October 28, 2010

Halloween Orange and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes{Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes- printable recipe here}
{Vanilla Bean Filled Cupcakes- printable recipe here}
Today my son had his first big Halloween party at his cute preschool. He dressed up as a pirate and was so excited- even down to his little drawn on goatee! His teacher asked for volunteers helping in the class room and bringing cupcakes and other treats. I wasn't chosen to make the cupcakes (oh the rejection!) but got to come be a "mom helper" instead. The kids were so cute and excited about every single thing that I'm sure they would have eaten cupcakes made out of dirt as long as they included brightly colored toppings. That said, either of these happy cupcakes would have been perfect for the party! Instead, the vanilla bean cupcakes were destined to go to my husband's work event, where they were happily devoured by a bunch of lawyers. Honestly, the little Disney-clad preschoolers couldn't have appreciated the pastry cream filled vanilla bean cupcakes as much as they adults. I'll save the Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes (in their brightly colored glory) for the littles! Have a safe and happy Halloween, surely filled with candy, costumes, and baked goods!

Halloween Vanilla Bean CupcakesAnne Strawberry's Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
{printable recipe here}
1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
1 box betty crocker french vanilla cake mix

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Place atop a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and beat for two minutes until well combined. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop into muffin tins.

Bake for 21-24 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on racks and frost once completely cooled.

Anne Strawberry's Favorite Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
1 package of cream cheese, softened (I like to use Neufchatel, less fat and I don't notice much difference)

2 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla pod, scraped
dash of salt
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline)
1 Tablespoon meringue powder

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend.

Next, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, cover the bowl of the mixer with a dish towel, and turn it on low until everything is combined. Then increase the speed for a minute or so until the frosting is light, fluffy, and delicious. The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape.

Add 1 T. Lemon or orange zest and substitute juice for the milk to make a tangy citrus frosting

For the filling:
Anne Strawberry's Slightly Lightened Pastry Cream
After the cupcakes have cooled, fit a pastry bag with a long, medium tip. Fill with cooled pastry cream and squeeze one or two tablespoons into the center of each cupcake, filling until the top of the cupcake starts to bulge slightly. Frost and decorate the cupcakes and serve.


  1. Yay cupcakes! These look gorgeous, love the orange x

  2. Just found your blog today. I love it! These cupcakes sound so delicious. I love the flavor of orange and can't wait to give these a try. And I love the header on your blog!!

  3. Those cupcakes are gorgeous! Lucky husband and his coworkers. :)

    My experience with preschool cupcake baking leads me to believe that you might as well get a box of Funfetti and call it a day, because half will eat only the frosting, half will eat only the cake, and a few won't eat them at all!

  4. YUMMY this look so good. Love your blog. Check out my food blog at