Third times the charm, right? I think so anyway. Mr. Sweeter Thing and I have been “planning” these cupcakes for weeks, ever since we visited the Bubble Room on Captiva Island in Florida. The Bubble Room is famous for their orange crunch cake, a moist yellow cake with a streusel filling and orange cream cheese frosting. It was pretty amazing. Well Mr. Sweeter Thing turns 34 tomorrow and so in keeping with the workplace tradition they have, he’s taking in his own birthday treats. A tradition I rather like, no guess work, no remembering 15 different team members birthdays. You get what you like on your birthday and no one forgets to celebrate with you. It’s a perfect solution. So I set out to make Mr. Sweeter Thing my version of orange crunch cake, but in cupcake form rather than cake. No cutting, no serving, no messing up a beautiful display.
The first batch went straight into the trash. It was all wrong. The streusel was non-existent after baking, the cream cheese icing was too thin and full of artificial flavoring and color. Gross. Orange extract is so weak, you have to use a whole bottle of it to get good orange flavor. No thanks. The second batch was semi-successful. We fed them to our neighbors, who approved. That time I used orange zest to flavor the icing which made for a thicker icing with much better flavor. However, the streusel fell right to the bottom of the cupcake, making the paper hard to peel off and ripping the bottom half of the cupcake off. No go. Finally, I decided to fold the streusel directly into the batter instead of make it one concentrated layer in the middle of the cupcake. This way it wasn’t too heavy. Success.
Step one of this creation was finding a good yellow cake recipe from scratch. It took a bit of research, yellow cakes can be dry and dense when made from scratch and I need moist and light. I finally found one that had great reviews but also looked super simple. I love simplicity. Take a look.
Start with dry ingredients: flour, potato starch (if you have it), sugar, baking powder, salt. Mix well to combine.
Add a softened stick of butter, whole milk, canola oil, vanilla, and orange zest.
Turn your mixer on and then turn it to high and let it go for 2 minutes. Your batter will look something like this:
Add your eggs and beat again on high speed an additional 2 minutes. You’ll end up with this:
Let your batter sit for a minute while you mix together the streusel. Super easy. Brown sugar, chopped almonds, crushed graham crackers, and melted butter. Mix well.
Once mixed, fold the streusel into the batter. Use an ice cream scoop to fill your cupcake liners.
Bake 20-22 minutes at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the edges are just the slightest golden brown.
While your cupcakes cool, lets work on the candied almond slivers. Combine water, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add your almonds and stir to coat them.
Continue to simmer on low heat, the mixture will start to thicken and look stringy
Keep cooking! Cook until the liquid is gone and the mixture is semi-dry looking, like this
Spread onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and spread with a fork. Let cool.
Top your cooled cupcakes with the orange cream cheese frosting and top with the candied almonds. Delish!
Orange Crunch Cupcakes with Candied Almond Slivers
Makes 2 dozen standard cupcakes
Recipe adapted slightly from Chef Talk
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour OR 2 cups flour and 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 stick butter (not margarine), softened
- 1-tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 3 large eggs
- Streusel mixture (see recipe below)
- Combine the flour, potato starch, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of your mixer and stir to combine
- Add the milk, oil, butter, vanilla, and orange zest and mix on high speed for 2 minutes
- Add the eggs and mix on high speed an additional 2 minutes
- Fold in the streusel mixture. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake at 359 for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
Recipe adapted slightly from Tasty Kitchen
- 3/4 cup Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1/3 cups Chopped Almonds
- 1/3 cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
- 3/4 stick Butter, melted
Mix everything together in a small bowl.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 heaping teaspoons orange zest
- Cream the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy
- Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition until mixture is smooth
- Add the orange zest, beating well
- Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes
Candied Almond Slivers
Recipe from Allrecipes
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- Combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to a boil
- Add almonds and mix to coat
- Simmer on low until all the liquid is gone
- Spread almonds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let cool before topping cupcakes with them