Summer is here. Bake something summery :)

May 07, 2011

Kumquat Spiced Cupcakes with Crème Fraîche Frosting

It's been a long time since my last entry and I guess you remember it was the DB challenge :) I really enjoyed it and i want to say thank you to Evelyne, Ivonne and Lis for choosing me as one of the 5 finalist. I couldn't believe it and still it feels as if it's not true. I mean, c'mon, so many absolutely stunning creations among the DBs and I'm one of the chosen ones? I just can't express how happy I was, am, has been :D Feel free to visit the Daring Kitchen and vote for your favourite edible container - it may seem to be easy but it's really hard to choose the one as all of them are so beautiful and creative :)

I've been quite busy since the end of Easter and therefore I haven't baked anything difficult. I walked through our local store on Friday and saw some wonderful fresh kumquats - deep bright orange color, shiny surface, neither soft nor solid, just right balance of both. I couldn't resist the temptation to buy them. Okay, so I ended up with 0.5kg of fresh kumquats. What shall I do with them?

To be honest I've never made anything with kumquats except for eating them :D They're pretty delicious as long as you like candied peels and citruses. It's strange that I like kumquats as they remind me the candied stuff which on the other hand I'm not a huge fan of. These tiny orange fruits are eaten whole - peel included, so don't remove this part. Usually they have small seeds inside - these are not supposed to be eaten (not very tasty at all). The taste is very similar to that orange one, it's slightly tangy and sweet and very refreshing and juicy. Perfect for summer! As far as I know kumquats originated in Asia but nowadays they're planted in many other parts of the world (USA, China, France, Greece and other southern countries).

So how did I come up with these cupcakes? Easter means a season full of spiced honey cookies which are the most traditional cookies in my country. And when I say spiced I really do mean spiced. This Easter I've ended up with a huge amount of spices -  many different kinds - and had no idea where to use them (as we've been overeaten with the cookies).  Until today. In the morning I sat down, took my basic cupcake recipe, calculated, measured, changed and tweaked and in the end I got the recipe I'd love to share with you asap.

The most basic problem with cupcakes is their lack of moistness - they're a bit drier than we'd like. I really did want to avoid this problem so I used half butter (for great buttery taste) and half vegetable oil (for moistness). Then I decided to puree the kumquats and add them to the batter and finally, I used the spice leftovers and I gotta say it all worked like a charm which was a huge relief for me, because man, was I afraid it would all go bad - after all I'm no Gordon Ramsay to make my own 100% working recipes on daily basis.

As much as I love usual good old buttercreams, they're just too heavy for my liking during this time of year. I only made the sugar-butter buttercream twice or three times, as I prefer my custard based buttercream, but cupcakes are usually decorated with the first one I've mentioned above. Nevertheless, this time I grabbed some cream cheese, crème fraîche and vanilla sugar, whipped it all together and a light not-so-sweet frosting was borned. Enough of all that, time to prepare some tasty snack:)

120g (less than 1 cup) kumquats
110g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
30g (2 tbsp) butter, softened
25g (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
2 eggs
175g (22 tbsp) all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 huge pinch of ground nutmeg
5-6 thinly sliced kumquats for decorating
200g (13-1/2 tbsp) crème fraîche
200g (13-1/4 tbsp) cream cheese
100g (13 tbsp) pure vanilla powdered sugar

Cupcakes: Place kumquats into a pot with water and boil for 2 minutes. Discard the water and dry the kumquats in tea towel. Split them lengthwise and remove the seeds (you won't need them). Puree the kumquats in your food processor (peel included!) and set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, spices and baking powder. In another bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and foamy, then add oil and beat again until well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, just until incorporated. Now gently fold the flour mixture and kumquat puree into the butter-sugar mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour always just until incorporated. Fill the cupcake liners evenly to the top. Bake in preheated oven to 180C for about 10-13 minutes or until risen. Let cool for 3 minutes in the muffin cups, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Decorate with the frosting as desired, place one slice of kumquat on top of each cupcake. Refrigerate for at least for an hour. Serve.
Frosting: Beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. In another bowl, beat crème fraîche until fluffy (about 3 minutes) and carefully fold into the cream cheese-sugar mixture until incorporated. Use immediately (it'll thicken in the fridge).
I don't want this to sound like I'm all high and mighty, but this time I am quite proud of myself :D The cupcakes do taste like spiced cookies, are wonderfully moist thanks to the kumquats and oil. They have a slightly tangy orange-like flavour and beautiful color - again thanks to the kumquats. The frosting isn't sugary at all, a bit sour, creamy, refreshing and creates exquisite combination with the cupcakes. I'd say they're best the frist day, though the second day there's not a big difference. However, on the third they they may become less moist and a little tough. I recommend refrigerating them for 1-2 hours, then letting them sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes so that flavours can fully develop and then eating=devouring them as soon as possible :D

Linked to:
Sweets for a Saturday
Sweet Tooth Friday
A Themed Bakers Sunday


  1. Congratulations! Your creation was indeed stunning and the recognition it got is well-deserved.

  2. These are beautiful!

    I'd like to invite you to share this recipe on my weekly link-up, Sweet Tooth Friday. I hope to see you there.

  3. Excellent idea to use creme fraiche - much lighter

  4. Simona: Thank you, Simona, I really do appreciate it :)

    Allison @ Alli 'n Son: Thank you for inviting me :) I'll be very happy to share the recipe on your Sweet Tooth Friday :)

    Three-Cookies: Thank you, yes, it makes the frosting airy and not so heavy :)

  5. I have never had a kumquat, but your description of these cupcakes makes me really want one!

  6. I've never eaten kumquats, but this looks like a good place to start. Delicious!

  7. Great idea! They look like summer sunshine.

  8. Tessa: I highly recommend you trying the kumquats - they're delicious (and if not, you can always bake these cupcakes :D).

    Beth: Thank you :) Let me know if you try them out. I bet you'd like them :)

    Barbara Bakes: Thank you so much :)

  9. blkenigma888: Wow! I'm so happy to hear this :D Thank you forinviting me, I've already linked up a few recipes :)


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