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Easy summer baking: Orange creamsicle cupcakes

Simple white cake mix is made special with the addition of orange juice and zest, vanilla and yogurt for an easy summer treat.
Simple white cake mix is made special with the addition of orange juice and zest, vanilla and yogurt for an easy summer treat.
Photo by Michelle Hein

These orange creamsicle cupcakes celebrate summer flavor without the melt-factor. Since summer isn’t usually a time when you want to spend too much time in the kitchen, this recipe starts with a simple cake mix and then adds a few ingredients to make it special. Instead of using the oil, water and eggs that cake mixes typically call for, you’ll add orange juice and zest along with vanilla extract and Greek yogurt. The result is a light and moist cupcake with a fresh orange flavor. An orange-infused buttercream frosting tops them for a summer treat that’s great for birthday parties, barbecues, or just any day that you feel like having something special.

Cupcake ingredients:

  • 1 box of white cake mix (Betty Crocker Super Moist white cake mix used here)
  • 1 cup orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (5.3 oz.) single-serve container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (Oikos used here)

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Using an electric mixer, combine all of the cake ingredients. Do NOT add ingredients on the cake mix box. Use only the cake mix and the ingredients listed in this recipe.
  • Using cupcake liners, fill cupcake molds about 1/2-3/4 full.
  • Bake cupcakes for approximately 20 minutes, or until tops have firmed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  • To prepare the frosting, cream the butter using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add the orange zest, juice and vanilla and mix to combine.
  • If the frosting is too thin, add more sugar. If it’s too thick, add a little more orange juice.
  • Decorate cupcakes as desired. (Orange slice candies used in addition to frosting here.)
  • Makes 16 cupcakes.
  • (Recipe inspiration found here.)

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