Monday, 13 June 2011

Orange Vanilla Cupcakes

Monday was my Mum's Birthday, which made it a very special day indeed.  With more than her fair share of health scares in the last six months, it made it a very very special birthday for us all.  I asked Mum what kind of cake she wanted for her Birthday and all I got was "Cupcakes", "just make me some cupcakes".  Now I'm sorry but where is the challenge in that ? So I set about making the tastiest most beautiful cupcakes I could think of.  As an additional challenge...  Well I was asked to bake this weekend for the Cycling Criterium that was taking place so they could sell my cupcakes in the Canteen.  No worries - how many ? - Oh, about 100!!!!  Well I compromised and made 50 but they were pretty special and not your usual 'run of the mill flat as a tack, ugly-as patty cakes', which are the usual fare at these events.

A cupcake should look so good that your mouth should be watering as you hand over the money and pick it out.  That first bite needs to delight your senses, it should be light, moist, full of flavour and the icing or frosting needs to complement not overpower it.

Here is my recipe for Orange Vanilla Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did...yum yum yummmm.

I use a 250ml Cup and a 20ml Tbsp in all my recipes

125g Unsalted Butter, softened slightly
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or Essence)
3/4 Cup Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1.5 Cups Plain Gluten Free Flour
2 tsp GF Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Milk
Zest from 2 large oranges

  1. Preheat oven to 180Celsius of 160 if fan forced
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy - about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time beating really well after each one - don't be concerned if the mix looks a little curdled.
  4. In a separate bowl measure out the flour and baking powder and stir well with a balloon whisk to aerate and combine.
  5. Using a large metal spoon fold into the butter mix about 1/3 of the flour mix, alternate the flour and milk into the butter mix until all combined but be careful not to overmix.
  6. Add your grated orange zest and fold it through.
  7. Place your paper cupcake wrappers inside your cupcake pans or grease if not using paper wrappers.
  8. My tip for easy, beautifully filled cupcakes is to use a piping bag with no nozzle attached.  Using a large spatula spoon as much of your mix as you can into your piping bag being careful to keep the end pinched.  Then deliver a beautiful dollop into each case about 2/3 up the wrapper only.  If you overfill they will spill over and stick.
  9. If you don't fancy the piping bag just fill using a large spoon.  If you have more than you need for 12 average sized cupcakes, the remaining mix will wait until your first batch is done.
  10. Place the tray in the lower shelf in the oven and bake for approx 10-15 minutes keeping a close eye they will go from too soft to just right very quickly.  They should spring back when lightly pressed with your finger or when a skewer comes out clean.
  11. Leave the cooked cupcakes on a wire rack to cool slightly remove them from the tin leaving them in their wrappers.
  12. If you have additional mixture, place more paper wrappers in the holes and re-fill and get batch number two in the oven.

The icing is the crown on your cupcake, its the exciting bit that beckons you so don't skimp.  Let it look luxurious and ever so sinful...

Icing / Frosting
2 cups of pure icing sugar or GF Icing Mixture
50g Softened Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Grated Zest of One Large Orange
2 Tbsp Orange Juice (from above orange)

  1. Turn electric hand mixer onto medium and combine ingredients.  If its a little dry add some extra orange juice or if a little wet more icing sugar.
  2. When combined and a good consistency turn beaters to high and mix for about 2 minutes until very smooth.  You are looking for a consistency that will hold the ridges in your beater swirls.  Not too firm but not soft enough that when you stop beating the ridges soften back to a smooth mix - you want to see those ridges and have them hold up.
  3. Your cupcakes need to be completely cool before you apply your icing or it will slide off.  If you are wanting to use fancy cupcake wrappers, the trick to keeping them looking immaculate is to now place your cupcake inside its second wrapper - yes an extra wrapper that hasn't been baked - your cupcakes will now look pristine and ready for their crowning glory.
  4. Fill a piping bag with a large open or star shaped tip and pipe the frosting in decreasing circles onto your cupcakes.  3-4 circles is plenty or you'll have a mountain of icing that will overpower your cake.
  5. If you are planning on sprinkles of any kind you need to have these at the ready or they will not stick once the icing starts to harden.  After every 3 cupcakes sprinkle over your decorations, then move on to the others.
Hope you love these,
Enjoy !

L x

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