Kumquat Spice Cupcakes

Monday, April 20, 2009

After a day of hurting my brain with homework I needed to charge myself with something sweet. I had a small stack of kumquats begging to be used, their little orange skins reflecting the waning daylight in a way that filled me with a citrusy empathy towards them. I decided to make a tiny batch of cupcakes - just six. A simple even number, not too many to have around the house or cart to work, but not so few I would be sad after eating the last one. Paired with a bit of cinnamon and allspice and a few bits of dried pineapple the cupcake was a hit. Its Pacific flavors were simple and complimentary and while a cream cheese frosting would have been best a basic butter frosting did great in a pinch.

Kumquat Spice Cupcakes
Makes 6 cupcakes

What You'll Need:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of chopped dried pineapple
6 large kumquats, seeded and chopped
extra kumquats for decoration, optional

What You'll Do:
1 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream till light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides halfway through to ensure even mixing.

2 Add the egg and vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg to ensure even mixing.

3 Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and allspice in one bowl. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix, then add half of the milk. Continue alternating with the wet and dry mixtures, ending with the dry. Stop mixing once just as the ingredients become incorporated; do not overbeat.

4 Fold in the chopped fruit. Scoop into cupcake papers about one half to three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan after the first 15 to ensure even baking. Be sure to check with a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done. If the toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, then they're ready. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost when cooled.

Basic Frosting
4 tablespoons of butter
heaping 3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Put together in a bowl and cream the hell out of it.


  1. i love kumquats, and of course, this is the first i've seen of a kumquat cake. gotta try this soon! thanks for sharing your creative genius!

  2. So amazing! I have a kumquat tree. I'm going to make these as soon as it cools down a bit outside... total heat wave in LA the past two days


  3. where in the world do you find kumquats and what do they taste like? I've never had them before but am willing to try.

  4. I get them on a tree on my campus. However, farmers markets and co-ops are good places. They taste like little super sweet-n-sour tangerines.

  5. cute cupcakes - i could never make just 6... mind you though i am the baker at work, they'd all be dissappointed if i made only 6... will have to wait till it's kumquat season here to try these out!

  6. My friend's tree is huge and packed. So I love seeing your recipes. And a recipe for just 6?! Wonderful!

  7. I'm currently going through a little bit of an obsession with kumquats, so was happy to see this! Looks amazing--gorgeous photography. I think I'm all out of my kumquats, but will have to see if there are any left at the market to give this recipe a try!


  8. Totally adorable.

    Did you get them off the same Kumquat tree that you posted about a while ago (that the crazy lady yelled at you for picking off of before)?

  9. And where precisely am I going to find Kumquats around here? I may have to drive out to Cali to raid some from your kitchen.

    Meanwhile, I'm tempted to send you some mayhaws and see what you make of them...

  10. What a lovely recipe!
    They look perfect as your cupcakes always do and I love how vibrant the kumquat is in your last picure.

  11. What a great recipe - I have a dwarf kumquat tree, and have been trying to figure out what I'll do with them. I do eat them out of hand - removing the seeds first - the juice is quite tart (like lemon or lime juice) but the rind is just so sweet. Great combo. Thanks for the recipe. I've also added them to fruit salsas, which works too.

  12. I was looking for something creative like this. Then tried this awesome recipe. This recipe does not disappoint. It's a snap to prepare and really tasty.


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