Cupcakes are one of my all-time favorite things and while some people are snooty and don’t believe in the use of cake mix, I think cake mix is awesome. Yes, I often make my own cupcakes from scratch. Yes they are amazingly delicious. But when I need a quick treat, I don’t want to have to worry that I don’t have all of the exact right ingredients.
I made these cupcakes with ingredients I bought at the drug store (with the exception of the food coloring which I already had). And they taste delicious. And they look delicious. And I put time and effort into them — but not too much of either, thanks to cake mix!
Then there’s frosting. Make your own frosting. It’s SO much better and takes practically no time and effort to make. In the frosting scenario, I am the snooty person.
For the Cake
- One box cake mix (yellow or white)
- Ingredients to make the cake mix (eggs, oil, butter, water… different brands call for different things. I used Duncan Hines yellow cake for mine)
- One/half a box of orange gelatin mix
For the Frosting:
- 2 sticks butter
- The other half of the box of orange gelatin mix
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp milk
- about 5-6 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar
- orange food coloring (or red and yellow food coloring to make orange)
- A bag of candy orange slices for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- Prepare the cake batter as directed. Divide the batter into two bowls (about two cups is half the batter). Into one of the bowls add half the packet of orange gelatin mix. This will turn the batter a bright orange.
- Into a lined muffin tin (yes, use liners. they save sooo much cleaning time) put one heaping spoonful of yellow batter into the bottom of each cup. Top with another heaping spoon of orange cake batter. This should fill the cup a little over half way.
- Bake for about 13-15 minutes. Here’s a secret of box cake mix. They are required to tell you to bake it a long time so that the internal temperature reaches a certain minimum. Usually, this is longer than it actually takes a cupcake to cook and so your cupcake will be dry and gross. If you use the toothpick method of when the toothpick comes out clean, it will probably be a few minutes beforehand. You can always cook it longer!
- Let cool a few minutes in the pan and then transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack until completely cool.
- While the cupcakes are cooling prepare the frosting.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the room temperature butter, milk, and vanilla. Beat in the sugar, one cup at a time until incorporated. If you feel the frosting is not stiff enough, add more sugar. If it’s very stiff add a tiny bit more milk.
- Divide the frosting into two bowls. Into one bowl add the remaining orange gelatin mix and any necessary food coloring to get the frosting a pleasant orange color. If you’re mixing red and yellow coloring, about 2 drops of red and 4-5 of yellow is good.
- In a pastry or ziplock bag (I used a ziplock, fyi) spread a couple of spoons of orange frosing along the bottom. On top, put in some white frosting. Clip the corner of the bag and push all the frosting down towards the corner. Use as a pastry bag to create an orange and white swirl of frosting. Top with a candy orange slice for garnish.