Apple Spice Cupcakes

1 pkg. spice cake mix

1 ¼ c. water

3 eggs

1/3 c. applesauce


1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

4 c. confectioners’ sugar

¼ c. butter or margarine softened

1 tsp. vanilla

In large mixing bowl, beat cake mix, water, eggs and applesauce on LOW for 30 seconds or just until moistened. Beat on MEDIUM for 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into 24 paper-lined baking cups. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.  In small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in red food coloring if desired. Frost tops of cupcakes. If you wish to make them look like apples-use red paper muffin liners, tint frosting red, insert ¾” piece of black licorice into centers for apple stems. Cut green spice gumdrops in half; flatten and pinch to form leaves. Place leaf next to each stem. Yield: 2 dozen.