Thursday, February 9, 2012

Citrus Overload Cupcakes (AKA Tangerine cupcakes with Lemon-Orange Frosting & Tangerine Curd Filling)

This one was inspired by my friend Cybidon at the Bake, Robot! blog and the post for orange vanilla bean cupcakes on said blog. Since I did not have oranges nor vanilla beans, but had plenty soon to perish sweet tangerines I decided to try to make something dessert like since we have been at a shortage for that type of stuff lately. I took the Martha Stewart cupcake recipe and adapted it to incorporate tangerines into the batter. Here is the recipe for the cupcakes:

Tangerine Cupcake Batter

4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
1 TBSP Tangerine zest
2 Large eggs
3/4 Cup heavy cream
1/4 Cup Tangerine juice
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set this mixture aside 

In a large mixing bowl start mixing your butter, sugar and tangerine zest until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Start incorporating the flour mixture into the butter two heaping tablespoons at a time alternating with the wet ingredients (i.e. add 2 to 4 TBSP of flour and then add 1 egg, repeat the flour and then add 1/4 Cup of heavy cream) making sure to mix in the ingredients until they are well incorporated before adding the next ingredient. repeat the sequence until all the ingredients have been incorporated into the batter.

I know it seems a little convoluted to do it that way but there are two very good reasons why I mix ingredients in that manner. First I grew up watching my mother and my grandmother making cake mixes in this manner so it is kind of ingrained into my subconscious. Second, I find that alternating wet and dry ingredients makes for a smoother batter.  

Divide your batter evenly into your paper cup lined cup cake baking sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. 

Tangerine Curd

3 Egg Yolks
1 TBSP Heavy Cream
1/3 Cup caster/superfine sugar
3 TBSP unsalted butter
Grated Zest and Juice from 1 Tangerine

You can make the curd using either a double boiler or simply a heatproof bowl over a pot of slowly boiling water over medium low heat. 

Place your butter in the bowl and let it melt down. 

Slowly add in the sugar to ensure that it incorporates evenly into the butter and preventing it from creating lumps.
Beat the egg yolks and heavy cream together and slowly add the mixture into the batter stirring frequently using a whisk (remember, it is all about tempering your eggs into the batter to avoid sweet scrambled eggs).
Add in the Tangerine zest and juice. Continue to stir frequently until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Set it aside to fill in your cupcakes.

For the frosting I wanted to make something with just as much citrus flavor but with a little kick to offset the sweetness of the cup cake base and the tangerine curd filling so I decided that the sweetness of orange and the sourness of lemon offered the opportunity for a great combination. I gave it a try and I am absolutely in love with this frosting so here is the recipe. 

Orange-Lemon Buttercream

1 1/2 Sticks unsalted butter
1 3/4 Cups Confectioners sugar (+/- depending on how sweet you want it)
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 - 2 TBSP Lemon Juice (How much depends on how tart you want your frosting to be)
1 TBSP Orange Marmalade
1 1/2 TBSP Lemon Zest

Place your butter in a medium bowl and using your mixer on a medium high setting soften the butter until it becomes creamy. 

Start adding powdered sugar a little bit at a time alternating with the orange and lemon juices until well incorporated.
Add in the marmalade mixing until well incorporated and then add the lemon zest until well incorporated. 

Set this aside to get ready to fill and decorate your cupcakes.

Once your cupcakes have cooled off core them and start filling them with the tangerine curd.

Let the cupcakes sit for 20 minutes to allow the curd to set and then proceed with your frosting. 

I hope you enjoy these and that their citrusy scent carry you away to somewhere tropical and warm if you don't already live somewhere like that. Here are a few pictures of my daughter helping me to put frosting on the cupcakes and one of the cupcakes sliced in half to show you the final result.


  1. Replies
    1. This is definitely one of my favorite recipes so far. The great thing is that the tanginess of the frosting pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the tangerines, and all you get is this wonderful wave of citrus on your tongue. I am having a really hard time keeping myself from eating them all.

  2. Oh, wow Nydia! These look amazing! I must make that frosting... right now! Thanks for this recipe, I am totally printing it out!

    1. I think you will like it. Let me know how it turns out :)