I have early memories of baking cupcakes with my mom in the kitchen. It was probably Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines or Pillsbury, depending on whatever was on sale. I pushed for Pillsbury, the kind with sprinkles.

My mom’s secret was adding orange juice concentrate instead of water to the cake mix. All you need is the frozen can variety of orange juice concentrate, and depending on how strong of a citrus flavor you’re looking for, add about one and a half to two cans of water to the concentrate (usually three cans are required for orange juice). Then, measure out the volume of “water” called for by the box instructions. Voilà, your cupcakes now taste like homemade orange coffee cake, and you have an excuse to eat one every day for breakfast! Here, I’ve piped standard buttercream chrysanthemum flowers on orange flavored yellow cake.

I am so used to this added flavor now that whenever I make ordinary white or yellow cake, it always seems to be missing something . . .

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