Yes, boxed cake mixes are easy and yield pretty good cupcakes. They also make 24 of the things, which is too many unless you plan on inviting the neighborhood or doing penance at the gym. What if you want a dozen or fewer cupcakes and don't want to heat up your big oven? Use the air fryer. The cupcakes will turn out well, and you'll have fewer around to tempt you. And this particular recipe will tempt you--a lot. The cupcakes are quick to mix up and bake in about 15 minutes. You can frost them if you like, but the cupcakes are moist and tasty enough that a frosting isn't necessary. I like to dust the little cakes with a bit of confectioner's sugar, but that's just for visual appeal. Before baking, the cupcakes get a scattering of turbinado sugar and cinnamon, which gives the tops a slight crunch. Inside, the cupcakes are moist, buttery, and lightly flavored with orange and a dab of raspberry fruit spread. They really are good. If you want to fancy them up, serve them with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream and a scattering of fresh raspberries or strawberries.
Homemade Orange-Raspberry Cupcakes -- Makes 6-12
1 cup of self-rising flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 teaspoons of grated orange zest
3 tablespoons of raspberry fruit spread, stirred to soften it
2 tablespoons of raw (turbinado) sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add the softened butter and stir it in with a fork. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. Add the milk gradually, whisking it in well. Whisk the mixture for a couple of minutes until it's mostly smooth (there may be tiny bits of butter, and that's okay). Preheat the air fryer to 320 degrees and coat a dozen small ramekins--two inches in diameter--with non-stick cooking spray. Or use 6 larger--3-4-inches in diameter--ramekins or a combination, depending on what ramekins you have. Pour half of the batter into the ramekins. Put a teaspoon of raspberry spread on top of the batter in each ramekin. Pour the remaining batter evenly into the ramekins, covering the fruit spread. Sprinkle the tops of the unbaked cupcakes with the turbinado sugar, and then dust some of the cinnamon atop each cupcake. Put 2-4 ramekins in the air fryer and cook them for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out with no batter, only moist crumbs, attached to it. Let the cupcakes cool a minute or two and then run a knife around the edges of each ramekin and turn the cupcakes out to cool completely. Dust the cool cupcakes with confectioner's sugar if you like. Bake the remaining cupcakes in their ramekins and repeat the cooling/dusting process.