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Orange Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Fall is here!

I don’t care what you say, “it’s only September fourth, waaaaah”. FALL. IS. HERE.

I can feel it coming and I absolutely cannot wait.

That means, most importantly, that the temperature will drop (hopefully significantly); that I can break out my sweaters, boots and tights; and that Halloween is coming up.

I know I previously mentioned I dislike Halloween for the tricking and whatnot, but I’m kind of excited.

Today, my mom told me Target had their Halloween stuff out and I raced over there to stock up on sprinkles and cupcake toppers.

I know, I’m psychotic for holidays. Christmas shopping in August, Halloween shopping in September… it’s bad, I know. I can’t help it.

I think I get most excited about holidays for the decorating purposes. I absolutely love decorating my house for Halloween and Christmas, and it gives me a somewhat viable excuse to shop for unnecessary things like skull-shaped cookie jars and light-up garlands with ornaments on it for “decorative purposes.”

It’s like nesting, but for a twenty-year-old college student still living at home.

It makes me feel special and domestic to buy things like haunted-house-shaped candle holders and unusually large candy cane lawn decorations. Like my house is super cool and people driving by are like, “wow, that house is cool. I bet they stock it with neat things like apple pie scented candles and elaborate wreaths and things.”

Actually, I don’t want people to think that, because then they’ll rob me. But that aside, I like having the cool house with the cool stuff, even though I never invite people over and no one will ever see it.

But if I know I have cool stuff, it probably like, radiates from my core that I’m cool enough to have a novelty cookie jar at home or an elf-shaped candy dish full of peppermint candies.

It’s the little things, people.

Alas, I didn’t buy any haunted-house candle holders today, but I wanted to.

I just pretended it was sweater-appropriate weather already, contemplated present-ideas for Christmas and made these fall-ready Orange Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting. Look, I know the name is kind of long, but even saying it evokes some kind of toasty, warm and cozy fall mood, right?

Cinnamon-orange spice. 

Do they make candles in that flavor?

Orange Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box spice cake mix
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
Zest of one orange
1/2 pkg sugar free/fat free vanilla instant pudding mix
Cinnamon-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, orange juice, applesauce, and eggs until blended, about 2 minutes. Stir in the half package of pudding mix and the orange zest until combined. Portion evenly into muffin cups and bake, approximately 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely, and prepare frosting.

Cinnamon-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (8 oz) light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon
6 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter and orange juice, about 2 minutes, or until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, or until a stiff but spreadable consistency is reached (I used close to 6 cups, but use your own discretion as your frosting may thicken up with less). Add your cinnamon last, and beat for about 1 minute to combine into frosting. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Will frost 24 cupcakes.

Capital Y-U-M, these are SO yummy.

I LOVE spice cake, and have tried making cupcakes using apple cider but never orange juice. Let me tell you, the orange totally gives it a new, refreshing flavor but still tastes warm and fall-y. If you wanted, these would be awesome with chopped walnuts or pecans in the batter as well, or maybe use a touch of ginger!

They totally make me want to cuddle up in my slippers and drink hot cocoa and watch TV by the fire, but we don’t have a working fire-place, we’re out of hot cocoa and it’s still 100 degrees in Sacramento, so I’ll just pretend fall is on its way and eat my heart out with these cupcakes.

Happy Sunday!

xo, Hayley

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