Sunday, April 22, 2012

Orange Poppyseed Cupcakes

And the orange binge continues. 

These orange poppyseed mini cupcakes are officially my all-time favourite cupcakes and my all-time favourite orange cake too. I make them ALL the time. Anytime anyone asks me for a recipe for a light, delicious cake, I give them this one. It's that good. Trust me. 

I've posted the original recipe for this orange poppyseed cake on this blog before. But that was a long time ago... about two years ago actually and I really feel the time has come for a revisit. The recipe is from Moroccan-born cook Nadine Abensur from her book Enjoy (a review of which is also posted on this blog). 

Abensur's recipe is for a cake but I preferred to make mini cupcakes from the batter this time instead of a whole cake. Mini cupcakes are awesome.  You can just pop the whole thing in your mouth. It's that simple. And this one — with the orange and the poppyseed — literally pops in your mouth.

Pop. There goes another one in my mouth. Pop. And another. 

Abensur's cake isn't sweet. It's delicious but it isn't sweet. But the cake comes with a spiced syrup which is drizzled over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. The syrup not only adds the necessary sweetness to the cake, it also keeps the cake nice and moist. And the spice adds another dimension to a basic orange cake. 

Also, the original cake isn't frosted but I topped these mini cupcakes with a light cream cheese frosting which I feel goes well with the cake. Plus, frosting makes a cake looks so festive, right? (Oh ok, I'll come out and admit it. I am also practicing my skills at frosting and I am taking every opportunity I can get to master the art of frosting. Still it does add to the cake!)

Alright. Enough talk already. I hope I have convinced you to make this cake. The recipe follows. 

Orange Poppyseed Cake
(adapted from Nadine Abensur's Enjoy)

For the cake
50g poppy seed
60ml milk
185g butter
200g Castor sugar
2 tbsp orange zest
3 eggs
175g self-raising flour, sifted
50g plain flour, sifted
50g ground almond
100ml orange juice

Soak the poppy seed in the milk for about 10 mins. (The poppy seeds need to absorb moisture from the milk or they may be too hard).

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream the butter, zest and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Lower the speed of your mixer and add the eggs (one at a time) and mix till incorporated.

Add the flour, orange juice and milk with the poppy seeds — alternating between the three — until everything is combined.

Fill the cupcake liners with batter.

Bake for 15-18 mins or till a toothpick comes out clean.

For the Syrup
3 tbsp Castor sugar
3 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp water
1 star anise

Mix the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat till sugar dissolves and a thick syrup emerges.
Drizzle on the cakes once they're hot out of the oven.

For the Frosting
170g cream cheese
170g butter
11/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream on high speed until light and very fluffy.

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