On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

What to do with unwanted oranges? Make orange cupcakes


Piped icing on cupcakes

We were at the supermarket Friday evening and Mr Fussy spied some very nice looking oranges. He uses an orange a day in his fruit salad. We still had 5 oranges sitting in the fruit bowl at home. I told him to get the lovely new, fresh oranges, I’d find a way to use up the discarded ones from home.

And I did.

I made orange cupcakes and cursed the straight-edged paper liners. This is the third time I’ve attempted to bake cupcakes in them. That’s it. I’ve had enough. They’ horrid, and if anyone is after some pretty cupcake liners then I’ve got about 2.5 cylinders looking for a new home.

Hideous paper liners

Can you imagine how hard those lopsided cupcakes are to frost? Without a word of a lie I think I tipped the frosting off each more than once to have another go. I got there in the end but it wasn’t easy.

The duds

I wanted a nice light cupcake paper but I didn’t have any. I’ve got some on their way to me but they’ve not arrived.

This collection is what I had to work with. The photo is taken from my phone.

2013-02-16 10.47.03

The Christmas collection is still looking plentiful. I bought those wrappers specifically for Christmas and never made cupcakes after buying them, well not during the Christmas period. And I forgot I had some pink heart cupcake liners. I could have made the red velvet cupcakes with the frozen white chocolate Lindt ball in them. I’m still planning that but it obviously wont be a Valentine’s cupcake.

Anyway, back to those forlorn oranges dismissed by Mr Fussy. They were fantastic. So juice, so sweet. And now all gone between a freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast and these cupcakes.

Making cupcakes

Aside from those misbehaved cupcakes in the paper liners, I’m still struggling to get cupcakes that bake flat. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on it. I’m going to have to lower my oven temperature significantly I think.

This batter started out really runny, but by the time all the flour was incorporated, it was quite a stiff batter. And in turn that resulted in quite a dense cupcake, that and not using any buttermilk. I knew when I saw the recipe that the absence of buttermilk would yield a slightly less tender cupcake than I’ve baked before. But I just couldn’t be bothered with figuring out the science with the baking powder and baking soda if I replaced the milk for buttermilk.

Never mind. The flavour is delightful. It actually reminds me of a Madeira cake. Well I guess there’s no real surprise there.

Orange Cupcakes minimally adapted by Annie’s Eats


  • For the cupcakes:
    225 gm butter, at room temperature
    2 cups vanilla sugar
    2 tbsp. finely grated orange zest
    4 large eggs
    1½ cups cream (or whole milk)
    ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    ½ tsp. baking powder
    ½ tsp. baking soda
    ½ tsp. salt
  • For the candied oranges:
    1½ cups sugar
    1½ cups water
    About 30 small, thin orange slices

For the frosting:

  • 113 gm butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening (Kremelta)
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange essence
  • Instructions
  • Heat the oven to 180 deg Celsius.

For the cupcakes:

  • Cream the butter, vanilla sugar and orange juice until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg one at a time and beat until each is fully incorporated.
  • Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  • In a measuring jug mix together the cream (or milk) and vanilla bean paste.
  • In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Starting with the dry ingredients, add 1/3 to the mixer and mix on low until the flour is almost incorporated.
  • Add 1/2 of the liquid and with the mixer on low, mix until the liquid is fully incorporated.
  • Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour followed by the remaining liquid and finally the last of the flour. Mix on low until the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Prepare the muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin liners to 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn the tins half way through baking to ensure an even bake.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • When the cupcakes are cool, frost as desired.

For the candied oranges:

  • In a large shallow pot or skillet bring the water and sugar to a gentle boil until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add finely sliced orange to the pan, ensuring they remain in a single layer. Don’t overcrowd.
  • Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, turning the orange slices at least once during cooking to allow both sides to be candied.
  • Leave the orange slices in the syrup until needed. Or if you have too many slices for one batch, use tongs to remove the slices and leave on waxed paper and continue  with the remaining orange slices.
  • Store the orange slices with the syrup in a jar if you don’t need all of them. Keep them refrigerated.

For the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a mixer beat the butter and shortening until light and whipped.
  • Add the orange juice and orange essence and continue to beat.
  • Add the icing sugar and with the mixer on low mix until the icing sugar begins to be incorporated.
  • Increase the speed of the mixer and continue to mix for several minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • If you’re adding colouring, add it after the icing sugar has been fully incorporated. Add a little colouring at a time and allow the frosting to mix for a good 30-60 seconds before deciding if you want a deeper colour. Repeat as necessary to achieve the colour required.

