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Dessert

Fall Leaves Cupcakes

We started with mix-easy cupcakes, then added apples and pumpkin pie spice for a perfect-for-fall treat.

Serving Size:

24

Active Time:

1 hr., 30 min.

Total Time:

2 hrs. + cooling time

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. French vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1½ cups grated, peeled apples

Decorations:

  • 1 cup dark cocoa candy melts, melted
  • 4 cups white candy melts
  • Green, orange, red and yellow oil-base candy colorings
  • 24 caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 24 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Orange edible glitter

Instructions

Make cupcakes:

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Line 24 muffin cups with liners. On low speed, beat first 4 ingredients and ½ cup water 30 sec.; on medium speed, beat 2 min. Stir in apples. Divide among liners.
  2. Bake until pick inserted comes out clean, 20 min. Cool.

Make leaves:

  1. Transfer cocoa candy melts to disposable pastry bag; snip tip. On piece of parchment or wax paper, use melted cocoa candy to create outline of a leaf; repeat to make 24 outlines of each leaf. Let dry, about 10 minutes.
  2. Divide melted white candy melts among 4 bowls; tint one bowl green, one orange, one red and remaining bowl yellow with candy coloring. Transfer each color to separate disposable pastry bag; snip tips.
  3. Working with one leaf at a time, fill in outline with different colors of candy melts. Using toothpick, immediately swirl. Let dry, about 10 minutes. If necessary, microwave bags of candy in 10-second intervals to re-melt.
  4. Peel leaves from paper, turn over and pipe on veins; let dry.

Make acorns:

  1. One at a time, soften caramels between fingers and shape into caps; press onto flat sides of Kisses. With knife, score crosshatch pattern onto caps. Reserve.

Make frosting:

  1. On medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Add cream cheese and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. On low, gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until blended; on high, beat until fluffy. In batches, transfer frosting to pastry bag fitted with round tip (such as Wilton #2A). Pipe over cupcakes; sprinkle with edible glitter. Garnish cupcakes with leaves and acorns.

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