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.
No time to make homemade frosting? No worries! Just use a can of cream cheese or vanilla frosting and color it bright red with food coloring.