Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blood Orange & Poppy Seed Cupcakes

My love affair with Blood Oranges is still going quite strong.
I had a bag of 6 which had made it's way to the bottom of my fridge after I bought them many weeks ago and I thought it was about time I made something gorgeous with them.

And what gorgeous cupcakes these are! don't you think?

Now, down to the details. These little morsels consist of an orange and poppy seed cupcake, filled with blood orange curd and topped with mounds of luscious white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and finished off with a candied slice of blood orange - AH-MAY-ZING!

I must say I am pretty proud of this little concoction as they look gorgeous and taste even better (if I do say so myself).

Orange & Poppy Seed Cupcakes
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 blood orange (use regular orange if you prefer)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 cups (195g) plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the orange zest, flour, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Candied Blood Orange
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 blood oranges, thinly sliced

Bring water and sugar to boil in a heavy large skillet, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange slices to the pan, arranging in a single layer.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and barely simmer until the white pith of the orange becomes translucent, turning the slices occasionally, about 40 minutes. Allow the orange slices to cool in the syrup, turning occasionally.

Blood Orange Curd
1 blood orange (juice and zest)
½ lemon (juice only)
55g butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
Red food colouring (optional)

Zest and juice the blood orange and the ½ lemon juice into a small bowl. In another small bowl, beat the two eggs and the egg yolk together well.

Melt the cubed butter in a large heat-proof bowl over a simmering pan of water, making sure the bowl isn't touching the water.

Add the sugar and the zest and juice from the blood orange and lemon, followed by the eggs. If you’re using food colouring, add a few drops in. Stir the mixture carefully and constantly with a spatula, making sure the mixture doesn’t boil. Once the mixture coats the back of the spatula (turn the spatula flat and run your finger through the mixture coating it – if you can draw a line through the mixture and it doesn’t re-fill, then it’s cooked), remove from the heat and allow to cool.

White Chocolate Buttercream
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup (112g) caster sugar
170g salt reduced or unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

Beat butter with a hand held electric mixer until fluffy and pale.

In double boiler over simmering water, whisk sugar and egg whites until warm and sugar is dissolved, 3 - 5 minutes (if you have a digital thermometer, warm until temperature reaches 70 degrees c). Transfer to clean bowl of electric mixer; beat on high with whisk attachment until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes.

Reduce mixer to medium-low; add butter a dessert spoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Switch to paddle attachment; add the melted and cooled white chocolate and beat on lowest speed 3 to 5 minutes.

1. Using a small pairing knife or small (2.5cm) round cutter, cut out a hole in the top of your cupcake.
2. Fill the cavity with blood orange curd.
3. Replace the top of the hole.
4. Ice the cupcake with the buttercream
5. Top with a candied orange
6. EAT!