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Orange Zest & Poppy Seed Cupcakes

I’ve been dreaming of Betsy’s Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes for the last few days…it might be the sunshine, it might be Spring Fever… not really sure, but they sound amazing.  They’re definitely still on my list of need-to-make-ASAP! But, I wanted to make something quick and easy, with ingredients that I already had in the kitchen… enter Orange Zest & Poppy Seed Cupcakes with an Orange Zest Cream Cheese Frosting!

I used the Lemon Poppy Seed muffin recipe that I posted a few weeks ago but with oranges instead (duh, lol) and I added frosting.  Cause well, isn’t it a Cupcake if it has frosting?  I think that’s the rule.  Either way, they only took about 10 minutes to whip up and the cream cheese frosting is just the staple recipe that I use all the time with a little bit of fresh squeezed OJ and some zest. They’re fresh, they’re pretty (and you all know how I feel about pretty already!) and they’re fun.

Poppy seeds always seem to make everything a little bit more fun.  FYI, you can find a little jar of poppy seeds in the seasoning/spice section of your grocery store.  When spices are on sale you can get it for a pretty good deal.  I like to have them on hand because they’re a nice addition to salads and coleslaw as well. ;)

Orange Zest & Poppy Seed Cupcakes (adapted from Simply Recipes):

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (make sure your baking powder is no older than 6 months)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/4 stick), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest (*If you don’t have oranges, you can also use orange juice-with or without pulp)
  • *I used the zest of 1 medium orange for this recipe
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower part of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together, beating until fluffy (about 2 minutes with an electric mixer). Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one. Beat in the orange zest (*I use my parmesan grater as a zester).
  4. Beat in one third of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in one third of the yogurt. Beat in a third more of the dry ingredients. Beat in a second third of the yogurt. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining yogurt. Again be careful to beat until just incorporated. Do not over beat.
  5. Line 24 cupcake pans with cupcake liners.  Evenly distribute the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Test with a long toothpick (*I use a thin bamboo skewer) to make sure the center of the cupcakes are done. Set cupcakes on wire rack to cool. After 5 minutes, remove cupcakes from pan.
  6. Whip up your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe (for these, I used about 3 cups of confectioners sugar). Add 2-3 teaspoons of orange zest and the juice from 1 orange (you can use the orange that you zested already for the recipe) to your frosting.  The frosting is super pretty when you can see the orange peel zest.

When I made the Lemon Poppy Seed muffins, I used my extra large muffin tins, so I only had about 7-8 huge muffins. With these, I wanted regular sized cupcakes so I used my ice cream scooper and filled it about 3/4 way with batter (so that my cupcake liners were 2/3 full with batter) and I had a full 2 dozen.  They turned out super cute :)

To pipe the frosting, use a large round tip.  Start in the middle of the cupcake and squeeze until you have a large dollop in on your cupcake, then swirl just a bit to get a little curly tip.  The cupcake liners are from Bake it Pretty, of course, lol.  How awesome would these be with orange creamsicle cupcakes?! Those are on the need-to-make agenda as well!

Are you baking anything exciting this weekend?  We’re having a big Hawaiian feast, so the Aloha Cupcakes are on our menu ;) PS. don’t forget to let me know if you’re going to be at the opening of Burning Cupcakes on May 7th in Tacoma on 6th Ave!  Hopefully I’ll get to meet a few of you there!

Hazel, meet Javacupcakers. Javacupcakers, meet the puppy love, Hazel ;)

I figured no one can resist a cute pic of the pup ;) she was pretty interested in the cupcakes tonight!  She tried super hard to get a taste with no success, but she was cute nonetheless (I had to google that, bc I wasn’t sure if it’s a real word. Turns out it is.  lol)

Smile! :) Happy Wednesday!