Orange Espresso cupcakes

Marbled Orange Espresso Cupcakes | Baking

These marbled cupcakes are sure to impress — no mixer required! Make the separate orange and espresso batters then swirl in the cupcake tins to create the gorgeous marbled effect. Top with the orange espresso buttercream for the perfect treat for the adventurous dessert fanatic in your life — or you know, just to have around as a quick snack!

Making it Marbled

A marbled orange espresso cupcake before baking.
A cupcake before baking — look at those swirls!

To best preserve the individual flavors, I’ve created two separate cake batters for these cupcakes; the orange and the espresso. The two are then playfully layered into cupcake tins and baked.

In order to keep this as simple as possible, no mixer is involved for the creation of the cake. Get two large bowls side by side and make your batter at the same time.

The recipe may look intimidating but I promise you can do it! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.

The cake recipe is DAIRY FREE! No milk or butter used in the making of the cake. For a simple dairy-free swap in the buttercream, follow these replacements:

  • Use dairy-free or vegan butter.
  • Instead of heavy cream, use 2 tablespoons of your favorite dairy free milk, vanilla coffee creamer, or coconut cream.

Orange and Espresso: Delicious Flavor Combination

Initially, perhaps, this flavor combination seems counterintuitive. After all, chasing orange juice with espresso is a bitter experience. However, when layered with sugar in fluffy cupcake form, these flavors complement each other beautifully.

After much recipe testing, I perfected the amount of orange and espresso in each batter so that their true flavors come through but do not overpower one another. Additionally, these cupcakes are sweet which helps blend the two flavors together in a delicious way!

The espresso batter includes a dash of cocoa powder. This helps to round out the deep, bitter flavor of the espresso and complements the fresh orange zest and juice in the orange batter.

The buttercream frosting is a key component of this dessert, really tying the orange and espresso together in a smooth, creamy finish. I highly recommend taking the time to make the buttercream.

If you MUST skip the process of making the frosting, go for a vanilla store-bought, and mix in the orange zest, orange flavor and instant espresso as directed in the buttercream recipe.

Baked Marbled Orange Espresso Cupcakes
The end result of the marbling technique before frosting.

Orange and Espresso: Special Ingredients

Medagalia D'Oro Instant Espresso

To truly bring out the orange and espresso flavor in these cupcakes, we enlist the help of some special ingredients.

For the orange batter, use fresh, ripe oranges. You’ll zest and juice these oranges to use in the batter, and reserve some zest for use in the buttercream frosting.

In the espresso cupcakes, I chose to use instant espresso. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand for baking, as you can use it in the plain powdered form to incorporate into other cakes, frosting, ice cream or cookies or use the powder to brew just as much espresso as you need for your recipe. Here’s a link to my favorite brand of instant espresso, pictured below.

Marbled Cupcake Technique

What makes these cupcakes so fun and pretty to look at is the marbling technique. The natural colors of the orange and espresso come through in each batter, so you wind up with one light orange batter and a nice tan batter for the espresso. By making the batters separately and marbling them in the cupcake tin, it results in a gorgeous marbled cupcake!

Cake Mix in Two Separate Bowls. Layer and Swirl with Toothpick!

How you marble and layer the separate cake batters is entirely up to you. There truly is no wrong way to do this. Use small spoons to scoop different layers into the cupcake tin, then use a toothpick to swirl the colors together. For a more hands-on tutorial, check out this video from Wilton. The recipe they use utilizes food coloring, which you don’t need when using this recipe. However, its a good video of how the marbling process actually looks and may help if you are feeling unsure about the process.

Orange Espresso cupcakes

Marbled Orange Espresso Cupcakes

These marbled cupcakes are sure to impress! To keep this recipe as streamlined as possible, I've laid out step-by-step instructions. You'll be making the espresso and orange batters separately, then marbling them together in the cupcake molds. Lastly, while the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream (if desired, or use store bought).
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes

Equipment

  • Clean bowls
  • Coffee mug
  • Zester
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Cupcake tin
  • Cupcake liners
  • Two small spoons
  • Stand or hand mixer for the buttercream frosting

Ingredients
  

Espresso Batter

  • ¼ cup water with 2 teaspoons espresso
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp instant espresso ¾
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TB canola or grapeseed oil

Orange Batter

  • 1 tsp orange emulsion
  • tsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TB canola or grapeseed oil

Orange Espresso Buttercream

  • cup unsalted, softened butter
  • cup + 1 TB powdered sugar
  • 2 TB heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp orange emulsion

Instructions
 

Espresso Cake Batter

  • Stir 2 teaspoons instant espresso into warm water until fully dissolved. Set aside.
  • In a clean bowl, sift flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add in the salt and sugar and ½ teaspoon instant espresso. Whisk gently to combine.
  • In a different clean bowl, add the egg, oil, vanilla and espresso. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk well to combine. Set aside until ready to use. If you prefer, you can pop this bowl into the fridge while you prepare the orange cake batter.

Orange Cake Batter

  • Zest two oranges into a small bowl, avoiding the white pith. In a separate small bowl or cup, juice both oranges.
  • In a clean bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk gently to combine.
  • In a separate clean bowl, add the egg, oil, vanilla, orange juice, orange zest and orange emulsion. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk well to combine.

