Orange & almond cupcakes

Orange & almond cupcakes

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(3 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 1 hr, 30 mins Cook: 25 mins

Skill level

Moderately easy


Makes 24 cupcakes (enough for 1 bouquet)

Delicate little cupcakes with almond buttercream icing- if you're feeling ambitious, follow our guide to creating an edible bouquet

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • un-iced
Nutrition info

Nutrition per cupcake

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  • 300g butter, softened
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • zest 1 orange, plus 2 tbsp juice
  • 1 tsp almond extract

For the buttercream icing

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 450g icing sugar, plus a little extra
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • food colouring paste of your choice (we used a mixture of pink and yellow to create coral)
  • 250g pack green sugar paste (or fondant icing mixed with green food colouring)

You'll also need

  • 24 muffin cases (we used green ones)
  • large piping bag
  • large curved star point piping nozzle
  • 15cm/6in styrofoam ball
  • 15cm/6in flowerpot (measured across the top)
  • green tissue paper
  • sticky tape
  • 24 short wooden skewers (or long ones cut in half)
  • ribbon, to decorate (optional)

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  1. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3½. Line 2 x 12-hole muffin tins with muffin cases. Put the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and blend with an electric hand whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the flour, almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Mix again, then add the orange zest and juice, and almond extract. Give a final mix to combine everything.
  2. Use 2 dessertspoons to divide the mixture between the cases. Bake for 22-25 mins, changing the tins over after 15 mins. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 mins in the tins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Can now be frozen for up to 3 months.
  3. To make the icing, tip the butter into a large bowl and blend with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add the icing sugar, cream cheese, almond extract and orange juice. Mash everything together first with a spatula (to avoid a mess), then go in with the electric whisk and mix until smooth. Add your food colouring and mix again until you have an even colour. (If you’re using liquid food colouring, it will make the icing runny, so add a little more icing sugar.)
  4. Fit the piping bag with a large curved star point piping nozzle, then fill the bag with half of the icing and twist the end closed. To pipe, hold the piping bag directly above the centre of the cake and, applying a steady pressure, pipe in a swirl, working out towards the edge of the cupcake. When you reach the edge, swipe the nozzle to create a smooth finish – you can always cover this bit with leaves, so don’t worry too much if it looks messy. When you have piped 12 cupcakes, empty any remaining icing from the bag back into the bowl with the reserved icing. Add a little more colouring to create a deeper shade (and a little extra sifted icing sugar if the icing gets too runny). Whisk again, then refill your piping bag and ice the remaining cakes. Can be stored somewhere cool for up to 1 day (the fridge is fine, just make sure that you remove 30 mins before eating).
  5. Before serving, add a few leaves, if you like: pinch off small pieces of green sugar paste or fondant icing and shape into leaves. Use a sharp knife to add detail, then stick onto the cupcakes. See tips, below left, for how to build your bouquet.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, July 2013

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Petite Risa's picture
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Absolutely lovely! The cupcakes are delicious and soft and I especially liked the icing, not too sweet and really nice and smooth.

Assembly takes a little while, but it looks stunning! My guests were very impressed, too. Would definitely make this again, as a bouquet or just for the cupcakes themselves.

meishhhh's picture

amazing taste and the icing was delicious! didn't add the almond extract altogether and loved the icing and the cupcakes,might add it to the cupcakes batter next time. found the cupcake to be a bit dry even though everyone raved about how good they were

helenapotter17's picture

I I didn't decorate them just did them as plain buns and they are delicious! Lovely and moist with a burst of flavour.

Merlinginny's picture

Good recipe! Followed all instructions and cakes came out well. Not easy to transport assembled though! Gravity got the better of icing on one cupcake so I took all cupcakes off the skewers, let them chill in the fridge for another hour before packing them in containers and assembled them when I got to the baby shower I was making them for. Everyone very impressed!

katiabh's picture

I did the bouquet yesterday for my mother in law's birthday. The cupcakes were easy to do. It's the icing I have trouble with. I followed the recipe and had to use more (a lot more!) Icing sugar as the buttercream was too runny. I chilled it as well but still did not held its shape. Is it because I used quake instead of full fat cream cheese? Could someone pls help?
I also found the buttercream too strong with the taste of almond. Next time I might only use half.
Overall my mother in law was impressed even tough the buttercream was melting on the table.

vfinney's picture

Adding more icing sugar draws the water out of the cream cheese making it runnier, just for future reference, you would need to add cream cheese to bring it back. Half the weight icing sugar to the accompanying fat (butter/cream cheese) works well for me everytime :) yes you would also need to use full fat cream cheese. X

becky123's picture

It's a shame you couldn't show the instructions on how to pipe the icing to create roses as the picture...

nintey's picture

Hi Becky, the roses are made using a Wilton 2D icing nozzle, simple start in the centre of the cupcake and pipe round in a circle until you get to the edge, hope this helps!

reezy18's picture

A nice and simple make with a spectular visual finish. Im not usually a baker but this was a simple project to follow only trouble was I dfidnt really get was icing tip to use so did it through trial and error.

lwathen's picture

This is not so much a complex project but it is time consuming and I found it took longer than the suggested 1hr 30min. However, it is so impressive it is well worth the effort. I am not an expert at piping icing but this was very straightforward. I was also impressed that the bouquet held well in this heat we are currently experiencing. Give it a go. Next time, I'm going to try mini cupcakes.

annbrewster's picture

My GCSE catering students made these cupcakes as the table center pieces for Kirkstone House School speech day.We made mini ones and each pot took about 35 cakes. They looked amazing and were admired by our 350 guests .The cream held up well even in the heat of a marquee. many thanks for a great idea.

annbrewster's picture

My GCSE catering students and Ii made 6 of these as table center pieces for Kirkstone House School speech day. We made small cupcakes and decorated them in the same way as in your recipe.We had 350 guests admiring them. They held very well even in the heat of a marquee.Many thanks for a brilliant idea.

lottiehobby's picture

My Sister and Mum did this as a surprise centrepiece for my 18th Birthday Party. The overall result was amazing!! I ended up helping with the final stages and found the icing a lot easier (as well as quicker) than I had expected. Arranging the bouquet was pretty tricky though, thats why only 4 stars. If you're thinking about having a go, I'd say go for it :-)