Friday, April 23rd, 2010
I have a confession to make. I’m not proud to admit it, but I sometimes cheat a little.
I’m all about the well-placed shortcut, but usually there’s a limit. My organic-eating, CSA-joining, homemade cleaner-using self typically bristles at and certainly tries to avoid things like this:
I know, I know. Preservatives, processed sugar, and ingredients I can’t identify? They’re all in that box. I’m slightly ashamed even now. What was I thinking?
I’ll tell you what I was thinking: orange cupcakes, now. You see, it’s been one of Those Weeks. I started the week with a to-do list (that at least felt) longer than my arm, full of those nit-picky things that never seem to get done. Appointments to schedule, phone calls to make — you know the drill. One thing proceeded to add to another and suddenly it’s the week that will not end. Seriously. It still isn’t over.
And when I saw this recipe, I couldn’t get it out of my head. The idea of light, fluffy orange cupcakes sounded like just what I needed. I tried briefly to concoct a slightly more homemade version, but, being one of Those Weeks, I gave up on that pretty quickly.
And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Betty Crocker knows her stuff, and with some orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla bean paste, she pretty much rocks. I promptly dropped these off at my husband’s office (to keep from eating the entire batch), and they were gone in record time. The office Foodie even raved over them. Enough said?
Orange Cupcakes with Fresh Orange Buttercream
Real Mom Kitchen
Makes about 28 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 package yellow cake mix
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
4 large eggs
For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, very soft
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, sugar, and orange zest. Whisk to combine. Add orange juice, canola oil, vanilla extract and eggs. Blend with the mixer on low speed for one minute, then speed it up to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake at 350°F until golden in color and a toothpick test comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar, then the juice and the zest. Beat until smooth and creamy.
Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. I used 6 cups total and wished I had added more. You’ll definitely want more like 8 cups if you’re baking these in warm weather. Use and store at room temperature, for about three days (ha!).
High-Altitude Notes: Fill cupcake papers 1/2 full and bake at 375°F.