When I first started cooking and baking, there was no rhyme or reason to what I would make and when. I only had a small amount of recipes in my arsenal, so I made what I could based on what ingredients I had on hand and how many people needed to be fed. It was that simple.
But as my skills in the kitchen started to grow, I wanted to start challenging myself. Not just will the skills needed to make the recipes, but finding the right one to express both the season and how much I cared for the people I was feeding.
I love eating seasonally. You won't catch me making an apple pie in the summer. Heck no! And as much as I love pumpkin, I don't crack open a can until October. And that has allowed me to fully appreciate and explore the abundance of summer's bounty and flavors.
The thing about summer is, it's just so ... fun. As a working adult, I don't get to spend the summer days running through the sprinkler or riding my bike to the public library any more. And because of where I live, no more chasing down the ice cream man, either. But I have found ways to capture that carefree feeling through food.
Enter these cupcakes.
First off, what is more fun than cupcakes. For me, the cupcake brings back memories of birthdays and class parties in school. Lining the tins for my mother with the papers and licking the leftover bits of frosting from the can. And as for summer flavors, few are as iconic as the creamsicle. So when I needed to bring a dessert to a family gathering this summer, it was a no brainer.
Summer may be coming to a close, but there are plenty of days left to enjoy the flavors of the season.
Recipe from Woman's Day
Makes 24 cupcakes
- Orange Cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
Orange Cream Frosting
- 1 8-oz. brick cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- Orange paste food color (optional)
- Cupcakes: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt until blended.
- In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat eggs, orange zest, and vanilla until blended. Beat in remaining 1 cup sugar. Beat in oil, then buttermilk, until blended.
- On low speed, beat in flour mixture just until blended. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup.
- Bake 25 to 28 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
- Frosting: Beat cream cheese, vanilla and orange zest in a medium bowl with mixer on low speed to blend. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in orange food color, if using, until light orange. Refrigerate until firm enough to spread.
- Spread about 1 tablespoon frosting on each cupcake.