After our winning 2nd place in the cookie contest, Eric was bitten by the baking bug. He wanted to make a cupcake version of our very favorite birthday cake from the Prolific Oven in Palo Alto: The Orange Almond Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. So away we went to research orange almond cake recipes. There are a few, some involving almond paste, others with almond extract representing the only almond component of the cake, and this one which intriguingly involved boiling 3 oranges for 2 hours until soft and blending whole oranges in a food processor. The last option was appealing to the 14 year old boy for a chance to pulverize formerly solid things into a liquid ala ‘Will it Blend’?*
As it turns out, this option was also a simple and great recipe to adapt into cupcakes and the heavenly aroma of the orange almond combination made Schnap, the co-quilting dog, crazy with desire for cake batter and the subsequent cake. (Schnap demonstrated her enthusiasm by barking, jumping, walking tall, and dancing around. She does not feel she could have been more clear, and does not understand why cake is not on the doggie diet plan)
*‘Will it Blend?’ is an absurd and annoying (opinion held by this blogger) internet video channel with a guy in a lab coat blending various things including an iPad, golf balls, and glow sticks. It’s wasteful, dangerous and ridiculous, but as a marketing ploy does a great job of attracting attention to Blendtec’s blenders. It appeals to teenage boys.
Orange Almond Cupcakes
- 3 Navel Oranges – preferably organic – scrubbed clean and with pesky labels removed.
- Water to cover
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1 C White Sugar
- 2-1/2 C Ground Almonds (From Trader Joe’s nut section)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
Put the oranges in a pot deep enough to hold the oranges and enough water to cover them. Put the pot on the stove and a plate or lid on top of the oranges to keep them from floating up and bring the water to a low simmer. Simmer the whole oranges over low heat for about 2 hours or until they’re soft all the way through. You should be able to pierce them with a fork with no resistance. Remove the oranges from the pot and let cool. Discard the water.
When the oranges are cool, cut into quarters, remove the stem end of the orange and if there are any large pithy parts or obvious seeds, remove and discard those. Cut the orange quarters in half again and blend them in a food processor until throughly blended, peels, insides, pith and all.
Add the eggs and pulse to blend. Then add in the sugar, ground almond, baking powder and pulse just a few times to blend again.
Divide batter into 24 cupcake tins lined with papers. We use one of those squeezy ice cream scoops to try to contain the mess and divide things evenly and filled the cups about 3/4’s full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so or until a toothpick comes out clean. Note that these do not rise particularly high. Cool them before frosting. Do not feed any cupcakes to the begging dog.
- 4 C Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1 Lb (2 packages) Cream Cheese at room temp
- 1/4 C Butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 tsp Microplaned Orange Peel
Cream together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth. If you’re using a mixer, add in the confectioner’s sugar and mix slowly until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is smooth, or be prepared for the kitchen to be covered in a fine white dust. Mix in the orange peel.