Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Carrot and Orange Cupcakes with Orange Brown Sugar Buttercream

So right now I am in the middle of sorting out my job.  It's been frustrating but at last we seem to be getting there.  It should mean that I'll be properly employed as a supply teacher in time for the start of the winter term.  I've already got some days lined up too, I just need to make sure I'm on the register.  I should have been, and I have done work based on that should have been, but I've stopped temporarily until it is properly sorted.  Don't want any legal repercussions happening if something goes wrong.

But, as I said, I have done some supply work.  The other week I was invited back to cover a class at the school I did my probation year in.  It was nice seeing everyone again and I was excited because there was going to be a bake sale.  Since I wasn't going to be working the day before, I figured I would bake something to take in.  I wanted something that felt a bit autumn-y and involved orange in some way.  I was originally going to do chocolate and orange but ended up changing to carrot and orange.  The vegetables made it feel more appropriate to the season.  Adding brown sugar to the buttercream was a random decision that I thought I would try.  It apparently works well with vegetable cakes.  I had to make the recipe for that up with a little trial and error but it worked.

Well, these never made it to the bake sale.  The staff paid for and ate them all at break time!  I was rather amused and very flattered.  It is nice when your work is appreciated.  They were very complimentary too.  They are rather refreshing thanks to the orange, and the addition of orange in the cake means it melds together well with the buttercream.  I made them again the following week for the Hubby and his family and they were also scoffed rather quickly.  His Mum had two helpings of cake with ice cream she liked them so much!  I've also been asked to make a large version as a birthday cake for Friday.

Recipe - Makes 12 large cupcakes

Cakes - adapted from Mary Berry's Baking Bible
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 150g/5oz butter
  • 150g/5oz light muscovado sugar 
  • 175g/6oz grated carrot
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 200g/7oz self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
Orange and Brown Sugar Buttercream:
  • 100g/3.5oz butter
  • 60g/2oz brown sugar
  • 225g/8oz icing sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Orange food colouring (optional)
  • Zest of 1 orange (for decorating)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with large cupcake cases.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the cake except the orange juice into a mixing bowl and beat together until well blended and smooth.
  3. Add the tablespoon of orange juice and mix.
  4. Split the mixture evenly between the cases.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cakes are risen and springy, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the tray and leave to cool whilst you make the buttercream.
  7. Beat the butter in a bowl until it is smooth and creamy.
  8. Add the icing sugar, brown sugar and half the orange juice and beat together to incorporate.
  9. Add the rest of the orange juice gradually, mixing after each addition until you get an icing which is smooth, holds its shape but still pipeable.  If you make it too runny, firm it up with a bit of extra icing sugar.  If adding colouring, add a few drops at this stage and mix in until evenly coloured.
  10. Put the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large, round nozzle.
  11. When cakes are cool, pipe a swirl onto each , starting on the outside and working in.
  12. Grate the zest of the orange over the buttercream to decorate.

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