Food, Recipes from the Heart

Magnolia Bakery’s Orange Vanilla Cupcakes

Every September, I am reminded of Earth, Wind and Fire’s September. It’s a much happier song than Wake Me Up When September Ends. Like seriously.

Anyways, I bought myself At Home with Magnolia from Book Depository some time last month. I meant to buy The Complete Magnolia Bakery cookbook, but as usual, I forgot about my ability to read and purchased the wrong book. It was a detour from my main intention of going on Book Depository – I needed to purchase The Cuckoo’s Calling – and hence buying the wrong book was the retribution. I’ve not tried any other recipe from Magnolia Bakery before, let alone taste the actual cupcakes. Since I can’t fly myself to New York right now, I might as well make myself some really good cupcakes. I’m so over the Red Velvet and Salted Caramel cupcake phase. THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN RED VELVET CUPCAKES, PEOPLE.

Moving on. Someone gave Ibu oranges during Eid when she had her friends over (happening sia mak aku), but she’s too terrified of sour oranges (so am I, actually) thus I decided to salvage them oranges and make them edible. I was initially skeptical of the recipe, both the cupcake and the frosting. I was *this* close to making my normal Chantilly cream frosting, but I figured WHY WASTE THE MONEY BUYING THE BOOK, THEN? I have to keep forcing myself to break the norm and actually challenge myself. Even when it comes to cooking and baking.


I reduced the amount of sugar for both the cupcakes and the frosting because I know how sweet-toothed American recipes tend to be. Needless to say, I don’t think I need to fly myself to New York now. These babies will suffice.

Orange Vanilla Cupcakes

1 and half cups self-raising flour

1 and a quarter cups plain flour (I used cake flour)

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 cups sugar (I used 1 and 3 quarter cups)

1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

4 large eggs

1 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

  • Preheat oven to 175 deg centigrade. Line two muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and zest gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the orange juice and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Frosting

3 tablespoons plain flour


1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

  • In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously and mix until fluffy, for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably white in color. Add in a bit of coloring if you’d like. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (I skipped this step!). Use immediately to frost the cupcakes.

PS: I finally made myself a wooden board for my food photos! 😀


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