My Notes:

  • I halved the cupcake recipe above. The candied oranges and frosting are the same quantities I used.
  • I already had a cup of vanilla sugar in the pantry, but if you don’t have vanilla sugar then use a vanilla bean, if you don’t have a vanilla bean then double the amount of vanilla bean paste. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, lots and lots of vanilla extract, or wait until you have those items before making the recipe Smile
  • In the end I didn’t use the candied orange slices. With the type of piping I used the orange slices would have hidden it all, or fallen off. And I was just a little be pleased with my piping. So the orange slices are in the fridge.
  • Making a 1/2 quantity I got 13 cupcakes.

Candied Orange Slices-2

I had heaps of fun playing around with the large Wilton icing tips I had. Mr Fussy bought the French Tip as a stocking stuffer, and this was the first opportunity I had to try it. It’s fiddly. It’s pretty unforgiving. If you don’t get a perfect round as you pipe it’s really obvious, and that goes for each layer of piping you add.


I think I did alright. But since I’m really pedantic about such things, I only iced 3 or 4 like this. You’ve got to be enjoying what you’re doing, if you’re not, then it’s time to move onto something else, or the next tip Smile

I actually put down a layer of waxed paper on the bench and practiced each icing style before I iced a cupcake. And I accidentally figured out how to get the really frilly icing by trying to force the remainder icing out of my disposable bag while still piping in a circle. Now that WAS a fun moment. And then I figured out another one too, this time by piping a few stars to ensure all the air bubbles were out.

I ended up using the 1M and 2D tips as well. You may not quite tell there’s two different ruffles going on. It’s subtle. The 1M did a nicer ruffle than the 2D. But I find the 2D makes a better rose swirl.

1M and Rose swirl

This next photo shows the 3 different styles I tried. The icing itself was so nice to use, and it tasted great. In fact it’s the best tasting frosting I’ve made. I’m not sure why I’ve shied away from a frosting that uses shortening. Ana, fro Facebook had told me about it many months ago. But I continued to use the cream cheese frosting, which I have no complaints about.

What I really like about the shortening version is that the icing is much more paler. With less butter, it’s less yellow. And it doesn’t have a really heavy butter flavour.

I was enjoying my afternoon casually pottering around making pretty little icing patters on the waxed paper and sneaking bits of icing from the bowl. It was, for me, a great afternoon of discovery.

Piped icing on cupcakes

You might be able to tell the cupcake at 1 o’clock and 6 o’clock look slightly different to the one in the middle and at 11 o’clock. These are the two different tips, 1M and 2D.

And everyone together now:

All together now

I can tell you there’s a LOT of frosting on those cupcakes.

In fact eating one almost made me feel ill. I actually had to stop and compose myself, almost feeling obligated to continue but knowing that I’d done my dash. But as usually I dug deep and managed to cross the line. Devoured! So those cupcakes that look so pretty with the rows and rows of ruffles, are incredibly hard going to eat (without making yourself ill).

Below is the one I had this morning. Yes, this morning. Followed by a Raisin Oat Cookie. I called it breakfast. As you do. I had just come home from a 60 minute run. I thought it was justified (who am I kidding!?).

I wanted to show you what the texture was of the cake. Having just recently proclaimed I rather make a recipe where I’ve seen the texture of the item, it’s only fair I post one on my own blog.


Ahem, that was one for breakfast, and one for dessert. Sadly I didn’t have a second 60 minute run to make myself feel righteous about it. Oops.


Monday update – when I got up this morning I saw Mr Fussy had organised his morning tea for the entire week. Monday’s was already safely tucked in his backpack.

2013-02-18 06.50.37

The top shelf is a little too difficult for me to reach without a chair so I reckon these are fairly safe, and if any cookies disappear then I’m definitely out of luck. First in best dressed.


2 thoughts on “What to do with unwanted oranges? Make orange cupcakes

  1. What a lovely shade that icing is. I am with you, have a cake box full of pretty cupcake liners and prefer the plain brown ones – funny enough, that was the only colour you could buy when I was a child (a fair while ago now!)

    • Hi Alison, I bought a couple of Americolor gel colours the other day. In the past I’ve used from a box of 8 Wilton colours. The Americolor isn’t thick like Wilton. It’s in a squeeze bottle which makes it much easier to control the colour. I bought them from Spotlight. And for now they are my preferred choice. With one use I’m a convert 🙂 My childhood was a good long while ago too!

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