Orange Soda Cupcakes

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Every year, I am very thankful for today. Because today is my brother’s birthday! Growing up, nearly all of my friends had sisters, but I was never jealous. Although I didn’t have a sister to share clothes and makeup with, I had something much better. I had Sean. We’ve gone through many phases in our sibling-hood. When we were children, he was my constant protector and guide, screaming “COLLEENIE!” whenever I would run away in the grocery store. Which was often, by the way. As teenagers he was there to force me into listening to good music and berate me when I was talking to a boy he didn’t like. Which was all of them, by the way. And now, he’s one of my best friends. But the great thing about having a best friend that is also your sibling is that they see you as clearly as possible. They know your strengths and weaknesses, your faults and your greatest attributes. They can recognize these things a bit clearer than so many other people in your lives, and they can definitely see you a bit clearer than you see yourself. To me, Sean is one of the strongest, smartest, kindest people I know. I’ve always been in awe of the way he can command the attention of any room he walks into, and the way he drops everything to help others…be it a complete stranger or his little sister. Happy Birthday Seanie!

I brought these cupcakes along to a birthday barbeque we had for Sean, and since he’s not really into sweets I brought him some beef jerky and beer. But all the cupcake lovers in our family gave rave reviews. The cupcakes are incredibly moist and decadent and truly taste like an Orange Creamsicle. The recipe and the picture are from one of my favorite blogs Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. Enjoy!

Orange Cream Soda Cupcakes: Recipe from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, Makes 24 cupcakes

For the 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
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 1 8oz package of low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon orange jello

Preparation:

  1. For the cupcakes, set aside 1- 1/2 teaspoons jello mix. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, instant pudding mix and remaining orange jello mix
  2. Add orange juice, eggs, applesauce and vanilla into dry ingredients and mix until well combined
  3. Line two muffin pans with muffin liners, and fill each 2/3 full with batter
  4. Bake cupcakes at 350 for 16-18 minutes
  5. To prepare frosting, place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
  6. Add vanilla extract  & remaining jello mixture until well combined
  7. Beat in sugar, one cup at a time until well combined
  8. After cupcakes have cooled, frost cupcakes
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Wedding Cake Tasting

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Our wedding is now less than a year away, so as we get closer to the date, I thought I would share a few wedding planning updates with you all. We’ve gotten quite a bit done since we got engaged last December, and it has been especially nice taking our time with the planning process. So far we have picked the venue, photographer, florist and band for our “Green & White” April wedding. We picked green and white as homage to our alma mater, Michigan State University. But we’re hoping for a subtle toast to our beloved MSU rather than a tailgate themed wedding. No pom pons or confetti, but still a good amount of green and white throughout.

And it probably will come at no surprise to you that the wedding planning task that Eric and I were most looking forward to was the cake testing. We aren’t overly concerned with how the cake looks, but since we’ve dubbed ourselves cake connoisseurs, we wanted to make sure it was very delicious. Back when I worked as a Wedding & Events Manager at a country club, I got to see (and sometimes taste) my fair share of wedding cakes. One of the bakeries that our brides at the club used the most often was Holiday Market, so we decided to try it out as well.

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We arrived at the market a little early and had no trouble passing the time strolling through the aisles. Eric even found an aisle devoted solely to barbeque sauce. Huge win.

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Soon enough it was time to meet with Leanne, our wedding cake consultant (talk about a fun job!) to look through some of her past work and taste some of the cakes. We had chosen 4 selections of flavors prior to our appointment so we knew ahead of time what we would get to taste. Eric and I both aren’t huge fans of cake with fruit fillings so we stuck to 4 varieties featuring mousse fillings.

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She brought out two little cakes that featured two of our selected flavors. We tried Yellow Cake with Chocolate Mousse filling, Yellow Cake with Strawberry Mouse filling, Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse filling and Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Mousse Filling. The cake was incredibly moist and flavorful and the buttercream frosting was light and fluffy and not overly sweet, which we loved. All of the mousse selections were pretty amazing but there was one clear winner. Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Mousse. It was incredible. But since we realize not every one has the exact same devotion to chocolate and peanut butter as we do, we are opting to utilize all of the flavors in different layers of our cake. We even got to take home the leftovers to share with our parents…. although we did warn them ahead of time, we may not have any of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake left to share. Yum!

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Peppermint Chocolate Cake Balls

I have a confession. Because it’s Christmas. And at Christmas time you tell the truth. (Hello, Love Actually) Not all of my baking experiments are successful. In fact, a lot of my genius baking ideas turn out to be mishaps. … Continue reading