Sunday, August 7, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

I'm gearing up for my getaway to Florida next week, and it got me thinking about the sweet citrus taste of Florida oranges. I've been visiting Florida at least once a year since I was a little girl and carry many memories in my heart of the times I've spent there. This past weekend was a bit of a scorcher in the Lehigh Valley, with humidity on the rise and temperatures once again soaring into the 90's, it felt as though I was already laying on the beaches in West Palm Beach, FL. I decided it was the perfect time to try out a recipe that has been on my baking list for quite some time....Orange Creamcicle Cupcakes

The Orange Creamsicle, a center of vanilla ice cream surrounded by orange flavored ice, has been a long-standing icon on a list of classic summer treats. It's been around so long that it has even earned its' own the United States, August 14th is known as National Creamsicle Day. In honor of this upcoming event, as well as my trip to one of the nation's largest citrus suppliers, I put my own spin on this classic popsicle by incorporating it into a cupcake.

I knew that I wanted an orange cake base, and a swirled frosting combination of buttercream and orange flavoring, however I couldn't find a combination of the two to suit my liking. So I settled on an orange cake recipe from Nesting-Project, an orange flavored icing from GrinandBakeIt and the classic Wilton's Buttercream recipe.

The cake was an easy mix, however, please note that this recipe only makes 12 cupcakes. When mixing, it doesn't seem like there is enough batter to even fill a dozen, but it does work out as long as you leave nothing left behind in the bowl. I will definitely double the cake recipe next time. I was a little distracted when baking this time, so I wasn't checking them as often as I normally do while they are in the oven. I set the timer for 17 minutes, as the recipe cook time indicated 15-20. They were slightly overdone when I took them out, so next time I will start the timer at 15 minutes. While cooling, the sweet smell of oranges lingered in the air and the anticipation of taking the first bite was making me anxious.

I started on the orange frosting next. It was pretty much the same as mixing up a batch of buttercream, with the exception of the orange extract in replace of the vanilla and the addition of orange juice. I also chose to add a dime sized amount of orange gel food coloring for swirling effects later. To achieve the swirl effect in the frosting, I layered the orange and the buttercream in the piping bag, then used a long spoon to combine the two. It's now time to top the cake bases! As a young girl, I remembered ordering soft served orange creamsicle ice cream whenever our family would go for dessert. I wanted to create the impression of swirls of soft serve ice cream piled high on a cone. For a final touch, I placed an orange gummy candy at the peak of the icing mound. I was quite impressed with the final outcome. The flavors in the cake and the icing created a combination so authentic, for a moment, it was hard to believe that it wasn't an orange popsicle in my mouth, but instead a cupcake.

The combination of the orange frosting and the traditional buttercream doubles the amount of frosting. So unless you are going to double the recipe for the cake base, you are going to be left with a lot of excess frosting. I chose to store mine in a tupperware container, to use later in the week in another tasty concoction. Check back later in the week to see what I've come up with!

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 Tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup self-rising flour
2 teaspoon orange flavoring
(May use 1/2 teaspoon almond extract instead of the suggested 1 tsp.vanilla extract.)
2-3 Tablespoons milk
Directions :
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking paper cups. Put all the ingredients except for the milk into the mixer and blend until smooth. Add the milk.
Bake for 15-20 or until they are golden on top

Orange Frosting
1 cup butter, room temperature
6-8 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup orange juice

Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)

2 tablespoons milk

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