A food post, finally! Last week, a few of the SPC interns organized a Valentine day dessert party. A price of admission? $2 to cover the wine cost and a plate of something sweet – not too shabby.

I am not much of a baker, and with expectations to impress (afterall, I am an intern with Southern Living magazine) I was slightly panicking. Not to worry. A few tricks, a use of the Southern Living kitchen (terrific perk), and I was ready to celebrate V-day with cupcakes.


1 box brownies mix (use your favorite variety)
trick: use buttermilk instead of water
1 orange, zested (this I learned from Olga)
1 pack (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar (you can use more-less depending on how sweet and thick you want your icing)
1 T Grand Marnier

Make the brownie mix according to directions, using buttermilk instead of water, and adding 3/4 of the orange zest. The buttermilk will make the cupcakes more tender.

Use an ice cream scooper to scoop the brownie mix into cupcake forms lined with cupcake paper. Fill up each cupcake only 1/2-1/3 way up – they will rise. Bake according to directions, until the toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean and dry. Cool the cupcakes completely.

Make the icing by whipping together cream cheese and butter. Slowly add the sugar, and beat until smooth. Add Grand Marnier and the rest of the orange zest, mix until evenly distributed. I piped the icing using a ziploc bag.


The cupcakes were a big hit. I’ve got to say, I don’t think anyone has guessed that they were from a box. And as a bonus, they looked beautiful as well.