Apple Spice Cupcakes
  • Servings: 24
  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) spice cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Red paste or liquid food coloring
  • 24 pieces black licorice (3/4 inch)
  • 12 green spice gumdrops
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, water, eggs and applesauce on low speed for 30 seconds or just until moistened. Beat on medium for 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into 24 red paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in food coloring. Frost tops of cupcakes. Insert licorice into centers for apple stems. Cut gumdrops in half; flatten and pinch to form leaves. Place one leaf next to each stem.
  3. Yield: 2 dozen.
They're super sellers at bake sales. A spice cake mix makes the moist treats a snap to stir up, and a fast frosting helps them stand out from an orchard of goodies. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin