Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Non-melting Creamsicle Cupcakes

Remember when I was in Hawaii earlier this year and I blogged about this great cupcake shop and its Orange Creamsicle cupcakes? I liked them but thought they would have been better with a cream filling inside that orange cake to really be a Creamsicle cupcake.

Lately I’ve been stressed at work, and one of the things they suggest to help relax is to meditate by visualizing something peaceful and calm. All I kept picturing was a Creamsicle cupcake. Mmmm.

I searched the Web for some recipes (I’m not a big bake kitchen tester) and couldn’t find anything exactly like what I wanted. So I just borrowed recipes from a couple of sites to create this Creamsicle Cupcake.

I started with the orange cupcake. A lot of sites had recipes for old-style orange cake, which I learned is a real Southern thing. But I wanted something fluffy and less dense. I found this recipe at I’ve never seen this site before, but a lot of their recipes look really easy. Here’s the orange cupcake recipe, but for your convenience I’ve also typed it out below. The only thing annoying about is they don’t say how many cupcakes the recipe makes.


Orange Cupcake Recipe

1 ¾ cup cake flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs, separated and whites beaten until stiff
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup orange juice
1 stick of butter, softened

I started by combining the butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Cream these ingredients together thoroughly.

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together in a separate mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients one-third at a time, alternating with adding portions of the orange juice to the creamed mixture.
Then you fold in the beaten egg whites. Here’s my egg whites beaten until you get those stiff peaks they always talk about. See how they stay up stiffly?

Here’s the batter spooned into my cupcake-lined baking tray. The recipe says to just fill it half-way. I baked it in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes and tested it by inserting a toothpick in the center. It’s ready when it comes out clean. You can also tell it’s about ready when you start smelling the orange scent in your kitchen. Sigh.

Here are the cupcakes all baked and golden brown. Like I said, the recipe didn’t say how many cupcakes the recipe makes, but it turned out to be 18, which is an odd number considering most cupcake bake trays are 12 holed. Odd, but whatevs.

Now I wanted to make this a real Creamsicle-like cupcake, so that meant orange on the outside and white cream in the center. So I read on this blog called Baking Bites about how she made her own hostess cupcakes—you know, those chocolate cupcakes with the cream filling. I borrowed her recipe for vanilla cream filling and also her technique of inserting the filling into the cupcake.

I initially thought I could just squeeze the filling in through the bottom of the cupcake after maybe piercing a small hole. But the Baking Bites gal’s suggestion made a lot more sense (and is less messy) by using a small knife and cutting out a cone on the top. I angled my knife and just started cutting away the top. Then I scraped off some of the filling cake from the cover (yeah, I got to taste the cupcake leftovers and they were good) and placed the top back on so I wouldn’t get confused about which cupcake top went with which.

Then I made the vanilla cream filling and placed it in a plastic bag and snipped off the corner and just started squeezing them into each cupcake hole. It didn’t matter that I cut off the top of the cupcakes because once I placed the top back on, I would be covering it up with icing so all signs of any cutting would be covered up. Ingenious huh? Anywho, here’s the recipe for the vanilla cream filling here, but as always, I’m helping you out by just printing it below.

From Baking Bites:

Vanilla Cream Filling

3 T all-purpose flour
½ cup milk (low-fat is fine)
½ cup butter (or trans fat-free shortening)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract (I just used the extract, vanilla bean is expensive!)

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.

When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until light. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large Ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

So once I filled all 18 cupcakes and placed the tops back on, I just spread on the orange icing that I made, again using the recipe from Here’s the recipe below:

Orange Icing

1 ½ cups powdered sugar (or confectioner’s sugar)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated orange rind (orange zest)
3 tablespoons soft butter
2-3 tablespoons orange juice

Mix all ingredients together starting with only 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. If frosting is too thick then add the additional tablespoon of orange juice.

And finally, here’s the cupcake with the filling. I took a bite so you could see the insides. I have to thank Baking Bites and for the recipes because they were super easy to make (although a bit time consuming, and I stressed out because I had to rush to meet a friend for lunch after baking all morning). The cupcake was light and fluffy (I think the cake flour makes the difference) and the cream filling was sweet. I think if I were to perfect this, I might want to find an orange icing recipe that looks more orange like a Creamsicle’s exterior. Maybe an orange ganauche with food coloring? Mmm, next time. Enjoy!


Passionate Eater said...

Oh my goodness, creamsicle cupcakes and hollowed out cupcakes with frosting! Ben, you know a way to any person's heart!

David K. and Ann C. said...

We were lucky enough to try Ben's creamsicle cupcakes and we have only one thing to say -- YUM!

Nila Rosa said...

Mmmmm those look amazing. I want to make cupcakes sooo bad, but i'm trying to stop myself.I'll eat 5-6 cupcakes easy. I might end up having to give in tho.

Doug Cress said...

I would have guessed this was a cream cheese style frosting. I'm sure it would work well either way -- its hard to hate on a cupcake.

Jaye said...

I have just discovered you through YouTube as I was looking for some help on making spam musubi. I want to say thanks for doing a job well done!

I've spent a little over 30 minutes skimming through the rest of your blogs, reviews, and recipes and have enjoyed reading it. Thanks again for making all of this easy to follow!

P.S. Do you also use Yelp to post up your restaurant reviews?

- Jaye

Chef Ben said...

PE, thanks!

D&K, you're welcome!

Nila, give in already!

Doug, hmmm, I would think cream cheese might be a bit sour and thick? I know I've tried it as frosting, and that works. I wanted the filling to be super easy to bite into.

Jaye, welcome! I hope you have fun exploring my archives. And no, I don't post on yelp. As you can see by my long posts, I probably would be banned from going on and on. :)

Mrs. L said...

These look awesome Chef Ben! (and FWIW, I love your detailed restaurant reviews!).