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At the moment, it seems like a huge number of my friends are getting engaged and married. In this vein, two weekends in a row I was asked by friends to make cupcakes for their wedding related festivities, firstly, for the kitchen tea of Z and secondly, for A’s engagement party.

My friend B came around and we made the cupcakes for Z together. Given that the bride’s mother and sister are gluten free, a flourless orange cupcake seemed appropriate, and I topped it with a cream cheese and white chocolate frosting from the Magnolia bakery cookbook . I also made some vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing for Z from the same cookbook. I thought the purple tinted vanilla frosting looked particularly cute.

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One week on, I found myself in the kitchen again, this time to bake for A. I was a little disappointed when A chose the exact same flavours as Z, but was cheered when she decided to have a chocolate frosting on her vanilla cupcakes instead. I used the same recipe for the flourless orange cake but decided to try a different recipe for the vanilla cupcake and frosting as I thought the one from Magnolia was a little bland (controversial I know, given that Magnolia Bakery is credited with the cupcake revival). I tried out Thomas Keller’s cupcake recipe from Ad Hoc at Home. The method was significantly more complex than the cupcakes from Mangolia (which really shouldn’t be surprising), and involved making two meringues, resulting in a significant number of egg yolks in my fridge.

To add to the degree of difficulty, I also converted the recipe to spelt flour and had a panicked moment when it looked like the cupcakes were about to explode all over the oven (something that has happened before). I was kneeling on the floor almost ready to cry and cursing myself for trying a new recipe and mucking around with random flour when I needed to bake 90 cupcakes and only had a couple of hours before the party. Thankfully, there were no explosions and the cupcakes turned out well.

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I preferred Keller’s vanilla cupcake recipe because the use of whipped eggwhites made the cake light and airy. While I was dubious about the chocolate frosting, it was absolutely delicious. I will definitely be making it again.

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A couple of tips for cupcake making. Don’t fret too much if you end up with a couple of warped cupcakes, just slice the top to make them flat and hide the imperfections with the frosting.

Cupcake liners are from Robert Gordon and I bought them at Cake Deco. I like these liners because they are pretty but also because they are strong enough to stand up on their own once filled, which made it easier to get several batches in the oven at once even though I only have one muffin tray.

I like to refrigerate the cupcakes before I transport them so that the frosting hardens a little. The cupcakes should be served at room temperature, cold frosting is not very nice.

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Magnolia’s vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream

Adapted from More from Magnolia by Allysa Torey

Note, I often find American recipes too sweet. I have reduced the quantity of sugar in both the cupcake and the frosting. In the frosting I used less than half the sugar suggested and it was still sweet enough for me.

Makes approximately 40 mini sized cupcakes.

For the cupcake

330g plain flour (or 400g if using spelt flour)
3 tsp baking powder (or 2 tsp if using spelt flour)
220g unsalted butter, softened
400g caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
240ml milk
3 tsp vanilla extract

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C/350F.
  • Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  • Cream the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar in batches and mix for about 3 minutes, until fluffy

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  • Add the eggs one at a time, then beat well after each.
  • Add one third of the flour mixture, mix, then 1/2 the milk. Alternate with the remaining flour and milk, beating after each addition.
  • Spoon the  batter into the liners, about 3/4 full.

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  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Rotate the pans once while baking.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting

220g unsalted butter, softened
350g icing sugar
80ml milk
4 tsp vanilla extract

  • Place the butter, half the sugar, the milk and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
  • Beat with a mixer for about 3-5 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remainder of the sugar, beating well after it is added.
  • Continue beating until the icing is of a consistency that can be  piped. You can add extra sugar to the mixture if it is too runny.

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  • Add food colouring and stir to reach the desired shade. We had a slight disaster with our ‘violet’ food colouring turning the icing an inky blue, thankfully we had some red colouring on hand to correct the colour:

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  • Fill a piping bag with a star shaped tip and pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Top with a candy flower decoration.

