Monday, March 25, 2013

Orange Ginger Easter Cupcakes

One of the things I like so much about cupcakes is that I don't have to cut  parchment paper or grease and flour the pan. They're just so simple to make that it's almost embarrassing!

For Easter, I thought I would make traditional coconut cake in cupcake form. But as I thought about it, orange and ginger kept coming to mind. So I switched things up a little bit and made orange ginger cupcakes with coconut frosting.

Now, I have to say that one of the consistent problems with orange in baking is that it can be a challenge to get enough orange flavor. In the winter, I found orange flavoring (orange oil mixed with sunflower oil) at my health food store. So instead of orange juice, I went with that. I think they turned out well. They would be the perfect cupcakes for a spring ladies' luncheon. They're light and delicate with a nice crumb. So light in fact, that I prefer the regular size. The small ones are almost too much like a puff of a taste. I just wish we had smell-a-vision on our computers because they smell heavenly.

I used a simple Italian meringue frosting, but a seven minute frosting would work nicely, too.

Orange Ginger Cupcakes
(makes 9 regular cupcakes + 12 mini-cupcakes)

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange flavoring

Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs, mixing well. Slowly beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat in the vanilla and the orange flavoring. Scrape the side and beat well to mix.

Fill cupcake papers about 3/4 full. Bake 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Italian Meringue Frosting

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups shredded coconut

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at high speed. When they begin to take shape, beat in the two tablespoons of sugar.

In a small pot, combine the sugar, salt and water. Bring to a boil, cooking until the sugar has melted completely.

With the mixer running, pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in a slow small stream. Add the vanilla and beat.

There are a million ways to decorate cupcakes for Easter. The easiest is to simply frost the cupcakes and then, holding the cupcake over a plate or bowl, sprinkle with coconut.

Or you can add coconut to the outer edge of the frosting and pop some chocolates or jelly beans in the middle of the nest.

Or you can make sheep. This would be terrific fun for little helpers because it doesn't really matter how the "wool" goes on.

miniature marshmallows
regular marshmallows
1 pink Jolly Rancher
2 miniature brown M&Ms

1. Apply frosting to the cupcake.

2. I rolled the edge in coconut, but honestly, I think you could skip this step unless you really want some coconut flavor.

3. Pop miniature marshmallow "wool" on the back of the lamb, leaving a space for the head.

4. Use a large marshmallow for the head.

5. Cut a 1/4 inch slice off the round end of a second large marshmallow. Slice it in half. Voila! Ears! Glue them on by dipping them in a little frosting.

6. Add miniature brown M&M eyes. Use a toothpick to add little white dots on the eyes.

7. Cut a tiny piece of a pink Jolly Rancher and mold it into a tongue. Add to face with frosting.

Does this look like a contrite expression to you? Uh huh. This is how Baron looks when I pick him up from doggy daycare.

My poor little lamb had a friend. But I turned my back for second, and he was mysteriously gone. Cupcake paper and all. Baron insists he's sorry. I'm no dummy, I've seen him looking for the other lamb . . .

Feel free to omit the tongue. I think he's blowing a raspberry at Baron!
Happy Easter and Passover to you all


  1. those marshmallow creatures are hysterical Krista!

  2. Apparently Baron thought so, too. Lots of fun for kids to make. And, of course, they can be made with store bought cupcakes or a mix, or your favorite cupcake recipe.


  3. Little marshmallow lambs!!! Wonderful!!! What a delicious Easter project for kids. (Your step-by-step directions make it easy.) I also love the flavors you've combined in the recipe--orange, ginger, coconut. What a lovely spring dessert, perfect with a warm pot of tea.

    1. They really do feel just right and so light for spring -- no matter that it's snowing! I need that hot tea, Cleo!


  4. Baron ate the cupcake? Oh, my! How did his, um, digestion do? Sweet tooth for a sweet dog. Love the cute little lambs. Darling.

    Daryl / Avery

    1. I would be worried if Buttercup hadn't once consumed nine mini-cupcakes (thankfully not yet frosted), paper and all. Baron seems okay. He clearly has a sweet tooth!