I woke up Saturday morning with an intense craving for orange-infused cupcakes. I’ve never had such a thing, but my body told me I needed it, STAT. So I sent my Darling off to replenish my stock of cupcake liners and proceeded to root through my cupboards searching for my key ingredient: orange blossom water. I flipped on my Lady GaGa collection and started gyrating around the kitchen, collecting my ingredients. The end result was one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had (pat, pat, pat) and one of the most interesting (double pat) – if I do say so myself. Hopefully you’ll all agree! The orange blossom water permeates the cupcake, giving it a perfumey, grown-up taste (hence the name). Thanks to Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for helping out with the base (my favourite to date – soooo moist and bouncy).
These little guys came out rather pretty (though would have been better if I hadn’t been too gung-ho with the icing and had waited until they were truly cool to the touch to ice), so I had fun snapping images and getting Darling involved as well (the second one is his, as is the one for the icing recipe – skip to the end). So this recipe series boasts not one but THREE images: which one do you like best?
Enough chatter: let’s get to work.
- 1 cup “milk” (I used soy but you can use almond or rice as well)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1.5 cups unbleached flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or safflower or sunflower… you get the idea)
- a heaping 3/4 cup of sugar cane
- 2 tsp lemon extract
- 1 tsp orange blossom water (I got mine at the “exotic” food section at Loblaws, so I’m sure with a little searching you can find it as well. The brand name of the one I used is Clic out of Montreal. I would have included a link to the website but it’s one of the worst I’ve seen and completely unhelpful in terms of seeing the products they offer.)
- 1 tbsp (or about 1 orange’s worth) orange rind
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine your “milk”, vinegar and cornstarch (no need to stir) in a measuring cup and set aside for a second. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or grease ’em up if you don’t have liners (though they really are marvelous and can be “green-binned” here in Ottawa!).
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour (I just use an old metal colander and bang on the side so the flour zips through the small holes and gets broken up), baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir your “milk” mixture up with a fork to break up the cornstarch. It should be thick and almost bubbly at this point. Dig out a little well in the middle of your flour mixture then add your “milk” to it. Add the oil, sugar, lemon extract and orange blossom water. Stir well until combined, then add the orange zest.
Fill the liners about 3/4 of the way to the top of you want smaller, more contained cupcakes, or to just under the lip of the liner if you want them to puff out over the top and get that “muffin top” look that so many unfortunate girls are sporting these days. Toss them in the oven for 20-22 minutes, checking them for done-ness with a toothpick (if it comes out clean then they’re ready – if it comes out goopy they ain’t). Once they’re out, let them sit for a minute in the pan, then dump them out onto a cooling rack.
Once they’re ice cold, ice them with Vanilla Coconut or Lemon Buttercream Frosting – either one will be delish, as I’m sure a chocolate one would be as well (I’m working on it). Luckily orange is one of those flavours that goes with pretty much everything. Happy spring everyone!