One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes

I have a special Valentine’s Day treat for you today!

These easy, festive cupcakes are full of citrus flavor - with a little hit of booze!

These One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes are just what any busy mom or partner needs this week – they’re super easy yet incredibly decadent. The cupcakes are laced with blood orange, orange liqueur and olive oil and topped with a luxurious (and not too sweet) boozy blood orange-cream cheese frosting. Quite honestly, they are my ideal cupcake – with all the fresh citrus flavors and a density that can’t be beat. Plus, there’s the booze. We all know how I’m a big fan of the booze!

When I saw a big bag of blood oranges at my local Trader Joe’s recently, I just had to get them. They are, after all, one of my favorite winter treats. I’ve been loading up on oranges lately to get as much natural Vitamin C into my bod as possible, and the blood oranges arrived at just the right time for me to mix up my routine a bit.

A batch of boozy, citrus-y cupcakes is all you need to surprise your sweetie this Valentine's Day!

I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a vibrantly colored sweet treat with some of these bright red beauties, and just in time for Valentine’s Day! Tell me, do you already have big plans or are you keeping things low key? Are you a fan of celebrating this Hallmark holiday or do you prefer professing your love for your significant other all year round?

Even since before baby was born, the hubs and I have preferred to keep things fairly low key. We’d rather go out to eat at a fancy restaurant on any other night of the year than be forced into some highly overpriced prix fixe menu or crammed into an overly-packed dining establishment. That being said, Chris has a special homemade dinner up his sleeve for us on Wednesday and I plan on pulling out some of these One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes for us to enjoy (maybe with some bubbles?)

And speaking of these One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes, let’s talk a little bit about how ridiculously easy they are. (Trust me, this mama has no time for involved recipes OR lots of dishwashing these days.)

Really, as long as you can get a hold of a big bunch of blood oranges, you’re in good shape. In fact, I’d venture to guess you already have most of the other ingredients on hand in your refrigerator or pantry already. Once you have all of the ingredients (which, by the way, are easily measured out using only a couple sizes of dry measuring cups and using up just two entire blood oranges – zest and juice), just throw everything into the bowl of your stand mixer and let it do all the work.

These cupcakes feature olive oil, yogurt and tons of citrus flavor from blood oranges.

I also love that you can easily make the cupcakes one day and the frosting the next because, if you’re a mama or busy woman like me, you never know how much time you’ll have to accomplish a task! I made the cupcakes the night before, then whipped up the frosting the next morning…I would also like to point out that I frosted and decorated the cupcakes and subsequently had to refrigerate them for a few hours until I had a chance to photograph them, so these bad boys really do hold up well with a little sit time.

Whether you have a special someone you want to make something for this Valentine’s Day or just want a tasty treat you can whip up with the season’s most colorful citrus, these One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes are for you. The recipe yields a dozen and a half, so you’ll have plenty to share!

These moist, citrus-y and boozy cupcakes are perfect for Valentine's Day or any special occasion.

One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
26 mins
Total Time
46 mins
 

These cupcakes are incredibly moist with a big hit of citrus and a perfectly pink cream cheese frosting - the perfect treat for a special someone!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Calories: 305 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Zest of 2 small blood oranges (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice (should be about 2 small blood oranges)
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
For the frosting*:
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1 small blood orange
  • Juice of 1 small blood orange
  • 2 teaspoons orange liqueur (again, I used Grand Marnier)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Few drops of red food coloring, until desired color of frosting has been reached
  • White sanding sugar, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line cupcake tins with paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Combine all cupcake ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix - using the paddle attachment - until combined, about 3 minutes.

  3. Fill cupcake tins ¾ full with batter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 24-26 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

  4. Let cool for 5 minutes in tins, then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

  5. To make the frosting, combine all frosting ingredients (except food coloring) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 

  6. Once all ingredients are combined and creamy, add food coloring and mix until desired color is reached.

  7. Transfer frosting into a piping bag and cut off the tip. Pipe a generous amount of frosting onto each cupcake, but it doesn’t have to be pretty.

  8. Once all cupcakes are topped, use a small butler’s knife or spatula to neatly spread the frosting over the top. Sprinkle white sanding sugar over top.

