Orange Clove Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Clove-Candied Orange Peel

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My friend Babette, who is also the creator of Bakespace, is celebrating the Bakespace birthday this month, so I decided to make her her very own cupcake.

This is a slightly citric, lightly aromatic, and hedonistic spice cake. It's comforting and eloquent with it's bold, in-your-face flavors. Orange cake has been laced with hints of freshly ground cloves to give it a bit of a bite. A vanilla buttercream acts as a simple, if not perfectly paired backdrop to allow the real star flavors to shine. The candied orange peel has also been given a bit of raw ground clove as well, it's pungent and slightly bitter flavor creating sweet little pinpricks on your tongue. It's a delicious thing to bite into.

Here's to you darlin'! Congrats!

Orange Clove Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes / 350F oven

What You'll Need...
3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of grated orange zest
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup of orange juice (no pulp)

1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cloves

What You'll Do...
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, zest, ground cloves, salt and baking pow
der together in a bowl and set aside.

2) Place eggs and sugar in a mixer and beat on high for 30 seconds until light and fluffy.

3) Add the vanilla and oil and mix until just combined.

4) Add some of the dry ingredients and then the orange juice. Alternate the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry.

5) Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan after the first 15 minutes. Check with a cake tester or toothpick for doneness.

Vanilla Buttercream
What You'll Need...
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

What You'll Do...
1) Cream the butter until soft.

2) Add the sugar and then the milk and vanilla extract. Cream till soft. Spread on cooled cupcakes.
Cloved & Candied Orange Peel
What You'll Need...
2 oranges
1 tablespoon of salt
1 pinch of ground cloves
2 cups of sugar, plus some extra for rolling

What You'll Do...
1) Zest the peel into long strips with a citrus zester. (You can cut off the zest as well with e a vegetable peeler, then cut into strips, just be sure to scrape off all of the white pith as it's nasty bitter.) Add salt and peel to 4 cups of water and let stand overnight.

2) Drain and rinse. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat to boiling and then drain. Repeat 3 times (this is to remove any bitter taste).

3) In sauce pan, combine peel, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until peel is translucent. Drain any liquid.

4) Place some granulated sugar and a pinch and roll peel in granulated sugar and ground cloves. Be sure to only use a small pinch of cloves, in
large amounts by itself raw cloves can create a burning or numbing sensation on the tongue. (By the by never take a pinch of ground cloves and put it on your tongue; can you tell I learned something today?) You just want a very slight taste of it, and when combined with the sugar it's tamed and tasty. Allow to dry.

Note: This, like many of my recipes, can easily be adapted to a sheet or round cake as well.


  1. Wow! Thanks for adding me as a link on your page.

    These orange clove cupcakes are amazing!

  2. I have never tried to make candied anything. They look so perfect on top of that already perfect cupcake.

  3. What a lovely cupcake! You ought to go into business with these!

  4. This is not your ordinary cupcake! They look beautiful with the candied orange peel on top!
    I am sure they are delicious!

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

  5. Such a long name for those pretty little cupcakes!

  6. Orange and clove? I definitely want to try that combination!

  7. Sounds utterly comforting and deliciously exotic all at the same time!

  8. delicious! yummy.

  9. I made these as a farewell and thankyou gift for a nursing placement I was at, and they went down an absolute storm! I saved one for my boyfriend, who mostly was just grumpy that I didn't save him more! He has requested a re-run of them for our hallowe'en party, and the placement asked me if I wanted a job there...! I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether or not the cakes and the job offer are linked, I shall just say that this is one of my all time favourite cupcake recipes, and has been ridiculously well received by everyone I've made them for, so thankyou thankyou thankyou!

  10. Hi Garrett! Those cupcakes look delicious. I featured your cupcake recipe btw on my recently started blog (about cupcakes). Thanks!

  11. Had these cupcakes months ago at a baby shower and haven't stopped thinking about them since! Finally got the link to this site and excited to make/eat them again:) The balance of flavours is exquisite.

  12. Made these for church. LOVED THEM. AMAZING FLAVOR AND MOIST. Im 15 and going to a technical high school for culinary arts and love to bake. Thanx for this amazing recipe!!!!!

  13. I made these for my wedding a few months ago, they were a big success. Love the orange peel, and they are just enough sweet. Thank you!


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