it’s citrus season! Is there anything prettier than the jewel tones of a perfectly ripe blood orange? I think not.
This recipe is a celebration of the flavour and aesthetic appeal of this beautiful fruit. Freshly squeezed blood orange juice and a healthy dose of zest give this cupcake a delightful zippy, fruit-forward profile.
There are three varieties of blood oranges: Moro, Tarocco and Sanguinello. The Moro variety, which I used in this recipe, are in season from December through March and have the most richly-hued crimson flesh of all three and are slightly more bitter than the others. The Tarocco is known for its sweetness and juiciness, it also has the highest vitamin C content of any orange variety grown in the world. The Sanguinello, is similar to the Moro but matures between February and April and can be eaten through May.
Choose your variety based on your preferred flavour profile. You only need four slices of blood orange to garnish your cupcakes in this recipe but I made a few extra to use in cocktails.
Similarly, after you take the slices out of the syrup and toss them in the oven, I’d recommend preserving the remaining syrup. Use the syrup to flavour cocktails or drizzle it over vanilla ice cream. I’ll give you some libation inspiration for the syrup next week! Stay tuned.
It’s shockingly easy to make your own marshmallow fluff from scratch – the only special tool you need is a candy thermometer a bit of patience.
You’ll know your fluff is ready when it’s thick and glossy, like shellac manicure glossy. Make sure you taste it before frosting liberally. The fluff is quite sweet, so you don’t want to overwhelm the delicacy of the flavours in the cake by being too heavy-handed with the frosting.
Use your kitchen torch to brûlée the edges of your frosting and get that campfire feeling.
This sweet treat is equal parts impressive and tasty. It’s a bit of a time commitment, given how long it takes to candy the oranges, but your efforts will be handsomely rewarded when your guests are wowed by your culinary mastery.
- ½ cup blood orange juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 thin slices seedless blood orange
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tsp finely grated blood orange zest
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup blood orange juice
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups cake and pastry flour, sifted
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- ½ cup pasteurized egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
To make candied blood oranges, preheat oven to 200°F (100°C).
Combine blood orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil. Add orange slices and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until skin is tender and translucent.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place in oven and cook for 90 minutes. Remove to a cutting board; while still warm slice each round into several small triangles. Allow to cool completely. (Candied blood orange will keep, tightly covered in a single layer, for up to a week.)
For cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, blood orange zest and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Continue beating and add eggs, 1 at a time.
Combine blood orange juice and water; set aside. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with orange juice mixture, stirring well after each addition.
Divide batter between 12 cups and bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, place egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar with water over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until mixture reads 238°F (114°C). Remove from heat.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg white mixture to medium peaks. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour hot syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed to high and continue to beat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is thick and glossy. Add vanilla extract and continue to beat until just combined.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe icing into generous mounds onto each cupcake. If you wish, lightly toast marshmallow cream with a small kitchen torch. Decorate cupcakes with candied was blood orange pieces.
Recipe adapted from: St. Onge, Christopher. "Orange Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cream Frosting." Food & Drink. Holiday 2012.