2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups canned or pureed pumpkin
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or whatever proportional combo you like best of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and maybe some ginger)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the sugar, oil and apple sauce. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix all of the dry ingredients in another bowl, then slowly add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients.
Grease a mini muffin tin or use baking cups (I found some really cute ones at Michael's for about the same price as the plain white ones). Fill about two thirds of the way.
Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and then flip the cupcakes out onto a cooling rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling make the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
5-6 cups powdered sugar (can add more for thicker frosting)
2 tsp vanilla
Beat the butter and cream cheese together, then gradually add the powdered sugar and finally the vanilla (and any food coloring you may want to use).
Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!
You'll end up with a lot of frosting, so unless you like gobs of frosting on your cupcakes, I recommend halving the recipe (I ended up with a bunch leftover; not that having some extra frosting in the house is a terrible thing!). This frosting is fairly soft, but if you want to firm it up a bit just add more powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. The frosted cupcakes should be refrigerated.
Inspiration for cupcake recipe found here.