Saturday 20 January 2007


At the start of the week I read about a cupcake challenge at Chockylit's Cupcake Bakeshop. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to test my resolve to be a little braver in the kitchen so I had a think about new cupcake flavours (or at least ones that I hadn't seen before) and soon decided that I really wanted to try a Seville orange cupcake for the perfect mix of seasonality and taste. As this was my first attempt at serious flavour tweaking, I looked through my books and came up with 2 recipes that seemed the most open to adjustment. My first choice was the lemon layer cake recipe from 'The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook'. I halved it to make 12 cupcakes rather than one large cake and replaced the lemon with orange, which sounds simple, but they came out of the oven looking and tasting pretty unappetising and sadly ended up in the bin.

I hate failed attempts at cooking so, after a few minutes of grumpiness but determined not to be deterred, I turned to my next recipe and to Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess'. I am a fan of all of Nigella's books and have had success with her basic cupcake recipe before so, with my fingers and toes firmly crossed, I replaced the vanilla extract with 1/2 a teaspoon of zest and a teaspoon of orange juice. This batch came out of the oven looking much more promising so it was time to take a chance on making the icing before I had even tasted a cake.

And so it was back to Magnolia (as I am never one to hold a grudge) and their recipe for lemon buttercream icing. The lemon zest and juice were replaced with the same quantities of Seville orange zest and juice, and while they suggest 4 cups of icing sugar I found 3 to be adequate as the mixture was more than sweet enough at this stage.

A bit of wrestling with a piping bag and they were ready to be tasted (yum - a definite success) and photographed.


125g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
125g self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 tsp Seville orange juice
1/2 tsp Seville orange zest
2-3 tbsp milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup Seville orange juice
1/2 tsp Seville orange zest

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a tin with 12 cupcake papers.
Put everything except the milk into a food processor and blitz until all of the ingredients are combined. At this point add the milk spoon by spoon until the mixture reaches a good dropping consistency. Divide the batter between the cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cupcakes are golden and springy to the touch. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack while you get on with the icing.
To make the icing beat together 2 cups of the icing sugar, the butter, zest and juice. When this is all combined gradually add the remaining cup of sugar until you are happy with the consistency and the taste.
Ice the cooled cupcakes and enjoy.

Disclaimer: the slightly odd mix of grams and cups on the ingredients list is down to the USA/UK recipe mix. I am not yet confident enough to feel happy converting my weights and measures so that they are all in a standard form. I own both scales and cup measures and hopefully you do too.


Freya said...

Hi Gemma! These look delicious! I'm giving the cupcake challenge a go myself tonight after work. Can't wait to see the line-up!
I bet yours tasted so good!

Anna's kitchen table said...

Gemma, the cupcakes look delicious, well done!

Lady M said...

Mmmmm. I do love cupcakes! I even see a hint of the zest in the frosting. Way to go!


Kathryn said...

Mmmm - they look lovely. I love the idea of orange cupcakes - these look delicious.

Kathryn x

Gemma said...

Thanks for all the nice comments - if only all experimental cooking could turn out so well!

Anonymous said...

Although they sound delicious, the swirrled frosting reminds me of dog poo. Not a good look or thought for any cupcake.