Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Orange & Almond Cupcakes

Delicate little cupcakes with almond buttercream icing- if you're feeling ambitious, follow our guide to creating an edible bouquet.


  • 300g butter, softened
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • zest 1 orange, plus 2 tbsp juice
  • 1 tsp almond extract

For the buttercream icing

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 450g icing sugar, plus a little extra
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • food colouring paste of your choice (we used a mixture of pink and yellow to create coral)
  • 250g pack green sugar paste (or fondant icing mixed with green food colouring)

You'll also need

  • 24 muffin cases (we used green ones)
  • large piping bag
  • large curved star point piping nozzle
  • 15cm/6in styrofoam ball
  • 15cm/6in flowerpot (measured across the top)
  • green tissue paper
  • sticky tape
  • 24 short wooden skewers (or long ones cut in half)
  • ribbon, to decorate (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3½. Line 2 x 12-hole muffin tins with muffin cases. Put the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and blend with an electric hand whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the flour, almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Mix again, then add the orange zest and juice, and almond extract. Give a final mix to combine everything.
  2. Use 2 dessertspoons to divide the mixture between the cases. Bake for 22-25 mins, changing the tins over after 15 mins. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 mins in the tins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Can now be frozen for up to 3 months.
  3. To make the icing, tip the butter into a large bowl and blend with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add the icing sugar, cream cheese, almond extract and orange juice. Mash everything together first with a spatula (to avoid a mess), then go in with the electric whisk and mix until smooth. Add your food colouring and mix again until you have an even colour. (If you’re using liquid food colouring, it will make the icing runny, so add a little more icing sugar.)
  4. Fit the piping bag with a large curved star point piping nozzle, then fill the bag with half of the icing and twist the end closed. To pipe, hold the piping bag directly above the centre of the cake and, applying a steady pressure, pipe in a swirl, working out towards the edge of the cupcake. When you reach the edge, swipe the nozzle to create a smooth finish – you can always cover this bit with leaves, so don’t worry too much if it looks messy. When you have piped 12 cupcakes, empty any remaining icing from the bag back into the bowl with the reserved icing. Add a little more colouring to create a deeper shade (and a little extra sifted icing sugar if the icing gets too runny). Whisk again, then refill your piping bag and ice the remaining cakes. Can be stored somewhere cool for up to 1 day (the fridge is fine, just make sure that you remove 30 mins before eating).
  5. Before serving, add a few leaves, if you like: pinch off small pieces of green sugar paste or fondant icing and shape into leaves. Use a sharp knife to add detail, then stick onto the cupcakes. See tips, below left, for how to build your bouquet.

Baby Cake

Orange & Poppy Seed Cake

Last time my friend Heidi & her mother came for afternoon tea they had this cake & enjoyed it so much that they asked for the recipe, so when it was time to bake for her baby sprinkle it wasn’t even a question! I also knew that the neutral colours of the cake would be perfect for my theme.

¼ cup black poppy seeds
¾ cup full cream milk
200 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 orange rind, zested with a microplane
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup caster sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
250 grams cream cheese, softened
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1½ - 2 cups of soft icing sugar, sifted
  (taste for sweetness)
1 tbs orange rind

Preheat oven to 160°C. Pre-prepare a 20cm round, lined cake tin. Put the poppy seeds & milk into a jug, stir, then set aside on your workbench to start on the other ingredients. Place the butter, orange rind, vanilla paste & sugar into a bowl, then beat with an electric mixer/beaters until light, creamy & pale in colour. Add eggs, one by one, mixing between each one. Add sifted flour & baking powder, milk poppy seed mixture, orange juice, & mix until ingredients are just combined. Pour into prepared cake tin & bake for 60mins, or until cake tested with a skewer.
Whilst the cake is cooling, prepare your cream cheese icing. Beat the cream cheese, butter & vanilla paste until smooth with electric mixer/beaters. Add icing sugar ½ cup at a time so you don’t end up with one big ‘poof’ of sugar in your kitchen. Finally, add orange rind. Combine.

Style: Use a palette icing knife to spread out the icing from the centre. You can either add a sprinkling of extra poppy seeds or orange rind on top, but this time I went for baby booties made of icing instead. Choose a ribbon the colour of your theme to go around the cake, it is such an easy touch but speaks volumes.
from:Baby Cake
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