Atlas makes these apple-like cakes for back-to-school events and bake sales, but you can vary the color of the sanding sugar on top to make them look like any fruit.

Makes 12 cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • Red sanding sugar
  • 2 cups of vanilla buttercream
  • 12 2-inch-long thin pretzels
  • 12 green Sour Patch candies, each cut into the shape of a leaf with kitchen shears or a leaf cutter


Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Line a standard cupcake tin with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the applesauce, until just combined. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula a few times to make sure the batter is combined. Divide evenly among the cupcake cups.

Bake until the tops are golden and just firm to the touch, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Put the sanding sugar on a dinner plate. Coat the top of each cupcake with 2 tablespoons of the buttercream, smoothing it with an offset spatula. Roll the cupcake around in the sanding sugar to coat it entirely. Slide a pretzel stick in the center of each cupcake and tuck a sour Patch leaf next to it. Arrange the cupcakes on footed cake stands and place on the table.

From Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It by Amy Atlas. Copyright © 2012 Amy Atlas and The Stonesong Press, LLC. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

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