about 16 to 18 cupcakes
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice, if desired, salt, and nutmeg and cloves, if desired.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Alternately add flour mixture and applesauce, in thirds, mixing well after each addition. Fill muffin pans, 2 3/4-inches in diameter, individually lined with paper baking cups, two-thirds full. Bake in a pre-heated moderate oven (375 degrees F.) for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Remove and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Frost each with Caramel Frosting.
Note: If cake flour is not available, use a soft wheat flour, such as White Lily brand for a better texture of cupcakes.
Note: Cupcakes freeze well wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Variations: Fold 1 cup chopped English walnuts or pecans, or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces, or ½ cup of each into batter. Yield: about 20 cupcakes.
Omit cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves.
For Chocolate Applesauce Cupcakes, melt 2 ounces (squares) unsweetened chocolate over very low heat; cool and stir into batter. Reduce oil to ½ cup.
enough to frost 16 to 18 cupcakes
In a small heavy saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar. Cook over moderate heat until mixture bubbles around edge of pan, then reduce heat and simmer ( bubbles will form around edge of pan but will not have large boiling bubbles throughout mixture) for 1 minute. Transfer hot mixture to a bowl and allow to cool for 30 seconds. Stir in half-and-half, vanilla, and salt. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until mixture is of desired spreading consistency(not too stiff and not too runny). Beat in caramel flavoring, if desired. Frost thoroughly cooled cupcakes, dividing frosting evenly.