Orange Cream Dreams

Remember those amazing popsicles we had as kids, with the sweet vanilla ice cream in the center surrounded by tart orange sherbert on the outside? I believe they were called Dreamsicles. Well those popsicles were the inspiration for these heavenly cupcakes. I have such fond memories of summers growing up in the hot California sun. Popsicles were a must for every kid (both young and old,) and Orange Dreamsicles were mine and my dad’s favorite. Well Fudgesicles too, but don’t worry, I’m working on a cupcake for that too. In the meantime here is a recipe guaranteed to knock your socks off and probably make you want to slip on your Jellies sandals too.

These delightfully fresh cupcakes were so easy to make; I even cheated and used a box of cake mix for the base. Of course if you have a favorite recipe for white cake, by all means use it. I was just looking for a quick and easy fix to fulfill my cravings for this cool summer treat. What really makes these cupcakes so fantastic, is the frosting! I adapted a vanilla cream-cheese frosting recipe by simply adding lots of orange. The result: a perfect blend of smooth vanilla cream at the start and a surprisingly bright tart orange finish that leaves you begging for more. Oh yes my friends. These little devils are addicting! I bet you can’t eat just one.

Cake Recipe:
1 box white cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/3 c butter softened, but not melted
zest of one orange (aprox. 1 TBLS)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Orange extract
Orange food coloring (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325, and lightly grease, baking pans or muffin tin or whatever you are baking the cake in. Set aside, and lets begin.
2. Beat butter on low to medium speed with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add cake mix and orange juice until well incorporated. Then add eggs and beat until just incorporated. Do not over-beat or your cake will be flat, and nobody wants a flat cake!
4. Then stir in zest, extracts and food coloring by hand, again, just until well incorporated.
5. Poor into pans and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
APPROXIMATE BAKE TIMES:
13×9: 20-25 min, Mini Muffin Tin: 12-17 min, Standard Muffin Tin: 15-20 min, 9 in cake rounds 18-25 min
I recommend starting with a low time setting and checking your cake often so as not to overcook it.

Frosting Ingredients:
8 oz room temperature cream cheese
4 oz. room temperature butter
3 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp orange extract
fresh squeezed juice of one small orange
food coloring (optional)

Directions:
1. Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (aprox 4 min.)
2. Gradually mix in powdered sugar and orange juice.
3. Mix in extracts and food coloring if you choose.

Decorating and Serving Suggestions

  • Divide frosting in half, add orange food coloring to one half. Spoon frosting into piping bag fitted with an open star decorating tip, alternating between white and orange frosting. Pipe a swirl of frosting on each cupcake. The end result will look like orange and vanilla swirled soft serve ice cream.
  • Make these cupcakes a day in advance and allow them to cool in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. The frosting will firm up and will be just like a popsicle! These chilled cupcakes will be great for summer barbeques and other hot outdoor activities this summer. Hope you enjoy!!!

Tea Party Shower

In our family we like to keep our babies’ gender a surprise until after they are born; just as nature intended it. For this reason we often wait until after the baby is born, and throw a combined baby shower and “meet the baby party.” My sister-in-law recently had a baby girl; they named her Lilja, which means Lily in Gaelic. I was asked to help with the baby shower and graciously accepted. I’d been waiting for the opportunity to host a girly tea party for someone and this being my sister in law’s first girl, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. After convening with my co-hostesses, I got the green light and was put in charge of the cupcake tower and decorations. Since our beautiful new addition was named after a flower, we decided that the tea party should have a floral theme as well. I decorated the cupcake tower with pink, yellow and lavender paper, white tulle and pink and yellow bows, then started planning the cupcakes. Fondant flowers, heaps of fluffy buttercream and colored baking cups danced around in my head. I couldn’t wait to get started! After a quick trip to the store for some special ingredients and a box of allergen free cake mix for my cousin and her daughter, I was off to work on a very special baking and decorating adventure. It was so much fun! Check out how the party turned out!

Cupcakes with buttercream frosting and fondant Calla Lilies and Gluten and Dairy Free chocolate cupcakes with glistening pink flowers and rainbow dot sprinkles.

For the top of the tower I made a tiny layered cake and decorated it like a giant cupcake.

;

And another view.

Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes!!!

ok, just one more view. Can you tell I was really proud of this one?

The whole sha-bang!

I didn't make this diaper cake, but it was so darling, I had to share it with you. This is Grandma's first diaper cake! Didn't she do great!?

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