The surprising combination of orange, poppy seed and cream cheese make these zesty cupcakes a delicious novelty for any occasion. What’s more, they’re fairly simple to create and look pretty impressive to boot!
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar, with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Add the orange zest, half the orange juice and the marmalade; continue beating, until combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and fold it through with a large spoon, until just combined. Stir in the poppy seeds.
Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch when lightly pressed. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and icing sugar, using an electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and orange essence (if using) and continue beating, until combined. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe a swirl in the middle of each cupcake.
Slice the pared orange zest into 6 thin strips. Wrap each one around a pencil or the handle of a wooden spoon and hold for a few seconds to curl. Decorate the cupcakes, alternating between an orange curl and segment to make 6 of each. Finish with a sprinkling of poppy seeds.
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