Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Orange Poppyseed Cupcakes

I’d had a request from a work colleague that I make “Orange Poppyseed Cupcakes”, as I’m not a huge cake fan (especially in the format of cupcakes!) I’d decided to semi stick to her request, but to make it a bit nicer than your average dry cake! I chose Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Orange Cake (from Stephanie Alexander’s “The Cooks Companion”) as my starting point and just added poppyseeds! After a recent disaster with an icing/frosting melting at room temperature I wanted to pick a very stable topping, I searched around quite a bit and decided on a cream cheese icing with lots of icing sugar (confectioners sugar).

Orange Poppyseed Cupcakes (adapted from Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Orange Cake (from Stephanie Alexander’s “The Cooks Companion”)
2 oranges
300g. almonds
250g. sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup of poppyseeds

Place oranges in a saucepan with 1 inch of water (you might want to poke them with a fork once to stop them splitting), cover pan and boil for 2 hours. Cool, cut into chunks (removing pips).

Place almonds in food processor and grind into small pieces/meal. Remove from food processor (don’t worry about cleaning it). Put cut up cooked oranges into food processor and pulse until nearly smooth (but not completely to a puree). Add in almonds and sugar, blend until mixed. Add in eggs 3 at a time, blending in between. Then when mixture is evenly mixed, add in poppyseeds and pulse a couple of times (don’t over mix).

Three quarter fill cupcake/muffin tins (I used paper cups as well – and I only filled mine half way to make smaller cakes so that the frosting would sit inside the paper cup and not get mushed when transporting). Bake for 30 minutes at 190ºC. Makes approximately 24.
(note: I have made this cake with lemons – but upped the amount of sugar to 320g)

Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing (frosting)
250g Cream cheese, softened
50g butter, softened
50g copha (white vegetable shortening), softened
1 tspn vanilla bean paste
2 tbspn cornflour
500g (approx 4 cups) icing sugar.

Using a hand held mixer, beat softened butter, copha and cream cheese. Add the vanilla paste and cornflour and mix well. Add in icing sugar cup by cup, mixing well in between. Put icing in piping bag and pipe onto cooled cakes. (you may have some left over ... lots of uses for the left overs other than piping into your mouth!).

Many groans of delight met these!! The icing stood up to being transported and the creamy cheese flavour was a delicious contrast to the quite tart orange cupcake. Apparently there had been a bit of teasing to the person who made the request, that she’d picked something so boring ... but they were very pleased with my interpretation and that they didn’t end up with boring cupcakes!! I think these went faster than nearly anything I’ve brought into work (so I probably hadn't needed to worry quite so much about the stability of the icing in the warmth!).

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