Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

I have had the baking bug for a while now so over the weekend I made some absolutely delicious cupcakes for a little get together with friends. My only criteria were that I wanted to try a new recipe and I wanted to (finally) make some homemade frosting with my KitchenAid mixer. I knew making homemade frosting would be SO much easier now that I have it, but hadn’t had an opportunity yet. Well, I decided to make an opportunity!

Orange Creamsicle Cupcake

I combined two different recipes for Orange Creamsicle cupcakes from Courtney at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life; the Orange Cream Soda Pop Cupcakes recipe and Soda Cupcakes recipe.

Cupcake IngredientsTo make the cupcakes I used 1 box of Classic White cake mix, mixed in a whole box of instant vanilla pudding, a whole box of orange Jell-O (minus 1.5 teaspoons that I saved for the frosting), one egg white, and 12 ounces of orange soda. (Ignore the cream cheese in this photo – not sure why I put it there.) The idea for mixing soda into the cupcakes comes from the Soda Cupcakes recipe linked to above, while the Jell-O and vanilla pudding come from the Orange Cream Soda Pop recipe.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

After everything was added I mixed it all together for about 2.5 minutes according to the directions on the box (30 seconds low speed, 2 minutes medium speed). If I were to make them again, I think I would cut down the mixing time just a little bit because I think I over-mixed this batch. It wasn’t a huge deal, but just an FYI; they looked well mixed after 1.5-2 minutes so I would stop at that next time.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes baking

After everything was mixed I filled up the cupcake tins. One note of warning – this batter is very thick and sticky so it isn’t easy to pour. I wound up scooping it out of the bowl and putting it in the tins rather than pouring it. The nice thing about this recipe though is that it wound up making 29 cupcakes. I typically find with mixes I have a hard time squeaking out the 24 that they list on the box so this was a nice change!

Orange Creamsicle Frosting Ingredients

While the cupcakes were baking, I made the frosting. I followed the recipe for the Cream Pop Frosting that is listed along with the Orange Cream Soda Pop cupcakes for the most part, but did deviate slightly. I used about 4.5 cups of powdered sugar, 1.5 teaspoons orange Jell-O, 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. I did not include the orange peel because I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like bothering with it at the time. I saved a little bowl of white frosting and then mixed in the Jell-O and some orange food coloring with the rest. I piped on the orange frosting first and then finished them off with a little tuft of “cream” frosting on top.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

I was so pleased with the final result! These tasted delicious! You could really taste the orange flavor in the cupcakes and the frosting complimented the cake perfectly. Everyone loved them which was great and I finally got to make homemade frosting. Better yet, it was the first time I made cream cheese frosting and I loved it – so great to work with!

Do you ever combine two different but similar recipes? Have you ever made soda cupcakes? I’ve been asked to do root beer float cupcakes and they sound so delicious I might try them out soon! What kinds of things are you baking in the kitchen?

Photo Challenge Check-in

One of the things I was (and still am) most excited about on my 30 by 30 list is the Photo-a-day challenge. I have always wanted to take a photo every day for a year, but now that I am in full swing of it, I never realized how hard that would be! Especially matching up the photos to the prompts I chose; I feel like my life just isn’t that interesting day-to-day. There are definitely days that stand out where I have something cool to share, but most days are just normal days. Nothing particularly note-worthy happens so finding something worth documenting can be a challenge.

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Another difficult aspect is the fact that I am doing photo prompts. I think in some ways it helps because it allows me to toss around ideas for things I could take pictures of. I also added certain prompts to the list so that I would keep up with my 30 by 30 list. At the same time, the pictures that I love taking are of food and nature and I didn’t include that many prompts associated with those things on my list. I didn’t really think of that when I was creating the list so if I were to ever do this again – or offer suggestions for others doing something like this – I would say to think about how your life is, and what you want to add to it, and build the list around that.

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I think at the same time, this is a really good challenge for me. This project is making me look at my days differently to find something special to share. Some days, I’ll admit, I feel like I cop-out and use some of the “easier” prompts on the list. At the same time, I’m also aware that I have only so many easy prompts so I need to think about what photo I can take for the day pretty much all day long. I am only a little over a month into the project so I think over time it will get easier though. I also feel like this project is making me more aware and in some respects more grateful for my day to day life. It requires me to evaluate every day (typically at the end of the day) and take stock of what I did. Considering the fact that this project is part of a larger one that has the ultimate goal of getting me closer to the person I want to be, I think this photo a day piece is unexpectedly useful.

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As part of this project I want to keep all the pictures in one central location so I can look back at them as a whole. I know I want to do something with all the pictures when I’m done, but haven’t figured out exactly what that will be yet. I’m debating if I want to do a photo book, create some sort of calendar collage, or something else entirely. In the meantime, I plan to update this new page – 30 x 30 Photo a Day Challenge – weekly or biweekly with the collection of Instagram pictures and the associated prompts. I sometimes take more than one Instagram picture a day so this page is helpful to see which ones are specifically associated with this project.

Have you ever done a year long photo challenge? What did you do with the pictures after? How do you stay on task with taking the photos?