It’s another blazing day in the San Fernando Valley. Everyday my pal Jimi and I take our walk through the neighborhood together. He’s really a great guy to hang out with. As soon as he see’s me put on the Tom’s shoes he knows we’ll be on our way out the front door. But today the pavement is just too hot and the sun is beating down with unusual intensity. When I take off the Tom’s shoes, Jimi realizes the walk is not going to happen. This was the look on his face, total disappointment. I thought it best for him and me to turn on the air conditioning and break out the cupcake pans.
On a day filled with bright sunshine, chocolate didn’t seem appropriate. I was feeling something more fruity and citrus-y was in order. I looked at the bag of oranges that I just brought home from the farmer’s market and thought they would make some awesome cupcakes. These cupcakes, filled with fresh orange zest and orange juice, will absolutely make your mouth pucker!
From The Silver Palate Cookbook
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
grated zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line pan with cupcake papers.
2. Cream the butter, and gradually add the sugar, beating until light in color. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, and the orange zest.
3. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with the orange juice to the batter.
4. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter.
5. Pour batter into cupcake papers until 2/3 full. Bake for about 18-22 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.
6. Let cupcakes completely cool before icing.
Orange Buttercream Frosting
From My Recipes
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 pound powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1. In bowl of electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter and orange zest at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until well blended.
2. Stir in 2 tablespoons of orange juice, adding more until you achieve the consistency you desire.
To me, cupcakes are like a party in your mouth. I like that you can get three distinct flavors and textures all in one bite. The cake, the filling and the icing. It’s the perfect little package. A friend of mine asked me if I would make some cupcakes for her “tween-agers” birthday party. I thought the girls would enjoy a rich, eggy yellow cake topped off by a vanilla buttercream icing. Just to kick it up a notch, I thought I would add the raspberry preserves for an unexpected surprise.
And, if you’re talking “tween-agers”, the accent color HAD to be pink, which is also my favorite color.
Recipe for Yellow Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Vanilla Buttercream Icing
Adapted from The Well-Decorated Cake
Makes about 30 cupcakes
Moist Yellow Cake
2 cups cake flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake papers.
In a medium bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt.
Cut up the butter into smaller pieces and place in large bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat for 3 minutes on medium-high speed until butter is light and creamy in color. Stop and scrape down the bowl and beat for another minute.
Add the sugar in small increments beating well after each addition, scraping down the bowl as you go. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
Reduce the mixer speed. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another minute.
You can spoon the batter into the cupcake papers, or I used a piping bag which made it easier for me. I filled the liners 2/3 full. Tap the cupcake pan on the table several times to get out all the air bubbles.
Place the pan in the lower third of the oven and bake for 21-24 minutes until slightly golden brown on top, or when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
To fill the cupcake:
Wait until cupcake is completely cooled. I used an apple corer to core out the center of the cupcake. With small spoon, fill the center with the preserves. Then cover with icing.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature
4 1/2 – 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
up to 6 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter using the paddle attachment on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes scraping down bowl every so often. Turning the mixer to the lowest speed, add 4 cups of powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, increasing the speed as the sugar becomes incorporated with the butter. Add vanilla extract, salt, lemon juice and 4 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. Depending on the consistency that you want, add more sugar for a stiffer icing, or more milk (a tablespoon at a time) for a thinner icing.
For this cupcake, I wanted a stiffer icing. I used a piping bag with a large round tip to get this particular look.