Carrot Orange Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Orange Peel Nest
I normally don't feel very inspired to make themed cupcakes for holidays. I consider it dangerous territory into which I don't dare tread. I never say never, though, that's for sure. And this past week I was indeed inspired by the colorful caramel robin's eggs that were for sale at Peet's Coffee. The vibrant blue of the egg was screaming for something orange...
These cupcakes ended up quite delicious - very moist cake with a touch of spice, creamy frosting, and candied orange peel that provides a nice burst of orange flavor and a chewy, crunchy texture. The egg is yummy on it's own.
makes 30 cupcakes / 350 degree oven
1 cup pecans
2-3 medium oranges
1 pound carrots
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of ground nutmeg
1. Toast pecans in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from the oven, let them cool, then chop coarsely.
3. Peel oranges and puree in a blender or food processor. Measure out 1/2 cup of the liquidy pulp.
4. Peel, rinse, then grate carrots coarsely.
5. In a large bowl, combine orange pulp, carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, and vegetable oil.
6. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
7. Fold flour mixture into the carrot mixture.
8. Fold in pecans.
9. Scoop out into cupcake papers.
10. Bake at 350 degree oven for ~20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting with a Hint of Orange
16 ounces or 2 packages of Philly cream cheese
3/4 stick butter
5-7 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add half of the sugar and the orange juice. Beat until combined.
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.
Candied Orange Peel Nests
Why reinvent the wheel? Nic over at the Baking Sheet has already gone and posted a recipe for candied orange peel. I researched a handful of methods and I liked the sound of this one over the others.
I cut the recipe in half. The only other change I made was to cut peel of the orange with a vegetable peeler then cut it into strips before soaking over night. Other then that change, I basically followed the recipe in her post.
cutting the orange peel
orange peel strips
candied orange peel
1. Pipe some frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.
2. Top off each frosted cupcake with some candied orange strips and a caramel egg.