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Whole Orange Cupcakes

This is the Chinese new year season and there are so many varieties of mandarin oranges available at this time. Oranges are one of my favourite fruits and I make my own orange peel delights (more of this in another post of course) whenever I peel the oranges to eat them as it is.

Other than marmalade and saucing them for main dishes, one of my favourite ways is to make little cupcakes. My recipe uses the whole oranges so it saves peeling time. Using the whole orange also gives the cake a bite and a little sting from the orange peel. You can use all kinds of oranges as oranges are available throughout the whole year. This cake was born out of curiosity as I like marmalade very much. I didn’t have marmalade on hand on that day when I wanted to bake so I just whizzed the oranges whole. Of course I took precaution by simmering the oranges to remove any wax if there were. So lets bake and enjoy these little cakes.

Once you have gathered the ingredients, this cake can be done quickly for an afternoon tea or a ladies party!

I taught these cupcakes to the residents at my community centre and all of them went Ooh and Aah when the cakes came out from the ovens! The kitchen filled itself with the sweet citrus fragrance of oranges and everyone were swooning over! Some residents were so excited that they baked these cakes for their families. I am so proud of them and this is the joy I get when they send pictures of what they have baked at home.



150 gms butter -melted

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

2 medium sized oranges – 500 gms

2 cups self raising flour

1 tsp vanilla extract or orange extract

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 cup buttermilk

To Glaze:

1½ cups icing sugar

2 tbsp orange juice



Preheat oven to 160C

Prepare cake liners.

Sift flour with bicarbonate of soda. Keep aside.

Put the whole oranges in a pot of water. Heat to a simmer.

Throw away the water.

Put back the oranges in the pot and add enough water to cover and heat again to a simmer.

Drain the oranges, leave it to cool.

Once cooled, cut the oranges into pieces and remove the seeds.

Put the oranges including the skin into a food processor. Blend it coarsely.

Add melted butter, sugar and eggs – continue to blend. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl.

Add in the vanilla or orange extract. Fold in flour mixture and alternate with buttermilk.

Once well mixed, pour into cupcake cases and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or till baked to a nice golden brown. Test for doneness by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean, then it is baked nicely.

Let it cool slightly.

Mix the glaze ingredients together till you get a pouring consistency.

Drizzle on the baked orange cupcakes and serve.



Buttermilk can be replaced with the same amount of milk in which 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar is added .

You can reduce the sugar a little if the oranges are sweet but the amount of sugar in this recipe is just right as we are using the skin as well which can be bitter.

It can be done as 1 whole cake in a round or other shaped cake tin. Baking time will be longer of course. Test for doneness by using the skewer.

You may substitute the glaze. I have used apricot jam or marmalade to brush the tops of the cupcakes to serve. Warm the jam, sieve it and brush the tops of cakes to get an even finish.

Or you may cut into 2 layers and simply fill with whipped cream.

My favourite is to leave it as it is. It is tasty and light with the beautiful citrusy fragrance of the oranges.

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