  9. Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

*You will have extra frosting to spread on graham crackers, more cupcakes, a loaf cake, etc.

Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to “copycat” a recipe before.

Copycat Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Guys, I wait alllllll year (okay, at least a couple of months a year) anxiously awaiting the arrival of the plethora of pumpkin-flavored items at Trader Joe’s. I know, it’s so cliché, but it’s true. And to be honest, I usually don’t BUY a lot of said pumpkin-flavored items, I more so use them for inspiration of what fun pumpkin dishes I can make in the months of September/October/November. But, I fully and willingly give in to their pumpkin cream cheese that graces the dairy case for those few glorious months. Because it is sooooo good.

Well, now I don’t have to wait around anymore (and neither do you!) because I’ve figured out how to (almost) perfectly duplicate this favorite little indulgence of mine – enter, this Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese. Prepare for your life to be forever changed.

Copycat Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

The other great news is that this recipe is SUPER easy, and has very few ingredients, most of which you’ll already have on hand if you have a well-stocked pantry. We’re talking canned pumpkin puree (which, if you’re anything like me, you buy at least two cans of every time you go to the store during this time of year), cinnamon, brown sugar and sugar. And of course we can’t forget the cream cheese!

So, since our Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese is THAT simple, let’s talk life for a second. How’s everyone’s week been so far? Mine has been HOT. We’re talking temperatures easily well over 100 degrees here in Santa Barbara, which is unheard of. Thank goodness we don’t have any humidity here (and we have A/C in our house!) otherwise I would absolutely be dying.

On Monday I went and met one of my Napa friends in San Luis Obispo for some beginning-of-the-week wine tasting (because how else should we be spending a Monday?) and we thought we had made a smart decision going to more coastal wine country as opposed to Paso Robles. Boy, were we wrong. Yes, it was probably still hotter in Paso than is was in the Edna Valley, but we still ran into the triple digit temps! So crazy. I really hope this Indian Summer ends soon…I’m ready for sweater weather!

It is supposed to cool down this week, which I’m REALLY looking forward to as I head out on a five day road trip up and down the length of California. The month of October is a crazy one for me travel-wise, and I kick it all off tomorrow as I head down to Long Beach to visit with my cousin/bestie/MOH (who is flying in from Hawaii.) Then, on Saturday, I drop her off at the airport and will be making my way up the coast to Santa Cruz to spend some QT with my parents, then on to San Francisco on Sunday for one of my bridesmaid’s own Bridal Shower!

Talk to me once we hit November, but I’m actually really excited for all of these fun travels coming up. It’s one of the reasons I was motivated and excited to work for myself and be my own boss…Because I can make my own schedule. I can do most of my work on the road (just give me my laptop, camera, WiFi and occasionally a kitchen and I am good to go!) and I’m fully taking advantage of it these next few months. So exciting!

Okay, well let’s get back to the real reason we’re here today, which is this Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese. As I mentioned earlier, there’s not too much to say because it is THAT easy.

Copycat Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

You grab a block of slightly softened cream cheese (I used light cream cheese to make it just a tad bit healthier, but you can use regular cream cheese as well), add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, brown sugar and regular sugar, and use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) to beat it all together. That’s it!

You can devour this Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese the OG way – shmeared all over a bagel, or I might also suggest dipping in some honey graham crackers or spreading it over a delicious slice of crusty multigrain bread.

Incredibly easy, very few ingredients, and ready in just about five minutes. Can you really go wrong with this Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese? I think not.

Copycat Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Copycat Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese

5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Makes 8 ounces

A festive fall take on cream cheese with pumpkin and spices.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Place softened cream cheese in a small mixing bowl. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon and both sugars.
  2. Using a hand mixer, mix to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve on bagels, toast, or with honey graham crackers.
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Copycat Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Allllll the pumpkin!!!

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Hummingbird Bread

This may be the.best.excuse.for.breakfast.ever.

Hummingbird Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

Who here has heard of Hummingbird Cake? If you have, I hope you are as enlightened as I was when I learned what I am about to tell you. If you haven’t, prepare to have your mind-blown. You see, I’ve known about Hummingbird Cake for quite a while now (I’ve never been one to shy away from overtly claiming my love of carbs and all things that fall under the baked goods category, see Exhibits A and B), yet it wasn’t until I was preparing this recipe for Hummingbird Bread that I learned about the dessert’s origins. Yes folks, you read that correctly, I’ve simply turned a classic cake into loaf form so it can be reasonably acceptable to ingest as the most important meal of the day –> Breakfast!

