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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

For my husband's birthday last month, Aubrey and I surprised him by visiting him at work with a dozen cupcakes to share with his office.  I wanted to do something different and I was inspired by a new drink that my sister and her husband introduced us to - a cocktail of orange Fanta and whipped vodka.  The cupcakes were a little more acceptable for the office, although I'm sure the vodka would have been appreciated!

The recipe is a combination of a few different sources - I adapted the recipe on I Heart Cuppycakes who adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes and Dulcedo.  The cake is really moist and don't skip the orange zest because it adds so much flavor and I love seeing the little bits of zest in the cake.  The marshmallow cream is a great addition to these cupcakes, it really gives it the creamsicle flavor instead of just an orange cupcake. 

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from I Heart Cuppycakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 T citrus olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 T vanilla
2 eggs
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with paper liners.  (This made 16 cupcakes for me.)

Combine butter, olive oil and sugar and mix on medium high speed about three minutes until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix about one more minute until well incorporated.  Stir in orange zest.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Separately combine heavy cream and orange juice.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the cream mixture and repeat, finishing with the flour.  Mix until just incorporated after each addition. 

Scoop batter into prepared liners, filling about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake about twenty minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans about five minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Marshmallow Cream Filling:
7 oz marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cut butter into small pieces and add to fluff in a mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Cut a small cone shape into the top of each cupcake and spoon marshmallow cream into wells allowing the cream to puddle on top of the cupcake slightly.  (Don't add too much, when you add the buttercream, it will cause the cream to move out toward the edges of the cupcakes.)

Orange Buttercream:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 - 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Add orange juice, zest, and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing until incorporated to reach desired consistency.  Whip on medium high speed about two minutes until smooth and creamy.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with desired tip and pipe onto cupcakes. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Lately anything that can be made in five minutes or with one hand is what I'm making for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  These smoothies fit the bill - with a bonus that I only need one hand to drink it too.  Things involving forks and knives haven't been happening too often lately. 

This "recipe" is more of a method, you can change out the fruit to whatever you like best.  The yogurt is a must have for me - but feel free to use plain or vanilla or even another flavor if you prefer - but it really adds to the creamy smooth texture of the smoothie.  I also always combine fruit juice and milk instead of just milk to add some extra flavor.  Orange juice is my favorite but I also sometimes use cranberry juice - it's especially good with blueberries in your smoothie.  My final tip is frozen berries - using frozen berries means you don't have to add ice.  Your smoothie will have so much more flavor if you use frozen fruit instead of ice which dilutes the smoothie.  Occasionally I use frozen banana too - it's a great way to use up bananas that are almost past their prime, peel them, cut them into big chunks and freeze in a Ziploc bag and then use throw them in smoothies.

If you want to add some extra protein to your smoothie, mix in a scoop of protein powder and its a great post workout snack.  I prefer to mix the milk, OJ and powder by itself before adding the fruit because I think it gets rid of the grittiness that can sometimes result from adding protein powder to things.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

8-10 large frozen strawberries
1 banana
1/2 cup milk (I use skim)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for about two minutes until smooth.  Pour and serve.  This makes 2-4 smoothies depending on the serving, for breakfast I usually split this between my husband and I, as a snack, it would serve four.

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