Citrus Poppyseed Orange Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Valentine’s Day!  In celebration of our near 1,000 days in existence as a couple, I ventured out with a severe lack of baking talent to gift my Stark with an homemade version of his favorite dessert – the Dodo Restaurant’s Poppyseed Orange Cake.  I’ve only had the cake once before when I special ordered it for our one year anniversary so my memory wasn’t exactly sharp to taste or consistency, but I thought I would note exactly what I came up with before I forget.  Needless to say, our cupcake version of this delicious cake has been passed off as a total success and a welcoming “more healthy” version of the tall, dense first love.

Ingredients:

1 Box Lemon Cake Mix
1 – 2 tsp of poppy seed
1/4 milk
1 Tbs finely grated orange rind
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 orange juice
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs orange juice
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 – 8 oz cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350* and place paper linings in your preferred cupcake pan (we did a variety of sizes)

Combine poppy seeds in 1/4 milk (suggested: soy, almond, or buttermilk based on your personal taste)

Mix together lemon rind and oil or butter (as specified by your boxed cake mix).  Add eggs (typical amount is 3 eggs but follow the amount as directed by your cake mix) one at a time and continue beating with a whisk.

Add cake mix, sour cream, orange juice (the 1/4 amount), and poppy seed milk mixture and continue whisking away!

Once you have mixed all lumps and bumps out, pour mix into cupcake holders filling only 1/2 or 2/3.

Put your cupcakes in the 350* oven – small cupcakes are approximately 10 minutes and medium sized cupcakes are typically about 18.  Monitor your cupcakes for a slight browning on the muffin top and check with a toothpick.

While your cupcakes cook, use a mixer of your choice to combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar (begin with 1 cup and add more as needed for the right cake frosting consistency, most recipes I found call for a 3-4 cup ratio of powdered sugar to 1 package of cream cheese but I find that ridiculous and unnecessary, save the calories and enjoy what you’ve made!)  Once your frosting appears light and fluffy add your orange rind, lemon juice, and orange juice (the 1 Tbs amount), continue mixing in.

Put your icing in the refrigerator if you want it to thicken up while your light and fluffy cupcakes cool for approximately 15 minutes and then add icing to your liking.

To cut corners and calories, use apple sauce in place of oil, light sour cream, and fat free or light cream cheese combined with a vanilla soy milk or a buttermilk – both healthier options that still maintain a creamy consistency to make up for the “light” versions of some of your favorite tastes.  The taste will be slightly different but not far off and you will be able to enjoy these delights without any guilt!

We did a few large pans of mini cupcakes and I figured that this entire batch is approximately 750-850 calories (without cutting corners and cooking a light version) which makes our mini cupcakes about 17 calories a piece including frosting.  It’s less guilt than a piece of chocolate and comes in with refreshing citrus POW!

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