Day 5 of The 2012 Apple Challenge: Applesauce-Spice Cupcakes

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I love to plan. Making my weekly "to do" list is one of my favorite things. I know that makes me odd -- my colleagues tease me about it all the time -- but it works for me.

That being said, I did NOT plan to make applesauce-spice cupcakes the day after making homemade applesauce. The original plan was to make dried apple rings, but I'm working in the Iowa City newsroom today and they miss out on yummy treats all the time, so I decided to change my plan and make something sweet instead.

The fact that I had a container of homemade applesauce in the refrigerator was a happy coincidence.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • Brown-Sugar Cream-Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

With an electric mixture on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add applesauce and then flour mixture, beating until just combined after each. Stir in pecans by hand.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.


  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
With an electric mixture on medium-high speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to a room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth.

Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living (Clarkson Potter; June 2, 2009)


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