Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grey Orange Cupcakes???

For the past couple days, I have had this image in my mind of blood orange cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream. I don't really know where this idea came from, being as I've never even had a blood orange before. There's a gourmet grocery store near my apartment though that has every fruit imaginable and ones I did not even know existed. So after frantic searching there today (for some reason, they were buried in the mountain of apples), I found some blood oranges.

Cross-section of the orange

I have been unable to find a citrus cupcake recipe that I'm 100% happy with. The last lemon cake I made turned out like a cake brick. I feel like the juice in the recipes really weigh down the cake. I wanted something lighter and airier. After doing some research, I was convinced that the correct way to go about this was incorporate beaten egg whites into the batter, rather than just mixing in the eggs as usual with the butter and sugar. Despite the questionable outcome of these cupcakes, one thing is certain, and that is the cake itself had a great texture.

The batter was a light pinkish color before it went into the oven. Originally, I anticipated it being a deep pink-red, but the juice was not as opaque as I thought it was going to be. If I wanted them to be darker, I would have had to add food dye to the batter, which I didn't want to do this time. It was quite a surprise when I took the baked cupcakes out of the oven, and they were bluish grey. I have absolutely no idea how this happened. It must have been some reaction between the ingredients, but I'm really unsure what it was. The only thing I can think of is maybe it was the egg whites. It's a total mystery though.

The grey!?!?

The color of the cupcakes made me think they were going to be awful tasting. I mean, how many grey things taste great? I can't think of any off-hand. They actually tasted quite good. Like I said earlier, the texture was right, and the orange taste was subtle, but really good. Combined with the vanilla bean buttercream, it was one of my favorites I've made. If I could work on the cake color, this would be even better. The frosting was awesome. I really like vanilla, and the combination of vanilla beans and vanilla "crush" (available from Sonoma Syrup - I found mine at Marshall's) really made the frosting taste like vanilla ice cream.

Finished product - tastes better than it looks

I feel like starting this blog has brought my cupcakes bad color luck. Neither the cosmo cupcakes nor these turned out nearly the color I intended them to be. Here's the recipe for anyone brave enough to try it (really, it's kind of an awesome cupcake, it just needs food dye to override the grey).

Blood Orange Cupcakes
makes 9 cupcakes

1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 stick butter, room temp
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg yolk, room temp
2 egg whites, room temp
1/3 c. whole milk, room temp
1/3 c. blood orange juice
1/2 tsp. orange extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in cupcake tins.

2. Beat the butter in a mixer on high. Add the sugar and beat on high until it is light and fluffy.
3. Add egg yolk and beat well. Add orange extract.
4. Sift dry ingredients together.
5. Mix milk with orange juice.
6. To the butter mixture, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk mixture and mix. Continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry.
7. In a separate, clean bowl, whip the egg whites into a light foam.
8. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
9. Scoop batter into cupcake trays, 2/3 full.
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cake springs back when touched.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1/2 stick butter, room temp
2 oz. cream cheese
1/3 pound confectioner's sugar
1/4 vanilla bean, beans scraped out
1/2 tsp. vanilla crush

1. Cream butter and cream cheese together
2. Add scraped vanilla beans and bean crush. Beat well.
3. Slowly add confectioner's sugar


Eric said...

Healthy cupcakes...still waiting for a post on them.

debbie said...

I want Coconut cupcakes.

Eric said...

Healthy Chocolate/coconut cupcakes

Melissa said...

I just want any kind of cupcakes for this weekend!

Danielle said...

Tara I love banana cupcakes. I know you dont like banana but pleaseee make some. haha oh im melissas friend by the way

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