Friday, February 8, 2013

Light Orange Soda Cupcakes

It seems like whenever I most need sweets, I don't have time to bake.

In case you haven't heard, the NHL lockout is officially and utterly over – and that means this wannabe baker has regular work again. It also means that I don't have nearly as much time in the kitchen, much less time to blog about it.

Diet soda cake is nothing new to me. I was introduced in the early 2000's when I was on Weight Watchers for my sister's wedding. A box of cake mix and a can of diet soda is all it takes. It comes out super moist, although it falls apart easily.

Generally, people use lemon-lime soda for yellow cakes and diet cola (or the variations) for chocolate cakes. A while back, I got the idea to try and recreate the flavor of one of my favorite from-up-north treats: Orange Chocolate. Why not use orange soda and chocolate cake?

Unfortunately, whenever I bought orange soda, it kept disappearing. So I took a permanent marker, wrote “NEEDED FOR BAKING” on it and then...procrastinated. Until now. With a couple of days off, into the kitchen I went.

Like I said, without any eggs or oil in the cake, it does fall apart easily. Therefore, I prefer them made as cupcakes with paper liners – even though I despise cupcake wrappers almost as much as I despise trying to make sure my cupcakes/muffins are of equal size. The recipe also only makes about three quarters of what the box says. I wound up with 19 cupcakes.

The benefit of the crumbly, moist texture is that you can go with a much lighter frosting. With a package of whipped topping in the pantry, I opted to use that and added a packet of hot chocolate mix to it.

Need an official recipe?

Diet Orange Soda Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

1 box Chocolate Fudge Cake mix
1 can (12oz or 1 1/2 cup) diet orange soda

1 packet whipped topping mix
Milk and vanilla as called for on box
1 packet of hot cocoa mix

Mix cake mix and soda in a large mixing bowl. Scoop batter into paper-lined muffin tin, filling about 2/3 full

Bake as according to instructions on box. Cupcakes will be done on the lower end of the time range given. Cool on a wire rack.

Prepare whipped topping as directed. Mix in hot cocoa mix until well combined.

Spread topping on completely cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

As far as chocolate cupcakes are concerned, these were good. However, while there was definitely something different about them, you couldn't really taste the orange flavor. Perhaps if I'd used a regular chocolate cake mix, the orange might have shone through a little more.

Best yet, each iced cupcake works out to a whole 130 calories. Sure, health nuts will probably go off on me about the trans fats in the whipped topping and the artificial sweeteners in the soda, but I firmly believe that eventually they'll discover that everything has something bad for you in it. I say enjoy, like everything else, in moderation.

Now I just need to get back to baking!


  1. Wow, have never heard of adding orange soda to cake mix before...sounds great!

    1. Like I said, it didn't really show through in this cake. I have done it with Dr. Pepper as well and that did taste like the soda. I don't remember, though, if I used a devil's food cake mix or a stronger chocolate like I did here. But it's an easy and light way to get any flavor of cake you'd like!