Zest /zɛst/ (noun)
Excitement; energy; enthusiasm e.g. zest for life.
Today, I’m thinking of the other ‘zest’ – the peel of citrus fruit like oranges and lemons. You see, the Rodericks family is fighting off chesty coughs and sneezing fits. We need all the Vitamin C we can get.
Good thing then, that we were a bit over-zealous when we went fruit-picking in Bilpin a few weekends ago. We’ve still got heaps left from our bounty of oranges and apples.
So thought I’d make some zesty cupcakes to shake us out of our cranky cold-induced funk and celebrate the end of yet another school term with these Orange and Poppyseed Cupcakes. Bring on the school holidays!
250 g butter, softened
200 g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups cake flour *
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp milk, room temperature
To Make the Orange Glaze:
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange
1/4 to 1/2 cup caster sugar (depending on how sweet the juice is)
Orange zest, finely julienned; make sure there is no white pith!
Firstly, soak the poppy seeds in the milk for at least an hour before you start your cupcakes.
*To Make Cake Flour
Measure two tablespoons of corn flour (corn starch) in a measure cup. Top this up with plain flour till it reaches one cup (level). Sift these two flours at least a couple of times. You now have one cup of cake flour. Repeat as required.
Add the baking powder and sift again. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.
Add the orange zest.
Next add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Fold the flour into the mix.
Spray your cupcake cases with oil. Spoon the batter into the cases till two- thirds full.
Bake at 170°C for approx. 20 minutes until the cupcakes are golden brown.
While the cupcakes are in the oven, make the orange glaze.
To make the Orange Glaze:
In a small saucepan, mix the orange juice and sugar on high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Skim off any scum from the surface. Lower the heat and let the syrup reduce until it is thick and sticky – approx. 10-12 minutes.
Pierce the tops of the warm cupcakes with a skewer/toothpick and spoon the glaze/ syrup all over the cupcakes. Top with finely julienned orange zest. Enjoy!