Every year around this time I start to get reeeeally excited. Not just because it’s Fall and it’s the best season of the year, but because I can start getting out my Halloween decorations!! Yay!! Those of you who have followed my blog since the beginning know I have a (big) thing for Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (big as in, it’s my all-time favorite movie second only to The Little Mermaid). I collect anything Nightmare Before Christmas related- Christmas ornaments, snow globes, tiny little figurines – I have it all, and I leave it out from Halloween through Christmas. That’s the beauty of it- my two favorite holidays, all in one totally awesome movie!

Besides my freaking sweet collection of Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, I also have lots of other Halloween decorations (not the scary kind- the cute, homey kind), and I look forward to pulling it all downstairs every single year. I got it all out this week. And now my house is decorated with pumpkins, candy corn, cute jack-o-lanterns and (duh) my freaking sweet collection of Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. So, I had to celebrate the occasion. This sort of thing definitely calls for cupcakes. Delicious orange-scented cupcakes. Yum. The batter tastes like creamsicles! They’re slightly grown up due to the Grand Marnier in both the batter and the frosting and the orange flavor isn’t totally overpowering, so they’re just right, in my opinion!

Orange-Scented Cupcakes
-adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours
*Makes 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or any orange liqueur you like
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the milk, orange juice, liqueur and egg whites in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar and butter in the bowl of a mixer and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Using a small spoon, fill each cupcake liner 1/2 full with the batter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting them.

Vanilla-Orange Buttercream

1 stick butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
splash Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the sugar and then the orange juice, Grand Marnier and vanilla. On medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading or piping consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. Refrigerate until needed.

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22 Comments »

  1. as always, everything you make looks absolutely perfect! i know where i’ll be going when i need a little bit of halloween inpsiration! love the addition of grand marnier too.

    [Reply]

    Comment by delishliving — September 28, 2010 @ 11:17 PM

  2. I am so jealous of your cake stand! And I also love how the ribbon matches the baking cups. You’re so coordinated girl! I also love The Nightmare Before Christmas! And by the way, those cupcakes sound delicious! :)

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    Comment by Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot — September 28, 2010 @ 11:20 PM

  3. These look super delish Amy and like the perfect way to celebrate the season.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Eliana — September 29, 2010 @ 5:36 AM

  4. oh my, these are so beautiful! they look so delicious!

    [Reply]

    Comment by LimeCake — September 29, 2010 @ 6:01 AM

  5. These cupcakes look delicious, and are perfect for Halloween!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Liz @ LBBakes — September 29, 2010 @ 6:10 AM

  6. I don’t know what I like more.. the cupcakes or the adorable pedastal and Frankenstein pot you have them displayed in!!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Evan @swEEts — September 29, 2010 @ 10:21 AM

  7. Yummy! These look so cute and perfect all year round. – mary

    [Reply]

    Comment by food librarian — September 29, 2010 @ 12:08 PM

  8. I love everything about this post – Halloween, Cupcakes, the adorable cake plate with matching ribbon, and the really cute Frankenstein pot!!!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Shannon — September 29, 2010 @ 1:01 PM

  9. Shannon and Evan- my sister actually painted that pot- she’s really talented! I put it out every year at Halloween! :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by amy — September 29, 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  10. The orange looks just right in this batter! I am imagining how super moist they are! Very cute and yummy!

    [Reply]

    Comment by UrMomCooks — September 29, 2010 @ 6:05 PM

  11. You have a new fan! I saw your PFB challenge 2 post and the “yee haw” caught my attention (I’m from Alabama…I hear it daily). I just read this post on Halloween and you *almost* inspired me to run right now for the nearest Hobby Lobby for more Halloween decorations. But it is almost 8pm and I have to watch Criminal Minds. I’m so glad I found you! I love your writing style and look forward to stalking your archives…that sounds creepy but I promise it’s not :-)

    [Reply]

    amy Reply:

    Aww, thank you so much Katrina!! So glad to have you as a reader!! :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Katrina — September 29, 2010 @ 7:54 PM

  12. Oh.My.Goodness…I am in LOVE with your cake stand. Mind telling me where you found it?

    [Reply]

    amy Reply:

    Abigail- thank you! I got the cake stand at HomeGoods- a steal!! $12!! I love it!

    [Reply]

    Comment by AbberJabber — September 29, 2010 @ 9:17 PM

  13. I too, love this time of year. Halloween is non-secular, there are no expectations (except to eat lots of candy) and it brings pure joy to both young and old! These cuppies are gorge!

    [Reply]

    Comment by the urban baker — September 29, 2010 @ 9:22 PM

  14. the cupcakes sound deeelish, as always, but that frankenpot is adorable :-)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Chris — September 30, 2010 @ 8:42 AM

  15. Your cupcakes look gorgeous and your presentation is wonderful. Sorry for being late visiting back but was away for a few days. You got my vote.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Ivy — September 30, 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  16. Ohmigosh, your cupcakes look totally perfect in your Frankenpot!!! I wish I had some!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Lindsay — September 30, 2010 @ 7:37 PM

  17. These look great! Can’t wait to try them.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Beth — October 1, 2010 @ 10:49 AM

  18. They are so cute. And perfect for Halloween. I am defos going to give this a go! Yum yum.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sophie — October 1, 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  19. Would the cupcakes be okay without the orange liqueur or grand mariner? I am 15, I don’t know if I’m allowed to cook with alcohol yet.

    [Reply]

    amy Reply:

    Absolutely, Stephanie!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Stephanie — April 12, 2011 @ 5:04 AM

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