1 package (18.25 ounces) spice cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup applesauce
1 (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
4 cups powdered sugar
Red food coloring gel
12 thin pretzels, broken in half
24 green leaf shaped gumdrops, sliced in half
24 red paper cupcake liners
In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 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.
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon and gradually mix in powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes. To make the cupcakes look like apples color the frosting red. Place half a pretzel in center top of cupcake to look like stem. Place two gumdrop halves near pretzel to look like leaves. Makes 24 cupcakes.