March 6, 2013

Olive Oil, Lemon, & Orange Cupcakes

Olive Oil, Lemon, & Orange Cupcakes

It's late winter, and I've been craving something tangy, sweet, and above all, colorful.  These cupcakes fit the bill on all three counts.  The cupcakes themselves are olive oil and orange.  They're filled with a deliciously tart lemon curd, and crowned with a whipped orange cream cheese frosting.  Bam!  The cure for winter in a tasty little cupcake-shaped package.

Olive Oil, Lemon, & Orange Cupcakes
Yum.  I love the lemon curd filling in these cupcakes.  It's a refreshingly tart punch-in-the-face (in a good way!).  Because it's so powerful, the cupcakes only need a very small amount of the filling - a little less than a teaspoon should do.  The recipe makes about twice as much as you need, but the extra lemon curd makes an excellent spread on toast or biscuits.

Olive Oil, Lemon, & Orange Cupcakes

To frost the cupcakes, I wanted something that was light and orange-y, so I decided to do a whipped orange cream cheese frosting.  I've made whipped cream cheese frosting before for my carrot cake, so I just altered the recipe to include some orange flavor.  The frosting reminded me of an orange creamsicle.  I didn't add too much sugar, which meant that the frosting was less stiff than it probably should be for cupcakes, but that just meant it was super creamy and rich.

Olive Oil, Lemon, & Orange Cupcakes

Olive Oil, Lemon, & Orange Cupcakes
Unfortunately, the olive oil was overshadowed by the powerful citrus flavors.  I'll have to make something with olive oil again sometime and feature it a bit more.

Olive Oil & Orange Cupcakes
Adapted from the Lemon Thyme Olive Oil Cupcakes recipe at Apron Strings.  Makes 15 cupcakes.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup olive oil
3 large eggs
½ cup fresh orange juice

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F.  Set 15 cupcake liners into a cupcake pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the sugar with the orange zest.  Add the olive oil and beat on low until combined.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.
  5. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the orange juice to the egg mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  6. Scoop into cupcake papers, filling them about two thirds full. 
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely.
Lemon Curd
Makes about twice as much as you need to fill the cupcakes.

zest and juice from 2 large lemons
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Combine the lemon zest, juice, eggs, and sugar in the top portion of a double broiler.  Whisk the ingredients over medium heat until quite thick - about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a small bowl.
  3. Add the butter and whisk into the mixture until it's fully melted.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap directly onto the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming.
  5. Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.
Whipped Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces unsalted butter
3½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
orange food coloring, if desired

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed with a whisk attachment until smooth (a minute or so).
  2. At low speed, add the powdered sugar.  Add the orange zest and juice and beat until combined. If using, add the food coloring now.
  3. While beating at medium-high speed, slowly add the whipping cream.  Whip for about 30 seconds.
  1. Cut a cylinder out of each cupcake, going about ¾ of the way down.  Scoop out the cupcake cylinder with a small spoon.
  2. Fill with a little less than 1 teaspoon of lemon curd.
  3.  Replace the cut-out cylinder (you may need to cut off a little bit of the bottom to make room for the filling).  Frost with whipped orange cream cheese frosting.


  1. can you use powdered sugar for the lemon curd?

    1. I'm not sure. I imagine it would be ok, but you'll probably want to make sure you measure in weight since 1/2 cup granulated sugar is probably pretty different than 1/2 cup powdered sugar. This website looks pretty useful for doing that conversion:


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