I’ve been a full time blogger, as opposed to a full-time baker who happened to have a blog, for a little over a year now, and I’ve discovered a few things. One, I really love blogging. I have free reign to create in the kitchen, and short of being an executive chef, few culinary jobs allow that sort of freedom. And two, I love being able to share recipes.
The bakery vault recipes had to be kept secret. Some will stay that way, because I want to have a few “family secret recipes” to pass down to Ava, but great food is meant to be shared, and if someone is brave enough to try and decipher my scribbles and measurements with an “ish” at the end, awesome. I make sure to measure as exact as I can for the blog though, promise.
I miss certain things too, one being the challenges presented to me by clients who wanted a certain flavor, sometimes completely new and custom, for their order. I loved those collaborations and coming up with something amazing in my style. One of the most unique is still the Candied Jalapeno Bacon Viogner Cupcake created in collaboration with Clarissa for a Nagy Wines event. I have a few others, but I haven’t posted recipes yet. Anyway, there are far fewer of these requests now that I’m a blogger, naturally, but I miss them. So when a friend of mine asked if I would make some cupcakes for her daughter’s birthday and if I’d make them orange flavored, I was on it!
I knew I wasn’t going to use a box mix bake, I was making this cake from scratch, and I wanted it to have a good amount of orange flavor, naturally. It was being served to 2-year-olds after all. I make a really awesome lemon curd buttercream frosting, so I decided to use that as a starting point for making a buttercream using fresh orange curd, and then modified my yellow cake recipe (coming soon), to incorporate lots of great fresh orange flavor.
The adults and kids at the party loved them, and I was very happy with the result. The cupcakes baked up BEAUTIFULLY. Each one had a perfectly domed top, which made them so easy to decorate, and I loved how the orange flavor could be subtly found throughout, not just in the frosting or the cake.
- 1½ tbsp orange zest (zest from 1 orange)
- 1 cup orange juice (from 3-4 large oranges)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Orange Curd Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
- Preheat your oven to 350 and line a cupcake tray with paper liners.
- Beat the orange zest, butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl or with a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well and scraping the bowl after each addition.
- In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add half the flour mixture to the sugar/egg/butter combination, stir to incorporate, then add half the orange juice and the vanilla. Scrape the bowl, add the other half of the flour, stir, scrape, and the last half of the orange juice. Stir just until combined.
- Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake for 20 minutes until the center of a middle cupcake springs back when touched.
- ½ lb unsalted butter, softened
- ½ lb salted butter, softened
- ½ c orange curd
- 5 cups sifted powdered sugar
- In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the butters until light and fluffy.
- Add half the sugar, once cup at a time, fully incorporating after each addition.
- Add the orange curd.
- Add the rest of the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
- If your frosting is too thick, add a little extra curd or some heavy cream to thin it. If it's too thick, add a little more powdered sugar.