Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mimosa Cupcakes + Accoutrements

I know it's been awhile since last I blogged, but I'm just going to jump in with some new recipes. A few days ago, my parents and I went to brunch at my aunt's house. We were in charge of dessert. After much thought, I decided that mimosa cupcakes would be perfect for brunch being that mimosas are a brunch drink. It would also give me the chance to try out a candied orange peel recipe [for garnish] that I had my eye on. Photos were again taken on a phone. So, first:

1 box of white cake mix + the oil and eggs required from the box
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

Prepare cake mix as directed on box, but not with the water. Put a tablespoon of orange juice in a wet measuring cup and then fill the rest with champagne. Usually, I think the cake mixes require 1 1/4 cup of liquid, so you should have that much of the champagne/orange juice mixture. Use that instead of water in the mix, beat as directed, and then scoop into lined muffin tins. We got 22 cupcakes, but ours were kind of big, so you'll probably get 24.

While that's cooking, time to start on:

Two navel oranges
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

Slice the tops off of the oranges and score the peel into quarters. The recipe I used said to just peel them like that, but I find that it's easier to trace the top and bottom under the pith with a small knife. The peel comes off really easily when you do that. Make sure, as you're carefully peeling off the peel, that you don't get any fruit in it. You can reserve the fruit for whatever you want. Our peeled oranges are still in the fridge. Once you have your quarters, cut them into 1/4 inch strips. I got about 45 strips.

Put the orange peels in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain. Return peels to saucepan and repeat the process. You can do this as many times as you want, depending on how you want the peels to taste. I repeated twice for a total of three blanchings because that's what it recommended and we all thought it came out really well.

After that, whisk the water and sugar together and bring to a simmer. Simmer for eight minutes before adding the orange peel. Make sure it's all covered by the sugarwater but DO NOT STIR. Just leave it be for 45 minutes. When it's done, it'll be "translucent," but really it'll just look like it's barely holding up. But it'll be really orange and it will smell fantastic.

Lay some parchment paper on a flat surface and make a thick layer of sugar. Take the orange peels out of the sugarwater [with a fork or something] and roll them in the sugar on the parchment paper. When all of the peels have been sugared, lay them on a cooling rack to cool for 4-5 hours or overnight. We made them around midnight, so overnight worked for us. The recipe said to save the syrup, but mine congealed and hardened, so I wouldn't recommend it. The finished product will look like this:

These were the cupcake garnish. Now, time to finsih our cupcakes with


7 tbsp room temperature butter
A lot of powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tbsp champagne
1/2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Mostly, I eyeballed this. The only measurement I know for certain is the butter. So, put the softened butter in a high-sided bowl and pour in a lot of powdered sugar. Beat on low speed to combine. When it starts to look like icing, add more sugar. If it never looks like icing and is just crumbly and combined, that's perfect for the liquid stage. Add the zest first and then a little bit of the champagne and a little bit of the orange juice. Blend to see where it gets you. Add more juice/champagne as needed, tasting each time to see if you need more zest/juice/champagne. When it tastes right and looks right, it is right.

Making sure the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost them. I used an icing bag and star tip for this result:

It tasted fantaaastic. And then, to make it more orange-y, we added the peel.

They were beautiful and perfect for a brunch. A huge hit.

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