Not only do these adorable cupcakes complement our apple theme, but they're super sellers at bake sales, too. 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.
- 1 package spice cake mix (regular size)
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter, 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
- In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, water, eggs and applesauce on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
- Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. 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. Yield: 2 dozen.
Originally published as Apple Spice Cupcakes in Quick Cooking September/October 2002, p16
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