So following my Ginger Bread House project is my contribution to the Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic. I knew I had to make something to take to the picnic, buying something just didn't quite cut it, especially when you are a food blogger.
Things I had to consider were, serving temperature, ease of transportation and storage, storage temperature, appeal of the dish, and how comfortable and confident I would be making it. Should I try something new, or make something that I know will go down well?
I ended up going with something sweet because my brain at the time couldn't think of any savoury dish that would be suitable eaten cold and made the night before.
So after bouncing ideas of Ryan, he suggested that I make some cupcakes. The next challenge was to think of a flavour(s) that wasn't too boring for a bunch of food bloggers. Mum had brought home a huge box of very sweet juicey oranges so I thought I should try and incorporate them in. I also remembered that I had a packet of pistachios in the pantry and though the two flavours would work well, especially after my orange pistachio chocolate truffles. For a touch of interest I thought I would add some cardamom.
Orange Pistachio Cardamom Cupcakes
(adapted from Magnolia's vanilla cupcake recipe)
• 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 250gr unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 4 large eggs, at room temperature
• 2 oranges (to make 1 cup of juice)
• 1 cup pistachios, crushed
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3-4 teapoons ground cardamom
(I found that it didn't really come through so feel free to add more)
• 250gr unsalted butter softened
• 3-4 cups icing sugar (confectioners)
• 3-4 teaspoons ground cardamom
• a few drops of green food colouring
For the cupcake, sift all your dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Peel and segment the oranges and put them through a food processer (or juicer). All you really want here is the juice so strain the mixture. You can save a few segments and chop them up to stir through for some fruity bits (peel off the membrane!).
My mistake was that I left everything as it was thinking I would get some 'texture' in the cupcake. I ended up with bits of crunchy membrane throughout my cupcake, hope no one noticed - if you did then I'm sorry!
Beat the butter until it is light, pale and creamy. Beat in your egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and juice, a third at a time alternating between each.
Stir in the crushed pistachios. I only partially pounded mine with a morter and pestel but that just ends up with inconsistent 'texture' in the cupcake. It would be better done in a food processer, if you don't have one just crush up the nuts a bit more than what I did.
Put into patty pans and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
For the buttercream, beat the butter until light, pale and creamy and then gradually beat in the icing sugar until well incorporated. Add the cardamom and food colouring and mix until combined. I found that I had to keep adding more cardamom because I couldn't really taste. It's one of those spices that can be very overbearing if used in the wrong amounts. Keep tasting and adding as required.
Pipe, or spread buttercream on to cooled cupcakes in whatever style you desire and viola! I decided to do something a little fancier than I usually do and piped 'flowers'. So these were a little bit more fancier than your regular vanilla cupcakes.
Check out the awesome cupcake caddy/food carrier I scored for 20 bucks at The Reject Shop! Love it when I pick up bargains =D. It was a very very warm weekend so I stuck my cupcakes into the fridge. Beware that the icing does actually set (silly me ignored warnings that I read). I find that when you take them out the buttercream texture also does change a little (needs to be set to room temp and beaten again).
Leaving them sitting exposed to the air also doesnt help because the buttercream started to crust up too. That's probably just me being pedantic though. They all didn't go at the picnic =( There was just absolutely so much food and so many sweet items too. I thought they were quite unique and interesting, in a good way! Ryan loved them =)