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Apple Spice Cupcakes

 Apple Spice Cupcakes
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.
24 ServingsPrep: 25 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1 package spice cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Red paste or liquid food coloring
  • 24 pieces black licorice (3/4 inch)
  • 12 green spice gumdrops

Directions

  • 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.

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Apple Spice Cupcakes (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • Cut gumdrops in half; flatten and pinch to form leaves. Place one
  • leaf next to each stem. Yield: 2 dozen.
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 241 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 48 mg cholesterol, 222 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 3 g protein.