Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Inspired By Vanilla

Orange Vanilla Bean Cupcake

Life is all about trying new things. How can you really enjoy yourself if don't widen your boundaries, and see whats out there? We're not saying we went out and traveled the world or anything, but we did try something new. Our story goes like this: we have always seen recipes that use vanilla pods, but we would just skip over them, trying to stay in our comfort zone. This week we said "NO! We are gonna try this!", and we did. We asked our mom to pick us up two vanilla pods. And when we found this recipe the following day, we new it was a sign.

Orange Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
We liked this recipe because they added citrus, now who doesn't like a bit of citrus in their dessert? These cupcakes had such flavour, it was almost impossible to part with them. But we needed some self control, so we delivered some to our neighbours. The candied orange slices were a nice touch but not necessary, they could easily be excluded and the cupcakes can be topped with powdered sugar. Thanks again to Nicole for taking these beautiful pictures, we can't thank you enough.

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2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream ( substitution)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest, plus 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter/margarine
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
2 eggs


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line standard/ mini tins with paper liners. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine cream, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter/margarine, sugar, vanilla-bean seeds, and zest until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of cream mixture, and beating until just combined.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

*OPTIONAL* Candied Orange Slices

2 small  navel oranges
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
*if you decide to make mini cupcakes, we used tangerine slices and used half the sugar and water.


1. Wash the orange, trim off tops and bottoms, and cut oranges into 1/8 inch thick slices. Remove seeds.

2. Bring sugar and the water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat; boil, stirring, until clear, about 5 minutes. Add enough orange slices to fit in one layer; simmer, turning slices occasionally, 20-40 minutes, or until translucent but still orange in colour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer slices to a heatproof container. Repeat with remaining slices. Pour the syrup into container with slices; let cool completely. Orange slices can be refrigerated up to 1 week in an airtight container.

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