I know. I know. Sometimes you just don’t have either the time or the energy to make buttercream.
Maybe you find the thought of making buttercream just a little too daunting.
Maybe you just found out you are about to have guests coming over and are paralysed by the idea that you only have 30 minutes in which to make cake appear out of nowhere.
Sometimes you also want to wow them just a little too.
Keep It Simple & Sassy, people.
These are not the times to start testing your culinary skills. Fatigue and stress will seriously compromise your dexterity and ability to manage complex techniques.
These are the times when simple classics, done well, will keep you calm and your guests happy (or the kids if they’ve been harrassing you for cake). Well executed, a moist, flavourful cupcake with a delicate cream frosting can wow even the most fastidious of sweet tooths.
This is what saved me this weekend when this transpired …
Mum: Oh hey, we’ve got some of the family coming over for coffee. Can you bake something?
Me: When are they coming over?
Cue mad rush to see what I had in the pantry and fridge.
Thank the gods for oranges, I say. And cream. I always have them to hand.
You can certainly substitute mandarins or tangelos for the orange. I used a combination of navels and blood orange because I could not make up my mind which to use. They were perfect.
One happy family gathering and one very relieved yours truly 🙂
Cupcakes to the rescue! What are you baking this weekend?
Orange Cream Cupcakes
These cupcakes are simple and fast to whip up and bake. Perfect for an afternoon tea, or to keep the family happy 🙂
Use whatever oranges are in season. I could not make up my mind between blood oranges and navels so I used a 50/50 combination of both. The total amount of juice for the cupcakes and cream came from two oranges, of medium size. They were ripe and full of sweet, fragrant juice.
The cupcake recipe is an excellent and reliable one. Replace the orange juice with whole milk or buttermilk, add a dash of vanilla, and you have a basic cupcake recipe that you can adapt any which way you choose.
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
125 grams sugar
2 grams orange zest, grated (from 1 orange)
106 grams eggs, whole
125 grams plain flour
10 grams baking powder
125 grams orange juice, freshly squeezed
200 grams pure cream (min 45% fat), chilled
100 grams pure icing sugar
55 grams orange juice, freshly squeezed
5 – 10 grams Triple Sec liqueur (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180℃ (or 160℃ if using fan-forced).
Prepare 16 cupcake liners on a baking tray. Alternatively, set the liners inside muffin tins. This will ensure the cupcakes hold their shape as they expand during baking.
Add the butter, sugar, and orange zest to the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to beat the butter and sugar together until light, fluffy, and the sugar is completely dissolved. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, as required during the mixing process.
Add the eggs and mix on low speed until combined.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add half the flour mixture to the batter. Beat until smooth.
Add the orange juice and beat on low speed until combined. Finally, add the remaining flour and beat on medium speed until the batter is light, creamy and smooth.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.
Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until risen, golden and the tops spring back when touched.
Remove from the oven and cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the Orange Cream.
Place the cream in a mixing bowl.
Sift the icing sugar to remove any lumps. Add the sugar to the cream and mix on low speed until fully incorporated and the cream thickens slightly.
Add the orange juice, and the Triple Sec, if using.
Mix on low speed until the cream is light and thickened.
Take care not to overbeat as you don’t want the cream to be too stiff and on the verge of separating. It should hold its shape when piped.
Fill a piping bag, fitted with a plain or decorative tip, halfway with the cream.
Pipe the cream onto the cupcakes and had some cream leftover.
I only pipe a small amount but be as generous or restrained as you please.
If you have any leftover cream, it will make a wonderful topping for pancakes, oats, fruit, gelato, desserts, or just grab a spoon.
The cupcakes will keep, without the cream frosting, for several days, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Once frosted, store the cupcakes in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for several days.
Let the cupcakes come to room temperature before serving, for the best flavour.