1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix (with pudding)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup Mott’s® Natural Applesauce
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 vanilla bean
seeds removed and set aside
1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup water
½ cup Mott’s® Natural Applesauce
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare cupcake pans with paper liners.
Combine cake mix, pumpkin, applesauce, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice in a large bowl. Using electric mixer, combine until thick cake batter forms.
Portion into prepared cupcake tins, about 2 tablespoons each. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and the tops begin to brown.
For the Frosting: With an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip cream cheese and butter until well combined, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and whip until incorporated.
Add 3 cups of powdered sugar, one cup at a time, whipping the frosting to incorporate each cup fully before adding the next. Add the vanilla seeds and whip one last time. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.
For the Candy: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and pecan pieces, if desired.
Combine sugar, water, Mott’s® Natural Applesauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large saucepan. Heat on medium until mixture starts to boil. Stir regularly until candy reaches hard-crack phase (300 degrees F on a candy thermometer, or until the candy audibly crackles when dropped into a cup of cold water).
Pour prepared candy over powdered sugar and pecan pieces. Allow to completely cool and harden before breaking into pieces. Sprinkle onto frosted cupcakes.