sunshine colored orange


So…as you might have noticed from past blog entries, Char is generally our resident foodie. Now, I am a great food appreciator, no bones about that. I was raised with a mama who is an excellent cook, and delicious homemade dishes were a part of every childhood celebration. Unfortunately though, I got skipped on the cooking gene (or, as is more likely, I missed out on the gene that motivates me to practice and experiment with cooking so that I get decent at it). Hence, Char posts the great recipes, and I salivate over her pictures and descriptions.

UNTIL TODAY. (cue fanfare)

Yep, that’s right. I was home for long enough this weekend to get down and dirty in the kitchen to make one of the best desserts known to mankind:

Cupcakes!! And not just any cupcakes, but the quintessentially perfect summer cupcakes. Can you feel the excitement? Oh yeah.

As temperatures rise here in the Southern California desert, I crave something lighter and sweeter, as opposed to heavier and chocolatey-er. This Williamsburg Orange Cake recipe is one of my favorites–and as I found out today it is totally doable for even a cooking-novice like myself. The key element? A little of mom’s cooking philosophy: mix easy elements with delicious elements and you’ve got a winner recipe.

This original recipe calls for all your typical cake-baking goods: flour, soda, etc etc. Mom changed it to start with your typical boxed yellow cake mix. You basically follow the back-of-the-box directions, and just add in grated orange peel from the original recipe. I know, I know, cooking purists are shaking their heads in pain right now. I PROMISE the finished product is still absolutely delicious. PROMISE. Would I lie to you?

In case you haven’t grated orange peel before (like moi), you want to get the peel just down to where the white area starts to show through. The orange stuff will give you flavor, while the white stuff is just bitter. Blegh. On a side note, doesn’t this orange-in-the-buff remind you of this Pixar character after he’s all shaved and bare? Hehehe…

Other than that, blend up your batter, pour it into the pan (or in this case, cupcake sheets) and toss it into the oven. The time they need to bake should allow you enough time to whip up the frosting.

The orange flavor in the frosting comes from more grated orange peel, plus your choice of either orange juice or, well, a juiced orange. For these, I used half fresh squeezed orange and half concentrated orange juice.

Nothing terribly tricky about this frosting, just continue to add orange peel with powdered sugar to reach your ideal balance of sweetness and viscosity.

I hadn’t even finished frosting them before the family started nibbling them up! Okay okay, I ate one too. What are you gonna do though?? Enjoy every bite, that’s what. 🙂

Williamsburg Orange Cake
1 box of yellow cake mix (+ the ingredients listed on the back of the box)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 350, and grease/flour the pan. Follow the instructions on the back of the cake box, with the addition of mixing in the orange peel. Bake immediately, also following instructions. Once the cake passes the toothpick test, allow to rest for ten minutes before removing from pan.

Orange Frosting
1/3 cup softened butter or margarine
>3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange peel

Blend butter with a small amount of sugar – just enough for it to hold together. Add in more sugar, juice and orange peel until mixture becomes even. Continue to add sugar to gain thickness and grated peel to retain tartness.

Wait until cake is cool to frost it. Pour a glass of iced tea, and enjoy in the sunshine.


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