce and decreasing the butter…but I was scared to mess it up again so I left it alone. This time.
Difficulty: Easy. Just take a good, close look at that toothpick before turning off the oven!

Make sure you follow the links to the other great recipes that were part of the SRC reveal!

When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!


  1. i made them just now. I was out of clove powder so just used cinnamon. I did peel the apples though, my 3 year old does not like apple peels. They were am-mazing! the best muffins I have ever had. Thanks so much. Even my little finicky eater gave it two thumbs up!

  2. Hi! I found your website by searching for a recipe for these amazing “ugly apple” muffins I get at my favorite cafe in LA. Your recipe has helped me to home-make these. Only thing I do different is add walnuts and raisins. Maybe you want to try it too! Thanks and have a Merry Christmas!!

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  5. The fall months are always welcoming when you have a nice glass of apple cider. Thanks for the muffin recipe.

  6. I have never seen a better looking muffin. MMM

  7. I have NEVER thought of leaving the peel on! I am totally down for that, I hate peeling everything! This week I am making a few apple recipes and I will be sure to try it! Thanks!

    Thanks for being a part of the SRC, Group B, I love being your host (new assignments coming soon)! My recipe was for Frozen Breakfast Burritos. Check it out if you haven’t had the chance already, I know I am a few days behind (sorry!)

  8. Yum! Looks great! Fun to participate in SRC with you!

  9. These look wonderful and I will be making them.

    If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my group “A” SRC recipe this month: Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  10. I love that all of the apple pieces are so visible in the muffins. They look wonderful!

  11. I just love muffins. These look so good! I’d leave the peel on the apple too, for the same reason. ;)

  12. looks like a great recipe — nothing like a warm cider muffin with apples for the fall.

  13. these sound fabulous! i love the big chunks of apples.

  14. These sound delicious, and perfect for fall!! And we all have failures – I’m always grateful when bloggers share theirs so that I don’t feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t have things come out perfectly!

  15. Looks like a yummy fail. I always find myself eating the edges of my fails too. I tell myself it is for recipe research. I love apple muffins. These look like the perfect fall grab and go breakfast.

  16. I always leave the peel on the apples too. Not for color, but because I’m too lazy to peel the apples. And I’ Never, in a million years eat under cooked bread, nope not me. Yaaaaa right, I’d still gobble it up! Looks good, cooked or not ;)

  17. These look delicious! I think these would be great for making the night before and grabbing on my way out the door in the morning. Thanks for sharing!

  18. These look great! I would have left the skin on the apples too. Why do extra work if you don’t have to?!

  19. Delicious! I love apple muffins. Also, I think that apple bread always lies. It says it’s done…really it’s not.

  20. Those muffins looks yummy… I’d love something like this for breakfast. Bread is a finicky thing, I keep my fingers crossed each time and am at rest only once I’ve cut into it … the anxiety of it all, I tell you. But in the end its always worth it! :)

  21. Regardless of what you think I like the way your muffins look. In fact, your cider looks really good to me and I would love some hot cider right now. I’m cold and my throat is a bit scratchy. Both sound yummy to me!

  22. These muffins looks amazing! I am always looking for new apple recipes so I might try these out…

  23. I am loving those huge chunks of apples in those muffins. What a great snack. Don’t feel badly about the bread. I have had SO many quick breads fail on me because of those dang toothpicks.

  24. great looking muffins! Too bad the bread failed because it would have been great as well!

  25. We all have recipe fails! And, you turned yours upside down into something wonderful! That’s the best part!

  26. Those look awesome!! And what is this Secret Recipe club??!!! I’m going to read a bit deeper once my girls go to sleep tonight!! And…I’m linking one of your fantastic recipes tomorrow for my countdown to Halloween. Now I just have to find which one!

  27. These muffins look fab! I love apple cider – I practically drink it by the gallon these days. ;)

  28. I’m glad to see an apple recipe. Poor apples haven’t been getting as much attention this season. These are my kind of muffins!

  29. Oh, goodness! YUM! I need to make these soon! I have been looking for a good apple muffin recipe!

  30. You did a good job,and glad you show your mishaps. I recently took a sheet of cookies out of oven only to have them slice and fall in the oven, between the cracks. what a mess, guess that is why one should use a rimmed baking sheet. all those pieces of apple, so pretty andi

  31. yum! I enjoy anything with apples and cider so this is a must make for me.

  32. I love muffins and the kids love them as snacks. I frequently have the same problem with bread that has fruit or veggies in it (like zucchini bread.) I have read that it is due to too much moisture in the mix. I tried to make a spaghetti squash cake last week and had the same problem even though I baked longer than the recipe said. I am going to try again though!

  33. They look delicious! Muffins made with apples AND cider are sure to be a winner!

  34. The muffins look so delicious, perfect for fall. Your presentation is very nice! Thanks for sharing and it is fun cooking with you in the SRC!
    Miz Helen
    Southwest Corn and Potato Soup

  35. Love that you went back and gave this another try as muffins! I tend to prefer muffins because I can always be certain they are ready to come out of the oven… or I make mini loaves!

  36. I did the same fail with a recipe the other week and just cut the failure into chunks and dried them out in the oven for rusks! Your muffins look great :)

  37. Fail or no fail; Imma bouta stick my whole mouth in that.

  38. Looks delicious even if they were a little gooey! Hope you had a great weekend Rachel.

  39. A warm apple cider muffin fresh from the oven…the ultimate fall breakfast! Gorgeous photos…Theresa

  40. they look fabulous! Can’t wait to try them…and I am a big fan of UNDERbaked baked goods. I think your fail looks not so shabby :)

  41. These look SO delicious!! I may have sat and just stared at the first photo in this post for a good 15 seconds…I just wanted to start pulling those apple chunks out of the muffin and chowing down. :)

    P.S. Thanks for sharing your “oops” moments, too–it’s nice when we can all be real with each other as bloggers!

  42. Apple muffins are one of my favourite fall treats and this has the perfect blend of fall spices. Sound so yummy!

  43. Gah, I hate when I think something’s done and it’s not! The muffins look fantastic though! My kids would love them!

  44. These look incredible and you did a fantastic job. These muffins scream fall and I can only imagine their taste. Excellent, and a must try!
    Thanks <3

  45. These look delicious and thanks for sharing the fail. It’s obvious we all have fails in the kitchen, but you’re awesome enough to share them as well!

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