Hummingbird Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

But back to the fun little nuggets of history I discovered during my recipe research:

  • It is believed that this cake originated in the Caribbean (specifically, Jamaica) which seems reasonable since the main ingredients are pineapple, banana and spices! Where else do we find these things in such abundance?
  • The cake actually used to be called a “Doctor bird cake,” named after a type of Jamaican hummingbird called the red-billed Streamertail whose actions of sticking its long beak into the flowers were deemed similar to a doctor inspecting a patient.
  • The recipe made its way to the U.S. via press kits that the Jamaican tourist board created to attract visitors to the country.

Pretty cool, huh? You know what’s even cooler? Today I’m showing you how to make Hummingbird BREAD so you don’t even have to wait until dessert to enjoy this fruity, moist, spiced cake with a delicious cream cheese frosting. IMHO, something with this much fruit and protein from the nuts and cream cheese should certainly be acceptable to ingest prior to noon with a warm mug of coffee in our hands.

Hummingbird Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

So, confession. This recipe took me THREE tries before I was able to perfect it. Yes, that’s right. The first couple of times I tried to make Hummingbird Bread, I had ambitions of running a cream cheese swirl through the middle of the loaf and topping it with a pecan crumble. Let’s just say that (a) my batter to loaf pan size ratio was WAY off (thank goodness I put a jelly roll pan underneath to catch any drips…dodged an oven fire with that one!) and (b) my “cream cheese swirl” tasted delicious but was too heavy (and dense) to sit correctly between the layers of batter. I’d end up with an overly-browned top of the loaf with a gooey, undone center. #foodbloggerproblems

Hummingbird Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

I finally figured out that the best solution was to keep the Hummingbird Bread as true to form as possible (while still holding on to my creative idea to turn this cake into a bread), and so (after realizing how good the “cream cheese swirl” tasted on its own without even being cooked) I decided to frost the loaf with the sugary, melt-in-your-mouth, creamy cream cheese mixture rather than try to hide it inside. It made for a much more structurally stable loaf AND I must say it made it much more photogenic 😉

Hummingbird Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

I would like to point out, though, that I did not waste ANY of those failed loaves. A quick turn in the refrigerator firmed up the cream cheese swirl loaves enough so that, although not structurally stable, they are definitely, absolutely, completely edible. One down and I’ve got two more loaves to go (falling apart at the seams.) They’re just sitting in the refrigerator waiting for me on the next night I’m up until the wee hours blogging or cleaning because I haven’t ventured out of the kitchen for the past three weekends and have neglected every other part of the house and have my sister coming to visit this weekend. Oh, sorry, just me?

Well, if you’d like to come over and help me clean my house, I’d be more than happy to pay you in Hummingbird Bread…and good company?

Hummingbird Bread

Yield: Makes one loaf

Spinning the classic, Southern cake comprised of pineapple, banana, pecans and spices into a bread that's perfectly acceptable to enjoy for breakfast.

Ingredients

    For the bread:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • ½ cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
    For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
    For topping:
  • Additional ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Begin by making the batter. Combine eggs, sugar, canola oil, banana and pineapple in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and stir until combined. Fold in pecans. Pour batter into loaf pan and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If top begins to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil while the bread finished baking.
  3. As the bread is getting towards the end of its baking time, make the cream cheese frosting. Using an electric mixer, combine all frosting ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Set aside until bread is done baking and has cooled most of the way. Do not refrigerate, because it will make the frosting too hard to spread onto the bread.
  4. Once bread has cooled, remove from pan. Spread frosting over top and sprinkle with additional ½ cup of toasted pecans and serve. Refrigerate frosted loaf if not eating the whole thing right away.
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Hummingbird Bread | CaliGirl Cooking

Holdin’ it together like a champ!

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble

I’m about to blow your mind.

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble | CaliGirl Cooking

Who here’s ever baked something using parsnips? No one? Yea, I didn’t think so. As of yesterday I hadn’t either. But I do bet that you’ve made PLENTY of sweets along the lines of carrot cake, carrot muffins, hummingbird cake, etc. Don’t you always just feel so great when you’re able to sneak some vegetables into dessert?

