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Sunday, April 16, 2006

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.

caramel eggs


Blogger diva. said...

that's really very pretty! i like the way the blue of the caramel eggs were nicely complimented by the orange. very wonderfully put together! i'll indeed try this recipe some time soon :) thanks for sharing. this is great, really.

4/17/2006 12:23 AM  
Blogger Tami said...

Those look so good and very original. Thanks for sharing this recipe it looks so tasty!

4/17/2006 1:19 AM  
Blogger valentina said...

These cupcakes are lovely. I have spent quite a while looking at them.I might try the recipe. Obviously I will not dare try to replicate your beautiful work but I will certainly prepare the cupcakes. I love the mixture of carrot and cake.

4/17/2006 3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ca-Caw! Ca-Caw! Ca-Caw!
a hungry bird would lie to fly to your house and devour your tasty creations.

4/17/2006 10:16 AM  
Blogger Harv & Nat said...


4/17/2006 10:19 AM  
Blogger Miss Scarlett said...

Those are so pretty! You have such a lovely eye for details.
I have a question for you.
Last night I made the Chocolate Cupcakes and they are dry-ish and crumbly. What is your best guess as to why?
I baked them at 350 deg for 18 minutes - my cups were smaller than yours.
Was that too long? Is that the problem?
thank you - they are still delicious and the GANACHE - don't even get me started on that ganache!

4/17/2006 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you use ketchup holders as liners for the cupcakes???

4/17/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Rosa said...

Yum. Not only do I know they taste good (anything with orange) but how beautiful. I must try these!

4/17/2006 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your candied peels are so pretty!

And thank you so much for answering my questions in your FAQ so well. I appreciate your time!

4/17/2006 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, that last anon comment should've been signed with Julie from Phoenix!

4/17/2006 10:49 PM  
Blogger Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

I really liked the look of these. The eggs were just beautiful and they sound yummy. Now in the picture they look very vibrantly orange. Did you add food coloring? It wasnt included in the recipe, and it didnt seem to me as if the small bit of juice could make that color naturally.

4/18/2006 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Deb said...

I made the cupcakes and frosting (sans lovely candied peel and candies) for the teachers at my son's public school on Monday. They were LOVED by all.

I was so happy they were not on strike and back to work after spring break, I had to bow down to them and bring them treats. SF teachers thank you!

4/18/2006 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yum,yum,yum Made these as is with out the eggs but instead added a bittersweet chocolate swirl on top of the candied peels. yum,yum,yum

4/21/2006 9:30 AM  
Anonymous kat said...

Oh, yum!

4/27/2006 1:12 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

The photos of the orange peel are visually arresting. Love 'em!

5/12/2006 3:10 AM  
Anonymous Nabeela said...

isn't three oranges too much for just using only half a cup of the liquidy pulp and 2 tbsp orange juice?

5/13/2006 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hai chockylit,

I'm planning to make this cake this thursday, but i want to cut the recipe to half can u tell me how much egg should i put? yr recipe said 3!


5/16/2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Hey, Miss Scarlett, sounds like they were over cooked. Are you sure your oven was at 350 degrees? 18 minutes doesn't sound like too long... but if the cups were smaller that could be the reason. If I am making only minis its sometimes only 12-15 minutes.

Yes, I do use ketchup holders as liners for the cupcakes.

Wide Lawns Subservient Worker, I think I may have added some coloring. I think I spaced it when typing up the recipe...

Deb I am so glad the SF teachers enjoyed them.

Nabeela, I was using small oranges. Maybe yours are bigger?

It's hard to slit an egg! If a recipe calls for 3 eggs, I usually make 2/3 or 1/3 of the recipe. There is no easy answer unless you want to weigh the egg and split it by weight.

5/17/2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger Allison Krausse said...

Hey thanx a lot for the recipe.
these cupcakes taste soooo good
i did it today and i love it!!

thanx :D
you're my master now! hehe

5/23/2006 7:54 PM  

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