Orange Cupcakes

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Hi there– Our kids live in Ojai– and if you’ve ever been there, you know it’s nestled int a valley teeming with citrus groves.  There are spans of orange and mandarin trees lining the roads that lead up to their house.  So when they come down to visit, they often bring in the door a big red net bag of oranges, fresh from the farm!  There’s a big bowl sitting on kitchen the table here next to my lap top.

So when I wanted to make cupcakes this week for friends coming in on Thursday night, I thought– how can I use a few of these oranges??!  And here they are– orange cupcakes:

Cake:
Orange cake mix (Duncan Hines)*
2 large oranges
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla

Use a grater to grate off all the orange skin of the two oranges.  Set aside.  Then juice the oranges keep the juice aside as well.

Make the cake mix according to the directions on the package (mine asked for oil, eggs and water) — But substitute 1 cup of orange juice for the water called for!!  (save 2 tablespoons of the orange juice to use for the frosting)  Stir in half of the grated orange peel into the batter (save the second half of the peel for the frosting).

Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers about 1/2 full.  Should make about 24 cupcakes.Pop them into the oven for 15 0 18 minutes at 350 degrees, until they come out firm to the touch.

Let the cupcakes cool completely and then make the frosting– With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, 2 tablespoons of the orange juice and the rest of the grated orange peel).  Spread it thickly on the cooled cupcakes and you’re ready for a party!

* If your market doesn’t have orange cake mix, a yellow or white mix would be just as well.

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