When I was a kid, my mom was very crafty. She'd make homemade Christmas ornaments, embroidered pictures, and gingerbread houses. There were so many holiday traditions and special once-a-year foods and decorations. Clove-studded oranges were always out, making the house smell amazingly Christmasy. I always loved the little dried out oranges in their bowls (still don't know how she did that) looking all festive. Even though I'm not a fan of orange zest in my foods, I thought that a cupcake would be the perfect foil to a spiced orange reincarnation. I recently came across brown sugar icing on a blog I was reading, and I knew it would compliment the orange spice perfectly. Tonight, these are going with my slow cooker tequila lime turkey chili. They taste so festive and holiday-ish that it's kind of making me feel like I'm back next to those spiced orange bowls.
I'm leaving you with this as I go off to clean with the smell of tequila lime turkey chili in the kitchen, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! =)
Spiced Orange Cupcakes
1/2 cup (8 tbl) salted butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup orange juice (from about 1 orange)
1 tbl orange zest (from about 1 orange)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
In a seperate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. In another bowl combine the milk and orange juice. On low speed, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients in three batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing until just combined. Add the orange zest and beat to combine. Scoop into the prepared cupcake pan, filing cups about 2/3 of the way full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
Source: Adapted from A Baked Creation.
Brown Sugar Icing
1/2 cup (8 tbl) salted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup half and half
2 cup powdered sugar
In a medium saucepan melt together the butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Add milk and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature. Add the powdered sugar and beat with a hand mixer until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Enjoy!!
Source: Adapted from Cupcake Project.