Spiced Orange Drizzle Cupcakes

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Guess what? It's one week until Christmas 2012! Well, it was at the time of publishing this. But let's not get caught up in the minutiae of dates. Let's just enjoy the festive season and all that comes with it, including something delicious, something like these holiday infused cupcakes. 

The smell of oranges being peeled and filling the house with their amazing fragrance reminds me of my dad. Every orange season he would sit down after he got home after work with a plate, knife and two or three juicy oranges, and he'd devour them. He just loves the things. In fact, he probably still does the same thing each Winter.

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Now, I'm not much of a fruit-in-cake person, but I do actually like orange scented or flavoured cakes. Don't give me lemon cake, but orange? No problem. 

I adapted this from a lemon drizzle cake recipe from my favourite pastry chef, Mich Turner. I love her approach to recipes. It's grams and millilitres all the way with her which I love. But at the same time she's fairly relaxed. I say this as though I've actually met her! What can I say, I'm a huge fan.

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If you've never had drizzle cake, basically the drizzle comes from soaking the cake with a simple syrup, in this case, fresh orange juice and sugar if needed. This keeps the cake super moist and oh so delicious!

The drizzle really helps keep these fresher for longer, which is great around busy times so you can bake them a few days ahead and know they'll still be good to eat. Perfect!

Tangy orange cream cheese frosting dusted with cinnamon

Tangy orange cream cheese frosting dusted with cinnamon

I've paired up my cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, but you could simply dust the tops with powdered sugar or drizzle a simple glaze. I've even made these as Christmas tree cupcakes. Of course, you don't have to wait for the festive season to make these!

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I hope my friends and co-workers enjoy this year's baked Christmas gifts from me, and I hope you have a wonderful festive season! Happy Christmas and all the best for 2013 :)




Makes 12 cupcakes

175g Unsalted Butter (1 1/2 sticks)

175g Golden Caster Sugar

175g Self Raising Flour

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Ground Ginger

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 Large Eggs

Zest from 1 Large Orange

1/3 cup Milk

1 tsp Vanilla


Drizzle Ingredients

Juice from 1 Large Orange

Sugar to taste (if necessary)



  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan Assisted / 350°F
  • Line a cupcake tray with cupcake papers
  • Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined
  • Fill cupcake liners to about 2/3 full
  • Bake for 18-22mins, or until sponge springs back when lightly pressed or toothpick comes out clean
  • While the cupcakes are baking, combine orange juice and sugar to taste
  • Remove cupcakes from oven, and while still hot, use a skewer to spike 3-4 holes in each cupcake
  • Using a pastry brush, brush each cupcake with orange drizzle, or spoon drizzle over each cupcake, up to about 1Tbsp each
  • Leave to cool for another 15-20mins
  • Remove cupcakes from cupcake tin and leave to cool completely on cooling rack
  • Frost with a swirl of cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with a pinch of ground cinnamon





Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting


Enough for a generous swirl of frosting for 12 cupcakes

225g Cream Cheese (1 x 8oz packets), chilled

75g Unsalted Butter, room temperature

2 cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract


Seeds from 1 Vanilla Pod



  • Beat the butter until smooth and creamy, add the cream cheese and blend together until smooth
  • With mixer on low speed add icing sugar, little bit at a time, and vanilla
  • Increase the speed of mixer and beat until firm
  • Fill piping bag fitted with large plain or star tip with frosting
  • Frost each cupcake with a swirl
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 Adapted from Mich Turner's Cake Masterclass