Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cuppies in the Morn: Poppy Seed & Orange Zest Cupcakes

There are probably few things that make me feel as sad as when I make cupcakes and they aren't eaten up. Early morning lectures every Monday for the next 2 months seemed like a good time to bring in cuppies for a hungry crowd of 30 something students. But cake and icing at 8am? I thought that I would have more success with giving away a cupcake that is more muffin-like.

The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook has a beautiful photograph and recipe for Market Morning Cupcakes. I adapted my recipe from theirs.

The result? A delicious poppy seed cake with a hint of orange. Oh and don't forget glaze! I topped them off with an orange juice glaze. So sugar AND juice. It's almost like a full breakfast.

Poppy Seed and Orange Zest Cupcake - Adapted from the Crabapple Bakery - Makes about 3 dozen cupcakes
  • 2/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Before you do anything else, pour the poppy seeds into a small bowl with the milk. Let them soak it in.
  2. OK, now you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners into muffin tins.
  3. Ad the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. Mix them together with a metal whisk. Set aside.
  4. In a larger bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
  5. Add the orange zest and mix until well combined.
  6. Slowly add the sugar, mixing well after each addition. You want to keep mixing so that all of the sugar dissolves nicely into the butter.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix well after adding each egg.
  8. Add the vanilla to the wet mixture and mix until just combined.
  9. Alternate adding the flour and milk-poppy seed mixture to the large bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix well after each addition, but be careful not to over-mix. (Whatever that means, right?)
  10. Hooray! You are all done with the batter. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake for about 14-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
The cupcakes are really good enough alone that you could save some calories and just eat them plain!

But really, what fun is a cupcake without icing? Go for the glaze!

Orange Juice Glaze - adapted from the Crabapple Bakery - enough to generously cover 36 cupcakes.
  • 2/3 cup of squeezed orange juice (use the oranges that you zested above)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4-8 cups of confectioner's sugar
  1. Juice that orange that you zested! If you want to be fancy, you can strain the juice. I think it's just fine unstrained and proves that you squeezed it yourself.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy and pale.
  3. Add two cups of the confectioner's sugar to the butter. Beat until well combined.
  4. Add the orange juice and beat on low-medium speed.
  5. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you reach a desired consistency. If you want it more like a glaze, add less. If you want it to be stiffer and therefore more spreadable, keep on adding the sugar.

If you like, you can cut off the tops of your cupcakes to make it nice and flat before you put the glaze on. I chose not to do that because I didn't want to eat the tops of 36 cupcakes! You could even rim the cupcakes with extra poppy seeds if you hand out floss for when people get the poppy seeds stuck in between their teeth!

I think that they made a great morning treat. Just don't call them muffins.

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