Marbling the Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Using paper or silicone liners, line one full-size cupcake pan.
  • Using two small spoons, scoop a bit of orange batter into the bottom of the cupcake tins, then add some espresso, alternating however you'd like. This is the fun part! Get creative and layer however you'd like. Stop filling the cups when it reaches halfway.
  • Using a toothpick, swirl the batters together in fun and interesting patterns. There's really no wrong way to do this, so have fun with it and experiment freely.
  • Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Prepare the Buttercream

  • Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter until it is soft and fluffy about 5-7 minutes. Using room temperature butter will help speed up this process.
  • Incorporate powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, waiting until fully combined before adding more.
  • Once all the powdered sugar is mixed in, add the salt and vanilla extract. At this point, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is fully combined.
  • Pour the whipping cream in a slow, steady stream while beating the buttercream.
  • If you prefer your buttercream to be plain vanilla flavor, you can skip this step. To get the full orange espresso flavor, add the espresso powder, orange zest and orange emulsions, mixing until fully combined.
  • If you don't have a piping bag, you can cut one corner off a Ziploc bag and use it to pipe, or simply spread the frosting onto the cupcakes with a butter knife.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled fully, frost your cupcakes however you'd like. Incorporate some food dye into the buttercream for an extra burst of color!
Keyword espresso cupcakes, marbled cupcakes, orange cupcakes, orange espresso cupcakes

Have you tried this recipe? Curious about the flavor combination? Let me know in the comments below!

Nectarine and Goat Cheese Pissadelière | Baking

A yeast-based dough makes the base for this “French pizza”, the Provençal pissadelière.

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What is a pissadeliére?

Originating in Provence, France, pissadelière is a pizza-like street food. Located on the southeastern side of France, Provence borders Italy and the Mediterranean Sea — the perfect mix of culinary influence to create this French pizza!

On-the-water view of Provence, France
Gorgeous Provence

Traditionally, pissadelière is topped with onions, anchovies and olives. Needless to say, this is NOT a traditional pissadelière.

Instead, I chose to use the pissadelière dough as a base for a fruity, cheesy, sweet flatbread, something that could easily be eaten for dessert or for breakfast. This Nectarine Goat Cheese Pissadelière would make a great addition to a Sunday brunch, as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee or a sweet and savory dessert component for your next dinner.

Close up photo of a slice of Nectarine Goat Cheese pisadellière
A platter of Nectarine Goat Cheese Pissadelière

The dough is the most laborious part of the recipe, and even then most of the time spent is letting the dough rise, not active time.

If you prefer to use a different stone fruit, the recipe is completely adaptable. Simple choose your fruit, cheese and herby toppings! Here are some other combinations to consider:

  • Plum and Chèvre
  • Peach and Gorgonzola
  • Berries and Brie
Slice in triangles for a fun, rustic platter of tasty sweet/savory pizza!

On a Personal Note

The basis of this recipe, originally from Cook’s Illustrated , was handed down to me from my mom, originally given to her by my grandfather. He was the one who taught me how to make pizza at six years old. He called the recipe “French pizza” because he (like many of us, I’m sure) was confused on how to properly pronounce “pissadelière”. Honestly, I have no idea how to say it either. What I do know is that the final result is delicious.

Nectarine goat cheese pissadeliere
Nectarines, goat cheese, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Delicious!

The trick to the dough is using well-oiled hands! As my grandpa (Papa) said, “The dough is beautiful to work with, especially in conjunction with the parchment paper and using very oily hands stretches the dough easily.”

It was a pleasure to make this recipe that he’d made and enjoyed before. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did. Feel free to change out toppings as you see fit!

Nectarine Goat Cheese Pissadelière

This "french pizza" is made with a soft dough and topped with fresh nectarines, goat cheese, herbs and a drizzle of honey. Eat for dessert or breakfast!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, dinner
Cuisine American, French

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional as needed for dough
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1-2 large, ripe nectarines
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese
  • Handful of fresh herbs mint, thyme or basil
  • Honey, for drizzling

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, mix yeast and warm water. Whisk gently. Let bloom for 3-5 minutes. You should see light bubbling forming in the bowl.
  • Sift all-purpose flour into the bowl with the yeast and water.
    Add salt and olive oil. Mix in bowl until combined.
    Then, on a wooden board dusted with flour, knead dough into a smooth ball, about 3 minutes.
    When kneading, shape the dough into a ball and use the heel of your hand to push the dough down, reshaping it.
     *For an alternative method using a food processor, see recipe notes.
  • Lightly oil a clean bowl and place the dough ball inside and cover with a cloth. Allow to rise for 1 – 1 ½ hours, until the dough has grown in size
  • Have olive oil close at hand for stretching the dough. This dough responds better to oil than flour to repel stickiness.
    Line a full-sized baking sheet with parchment.
    Cut the ball of dough in half, forming two chunks.
    Stretch the dough using oiled hands to form rectangle shapes. (Any shape you make is okay, the important thing is stretching the dough so it is about ½” thick. If the shape doesn’t come out the way you’d like it, remember, it’s not a mistake – it’s rustic!)
    Place one rectangle on one end of the baking sheet. Using your fingertips, dimple the dough.
    Repeat with the other dough ball.
  • Slice the nectarines into eight sections. This prevents the nectarines from being too thin and burning in the oven. Top dough with sliced nectarines and goat cheese. Add as much or as little as you'd like!
  • Bake in a 425°F oven for 13-15 minutes. The crust should be lightly brown.
  •  Drizzle the pissaladiére with honey. Top with finely chopped herbs of your choice.
    Mint, thyme and basil all pair well with nectarines and goat cheese. If your herbs are flowering, use the flowers too! They are edible, slightly sweet and make for a beautiful presentation.
    Slice the pissaladiére any way you’d like. If the dough is not perfectly rectangular, I recommend slicing into triangle shapes.