Keller’s white cupcakes with chocolate buttercream

Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller

Note: as I said above, this is a more complex recipe than the Magnolia one but I do think it is worth the effort. Make creme anglais or creme brulee with your excess egg yolks!

Makes approximately 40 mini sized cupcakes.

For the cupcakes

360g flour (or 430g if using spelt flour)
2 tsp of baking powder (or 1.5 tsp if using spelt flour)
pinch of salt
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
550g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
300ml milk
180ml eggwhites (from about 6 large eggs) at room temperature

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C/350F.
  • Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • In a bowl, sift the flour and baking powder and stir in the salt. Set aside.
  • Beat the butter and 300g of the sugar together for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and thick.
  • Beat in the vanilla.
  • Add one third of the flour mixture, mix, then 1/2 the milk. Alternate with the remaining flour and milk, beating after each addition.
  • Transfer the batter to a large bowl – it will be thick.

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  • Put the eggwhites in a clean bowl and whisk on medium until they begin to foam.
  • Begin mixing on high speed and slowly add the sugar. Beat until the meringue is thick and glossy and almost holds stiff peaks.

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  • Fold about a third of the meringue into the flour mixture to lighten it, then add the rest of the meringue and stir gently until combined.

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  • Spoon the mixture into the liners – fill the liners just above 2/3rds full as the mixture will rise quite a lot.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Rotate the pans once while baking.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting

380g caster sugar
180ml eggwhites (from about 6 large eggs) at room temperature
370g butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
140g dark chocolate – I used 70% cocoa

  • Combine sugar and eggwhites in a heat proof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Whisk until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (approx. 65C/150F to 70C/160F). This took about 5 minutes.
  • Working quickly, pour the mixture into a stand mixer and whip on high speed. Continue whipping until the mixture is thick and holds stiff peaks and the whites are cool to the touch – about 15 minutes.

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  • Switch to a paddle attachment and on medium speed, gradually add pieces of butter. Make sure each batch is incorporated before adding more.

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  • Keep beating until all butter is incorporated and the frosting is thick.
  • Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and allow to cool slightly. Pour the chocolate over the frosting and blend to combine:

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  • Fill a piping bag with a star shaped tip and pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Top with a candy flower decoration.

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Mum’s flourless orange cupcake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting

Flourless orange recipe is an old standby. The frosting is adapted from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook.

Makes about 50 mini cupcakes.

For the cupcakes

3 unblemished oranges
240g almond meal
225g sugar
7 eggs
1.5 tsp baking powder

  • Wash oranges, put in a saucepan with boiling water and simmer for about 2 hours. Add extra water as necessary. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
  • Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Place whole oranges in a food processor and blitz to a puree.

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  • Add the almond meal and sugar and blend briefly. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add the baking powder and mix.

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  • The mixture will be quite liquid.
  • Fill the cupcake liners almost to the top, as the mixture will not rise very much.

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  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting

225g white chocolate (good quality)
450g cream cheese
85g butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and allow to cool until lukewarm.
  • Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth (about 3 minutes). Add the vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the melted chocolate and beat well.
  • Fill a piping bag with a star shaped tip and pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Top with a candy flower decoration.

Enjoy!

 

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7 Responses to “Cupcake-o-rama! Flourless orange & vanilla cupcakes.”

  1. Corry says:

    Love them all. They look so pretty and yummy. I will be making your Mum’s flourless orange cupcake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting for my next get together. We are so lucky to have such pretty paper cupcakes holders here.

  2. Hearty bakes says:

    wow…pretty cupcakes! simply lovely!

  3. Annabelle Wilson says:

    Wow! These look amazing Em, well done!

  4. Amanda says:

    So pretty, love the light purple frosting! They all look delicious.

  5. Megan says:

    Love the cupcakes! They’re so pretty. Love the colors! And great job with the piping. Never seen cupcake liners like that before. I definitely need to have them.

  6. You cupcakes are the loveliest!

  7. Your mates are very lucky to have a friend like you! Such beautiful cupcakes.

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