It’s quite surprising actually, that parsnips aren’t used more often in these types of things. After all, they are soooo similar to carrots you’d think this would have become more mainstream by now. Leave it up to my gal Samantha Seneviratne, author of the blog Love, Cake, to bring this to our attention in her (fairly) new cookbook, The New Sugar & Spice. As soon as I came across her recipe for Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, I knew this was something I had to make in some form or another.

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble | CaliGirl Cooking

I have a confession to make. I ordered this book wayyyy back in October, when it was first released, and am just now getting around to making a recipe from it. Better late than never! I was excited to get my hands on this cookbook for a couple of reasons…

First, and most obvious, is that all of the recipes look just divine. I LOVE the way that the book is broken down into sections by different types of spices. Feel like cooking with ginger? There’s a chapter for that. And although this is a baking cookbook, you’ll find that the recipes aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. Samantha really has a knack for using spices in her recipes to give them that depth of satisfying flavor, rather than giving you a sugar bomb that will leave you reeling after you indulge.

Second, and I’m going to get a little sentimental here, is that Samantha was one of the first bloggers I reached out to when I decided I wanted to seriously pursue “the blog life” (for lack of a better name) who actually took the time to send a heartfelt and helpful email back to me. As a new blogger, it can be scary reaching out to the food blog community to make connections and ask for guidance, and I was just blown away by Samantha’s kindness and willingness to give me words of advice. It’s a dream of mine to write my own cookbook someday, and the fact that this woman who had a beautiful blog was also writing a cookbook AND took the time to write to me, well, of course I was going to support her by buying her book!

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble | CaliGirl Cooking

Okay, enough of the sappy stuff. Let’s get down to this Parsnip Cake business. The recipe originally calls for an 8 ½ – by – 4 ½ inch loaf pan, but I decided to mix it up a bit and used an 8-inch round cake pan (okay, maybe I had the ulterior motive that I really wanted something beautiful to display in my glass cake stand, don’t judge.)

I also decided that I wanted to make this into more of a coffee cake because, well, there are vegetables in this sucker which means it’s healthy which means we can eat it for breakfast, right? For this reason, I decided to make a cream cheese crumble to sprinkle over the top of the cake as opposed to the cream cheese icing. I simply added brown sugar, chopped pecans and a little bit of flour rather than the confectioners’ sugar and whole milk that the frosting recipe originally calls for and crumbled it on top of the cake before I baked it. (Does anyone else love warm, melty cream cheese as much as I do?)

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble | CaliGirl Cooking

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble | CaliGirl Cooking

Shortly after I popped this Parsnip Coffee Cake into the oven, the smell of it baking took over the house (I think all of the amazing spices helped this along!) I could not wait to dig in as soon as it was done but, alas, I had to be patient so I could snap some photos. Once I finally did cut into the cake, let’s just say I’m glad there was no one else home because I shoved that slice into my mouth like I hadn’t eaten in days, no time for a fork. It was not a ladylike sight but let me tell you it was so worth it. Do yourself a favor and go buy The New Sugar & Spice ASAP (or you can just order it here through the link!) and then make this Parsnip Coffee Cake as if your life depended on it.

If you need me, I’ll be devouring what I have left of said cake with multiple cups of coffee in my PJ’s. Isn’t that what Sundays are for?

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble | CaliGirl Cooking

Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble

Yield: Serves 8

Adapted from The New Sugar & Spice by Samantha Seneviratne.

Ingredients

    For the Cake:
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing the pan (or you could use Crisco, like I did)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups peeled, grated parsnips (about 2 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    For the Cream Cheese Crumble:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, chilled, cut into one-inch pieces
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter (or Crisco) and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir to combine. Stir in the parsnip, fresh ginger, pecans, milk and vanilla. Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture, being careful not to over-mix.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and set aside.
  5. To make the cream cheese crumble, place all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the cream cheese into the brown sugar, flour and pecans until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of cake batter in pan.
  6. Place cake in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then run a knife along the edge and flip cake out of pan to finish cooling on the rack.
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Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble | CaliGirl Cooking

Good as gone!