Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

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Whoa, it’s been a month since I last posted. To say this summer has been crazy so far would be the understatement of the year. Between traveling for work, traveling for fun, traveling for not-so-fun, and people traveling to me, I have not even had time to breathe, let alone blog.

But things are starting to slow down a little, and I can finally take a breath. Just the one. But that’s OK, I’ll take what I can get.

The good news is, I’ve still been photographing and making note of my favorite meals over the past few weeks, so I’ve got a nice archive going to create posts from! So for my first post back, I’m going for my favorite thing to cook: dessert.

Remember a couple months ago, when I said I needed to start watching what I was eating to lose some chub before our beach vacation? Well that didn’t last long. Just a couple weeks after that declaration, I desperately needed something sugary. Plus, we were on the brink of summertime, and these Pink Lemonade Cupcakes just screamed summer. So I caved. Lay off me, OK?

The good news is, they’re from Skinnytaste, and only about 120 calories each (that’s my rough guess including the frosting I added, at least). I could’ve done worse for my dietary collapse, right?

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Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
Adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 18.25 oz box confetti cake mix (I actually used white cake mix and just added sprinkles)
  • 2 1/2 tsp powdered sugar-free pink lemonade mix (like Crystal Light)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • lemon zest from half of a lemon
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 8oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a couple cupcake tins with 24 paper liners. I like to spray my liners lightly with nonstick spray, but that might not be necessary.

Stir the water and pink lemonade powder together. Combine the cake mix with the pink lemonade mixture, along with the applesauce, lemon zest, and oil in a mixer and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add a few drops of food coloring until it’s pretty and pink (but not so many that it looks like you murdered something).

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tins, filling the cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are cooling, whip up your cream cheese frosting. Drop the softened cream cheese into a fresh mixing bowl, and whip it up real good, until it’s light and fluffy (do it better than I did in the picture above… You can see that it’s still a little thick. I was impatient!). Mix in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla.

Spread the frosting over your cooled cupcakes, and promptly devour one. Heck, have two if you want.

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