Taste the flavors of fall with Duncan Hines

Much as I've enjoyed the summer, I have to admit the heat is wearing me down, and I'm excited about fall.  I'm looking forward to the cool, crisp, fall weather. I'm looking forward to jumping back into my new school job and seeing my friends from school. I'm looking forward to seeing those distinctive fall colors -- orange, yellow, russet, gold, caramel, red, and brown -- and tastes.  Caramel, cinnamon, apple, squash, pumpkin... yum!

To celebrate the flavors of fall, Duncan Hines is introducing two new delicious and easy products with on trend flavors and colors: Duncan Hines® Limited Edition Autumn Velvets cake mix and Caramel Apple Decadent cupcake mix. Duncan Hines aims to make holiday baking easier, so that bakers can share the most wonderful time and treats of the year with those who matter most, without the stress and hassle.   Duncan Hines® sent us samples of their new mixes, which are always a standout at our home because I'm way too busy to bake, and The Pea loves to decorate and frost more than she likes to bake from scratch -- and everyone loves to eat!

The new Duncan Hines Limited Edition Decadent Caramel Apple Cupcake mix (MSRP $3.29) includes everything you need to make a batch of yummy cupackes: apple cake mix, caramel frosting mix, and a pastry bag to fill and frost.  

Many times, following cake or cupcake mix directions straight out of the box results in a bland, boring finished product, but The Pea and her friends followed the basic recipe and ended up with a delicious, great-tasting cupcake!  The apple cake was so moist and tasty, and it went perfectly with the caramel frosting.  Personally I thought the frosting was a bit too sweet, but The Pea and her friends loved it so much, they devoured the whole batch in record time.

The Duncan Hines® Limited Edition Autumn Velvets cake mix is part of their new line of velvet cakes.  Like the Blue Velvet, Pink Velvet, and Spring Velvet cake mixes I reviewed earlier this year, the Autumn Velvet goes beyond the traditional velvet!  You get 2 mixes in each box: an orange velvet and a brown velvet. Neither tastes like a red velvet, but neither tastes like their color namesakes (orange or chocolate) either -- it's that light, fluffy texture that makes it similar to a red velvet cake. The colors are so pretty, just perfect for making a fall layer cake for football tailgates, Halloween parties, or Thanksgiving dinner.

The mix tastes great just as it is, but we decided to get creative and make some biscotti.  We added pumpkin pie spice to both the orange and brown mixes, and we drizzled melted orange and white candy melts over the top to make it look pretty.  They tasted as great as they looked!

Autumn Spice Biscotti

(recipe courtesy of Duncan Hines)

Hands-On Tie: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes
Servings: 30 Biscotti

1 package Duncan Hines Autumn Velvets Cake Mix
4 large eggs, divided
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, softened and divided
½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
4 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided*
1 cup toasted chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds, divided**
1 container Duncan Hines Creamy Vanilla or Chocolate Icing, melted (optional)**

Baking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine Orange Velvet Cake mix with 2 eggs, 4 Tbsp. butter, ¼ cup flour, 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer 30 seconds or until just moistened, scraping sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Continue beating at medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in ½ cup nuts. Dough will be thick. Repeat in separate large bowl with Brown Velvet Cake Mix.
3. Arrange each dough onto baking pan and with floured hands, pat each into 12”x4” logs.

4. Bake 40 minutes. Let cool slightly. Slice each log into ½-inch diagonal slices. Arrange slices on baking pan and bake an additional 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
5. Melt frosting in a microwave safe bowl on high for 20 seconds or until just melted. Drizzle on biscotti.

* As a variation, use 2-teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon allspice.
** We did not use any nuts!
*** Instead of melted frosting, we drizzled melted candy melts (with a bit of vegetable oil mixed it, to make it runny) on top of our biscotti.

Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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