I’ve always liked the flavor orange.
While other flavors like raspberry and strawberry have usually reigned supreme in most flavor face-offs, goodies like orange skittles, orange-flavored water spritzers, and orange sherbet have always proven tasty for my sweet tooth.
However, out of all the orange-flavored goodies out there, there have always been two that hold a special place in my heart. One of those is orange soda.
Did anyone else ever watch Kenan & Kel? Remember the “Kel loves orange soda” skit?
Well, I think I loved orange soda just as much as he did. Granted, I didn’t drink as much as he did, and I’ll only drink it on occasion now, but it’s still a welcomed treat.
Another thing I’ve always loved? Orange creamsicles. Growing up, we actually used to get these orange push-up pops from what we referred to as “The Schwan Man.” He would drive through our neighborhood with his truck and deliver the coveted creamy pops that we enjoyed on warm summer days in between playing games of hide & seek and riding bikes.
So now that the weather has started to heat up, and considering my immense love for cupcakes, it only seemed logical to recreate my favorite flavor in cupcake form.
Who’s with me?
Serves Makes 24 regular cupcakes & 12 mini cupcakes
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 3-oz package sugar-free orange jell-o
- 1 4-serving size package sugar-free cheesecake instant pudding & pie filling mix
- 1-1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 eggs*
- 1/2 cup egg substitute*
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 recipe Cream Pop Frosting (see recipe below)
- plastic straws, cut into thirds and fifths (optional)
- 1 8-oz. block Neufchatel 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
- remaining 1-1/2 tsp orange jell-o
- 1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
- For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liner or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside 1-1/2 teaspoons of the orange jell-o for the Cream Pop frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the remaining jell-o, cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, eggs, egg substitute, applesauce, and vanilla.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling each about 2/3 full, and smooth tops. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.
- Spoon orange-flavor Cream Pop frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or use a sandwich baggie with the corner tip cut off). Spoon the vanilla-flavor Cream Pop frosting into another bag fitted with a small star tip. Pipe orange frosting onto each cupcake to cover the top. Pipe a medium-sized star of white frosting onto each cupcake. If desired, insert a plastic straw into top of each cupcake. ENJOY!
- For the Frosting:
- Beat cream cheese, butter, and 2 tsp vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Place ~3/4 cup of the frosting in a separate bowl. To the remaining bowl of cream cheese frosting, add the reserved orange jell-o and orange peel. Beat to combine and frost as directed above.
*The original recipe called for 4 eggs- feel free to use all 4 or substitute all egg substitute. 4 eggs = 1 cup egg substitute.
Upon first bite, my #1 taste-tester (aka, hubby) gave a huge roll of the eyes, followed with a “Oh my god, Courtney, they actually taste like a real creamsicle.” Coming from him, this is quite a compliment, since he’s usually pretty low-key with his praise.
As usual, these baked goods were brought in with hubby to share with his co-workers. I’ve since been told that these are now the top favorite, which have jumped the rankings from this original #1 batch.
And just in case you didn’t notice, did you realize that these guys are healthified? Not much (I mean, they are still cupcakes with frosting and all), but a few simple tweaks helped make these slightly less guilt-laden.
But no worries, my friends! Just in case you’re still worried (because, I promise, they are addicting…) bake ‘em up with a little built-in portion control…
Mini cupcakes are always a hit and taste just as good as the big guys.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you about trying to twice as many…you know…because they’re mini.
Question for the Morning:
What is your favorite “flavor” of treats (i.e., orange, strawberry, grape, etc.)?