Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes from the kitchen of Elizabeth Brunetti (adapted from Paula Deen)
For the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I used Softasilk)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
8 oz. fat-free sour cream
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp fresh orange zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz. Neufchatel (1/3 the fat of cream cheese), room temperature
3 cups confectioner\'s sugar (add more for a thicker frosting)
4 Tbsp orange juice Zest of 1/2 an orange
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line two (12-count) muffin tins with liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry cupcake ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a hand mixer, work in the wet ingredients: eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins. (I found that about 1/4 cup of batter per liner worked very well.)
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until slightly golden brown on top and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
Combine all of the icing ingredients in a medium bowl and incorporate them using a hand mixer, until smooth.
Taste to ensure you have the right orange-vanilla ratio.
Add more juice or extract as needed.
To fill the cupcakes, cut off the very tip of a bottom corner of a plastic Ziploc storage bag, and insert a small cake decorating tip (or, if you\'re fancy like I hope to be someday, use an actual pastry bag). Push the tip gently into the top of the cupcake (you may have to hold onto the tip to keep it from sliding back into the bag) and squeeze the icing in until the cupcake plumps.
Finish icing the top of the cupcakes as usual.
To serve, garnish with some orange wedges or a little fresh orange zest sprinkled on top of the cupcake. Enjoy!