It is freezing here in Ohio and I mean a bone chilling, teeth chattering, freezing…a whopping 12 degrees. The bad part is that it’s not even snowing, my theory is simple…if it’s going to be this cold, at least gimme a snow day, but unfortunately I have not gotten a single one this year! In the midst of this Ohio deep freeze, I was craving a little piece of summer and just happened to have some gorgeous oranges on my counter. I adapted a very simple recipe from the Joy of Baking, tweaking it just a bit to tantalize your taste buds with a lovely burst of orange. I then piped on some cream cheese frosting and enjoyed a little bit of summer! Bake these little beauties in bright cupcake liners, top them with sparkling sugar and I am betting that you will make the special people in your life very happy! Have a fabulous day and stay warm!

Notes:
Cupcake Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking;
Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from The Repressed Pastry Chef
Cupcake liners from World Market
Icing Tip from Bake It Pretty

Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of pure orange extract
Zest of 1 orange (optional)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Place the sugar and orange zest into the bowl of your mixer and blend until moist and fragrant. Add in butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and orange extracts.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.
-Makes 12 cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting
(1) 8 ounce package of cream cheese; room temperature
2 tablespoon of butter; room temperature
1 tablespoon of shortening
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar; add more to reach desired consistency
Directions
1. Combine cream cheese, shortening and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until smooth, creamy and well blended.
2. Blend in the vanilla extract.
3. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

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