Notes

Alternative dough method: If you are new to dough making, you may be more comfortable with the food processor method described in the original Cook’s Illustrated recipe:
“In the workbowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic dough blade, pulse flour, yeast and salt to combine, about five 1-second pulses. With machine running, slowly add oil, then water, through feed tube; continue to process until dough forms ball, about 15 seconds. Generously dust work surface with flour; using floured hands, transfer dough to work surface and knead lightly, shaping dough into ball.”
Keyword dessert pizza, french pizza, goat cheese recipe, nectarine recipe, pissaladiére, pissaladiére recipe

Berry Stone Fruit Crisp | Baking

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Crisp, Crumble, Cobbler: What’s the Difference?

For the answer to this question, I consulted the experts over at Farmers Almanac. Turns out I’d been calling my crisp a crumble all this time!

The main difference: Cobbler uses a pie crust or dropped biscuit dough on top of the fruit, while a crisp use a streusel topping, typically some combination of oats, flour, butter and sugar. Crumbles are similar to crisps, minus the oats in the topping. Now you know!

close-up of a berry crisp
While it’s not the prettiest dessert, it’s no doubt one of the tastiest.

A Dessert for Any Fruit

This on-the-fly fruit crisp is my go-to when I need dessert STAT. If using berries, you can throw this crumble together in 10 minutes flat. Bring it to a potluck, or let it bake while dinner is cooking! It’s a foolproof recipe that relies heavily on ingredients already in your pantry. No mixer required!

This crisp is also a great way to use up fruit that is right on the edge of turning bad. Even berries or stone fruit that are a little too soft to eat cook up nicely in the crisp.

I’ve made this crisp with various combinations of blueberries, apricots, strawberries and blackberries. I even tried it with only strawberries (super delicious). The point being, as long as your measurements are the same as the recipe, it will be great!

Choose your favorite combination of berries and/or stone fruits. Go with what’s in season, or what looks best at the market. That’s the true secret to a good crisp!

Bring It All Together

No one wants a crisp that’s turned to juice. This recipe requires quite a bit of corn starch, which helps to bind all the juices together as they cook out of the fruit.

Lemon juice & zest provide a contrast in flavor, and also help to draw out those juices! The topping crisps up nicely and also absorbs some moisture, resulting in a perfectly sweet, tart, crunchy, jammy crumble every time.

secondary close-up of a berry crisp
Sweet, jammy, with just a hint of lemon — perfection!

Berry Stone Fruit Crisp

Delicious, simple, comes together quick. This dessert checks all the boxes! Feel free to substitute in whatever fruit you have on hand — just stay away from citrus.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

For the Filling

  • 2 lb fruit Fresh strawberries, blackberries, blueberries; stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, apples; whatever fruit you'd like!
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup corn starch This amount is appropriate for very juicy berries and fruit. If your fruit is not as juicy, you may not need as much, but it won't hurt to add it anyways.
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice Substitute: 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp allspice.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon About 1 teaspoon

For the Topping

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter Equivalent to one stick

Instructions
 

  • Wash the fruit. If needed, trim and slice. The fruit will cook down in the oven, but bite-sized pieces are recommended.
  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Pull butter out of the fridge and let come to room temperature on the counter while preparing the rest of the crumble.
  • Using an 8"x8" baking dish, add the fruit. Measure vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest directly into the baking dish with fruit. Stir to combine.
  • In a clean bowl, add sugar, corn starch, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour sugar and corn starch mixture over the fruit in the baking dish and mix well. You can use a spatula but I prefer to use my hands. Set aside.
  • Cut the softened butter into small, manageable chunks using a knife or bench knife. Place in a clean bowl. Add in the flour, oats, and brown sugar. Mix to combine, coating the butter with the dry ingredients and breaking it down into pea-sized pieces. You can use a pastry cutter to do this, which works best. Alternatively, try a hand-held potato masher or just your hands.
  • Sprinkled the topping evenly onto the fruit in the baking dish.
  • Bake about 45-55 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and sticky and the topping is golden brown.
  • Let the crisp stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to cool and thicken thanks to the corn starch. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Keyword berry dessert, dessert in under 30 minutes, easy baking recipe, easy dessert, easy dessert recipe, fruit crisp, stone fruit dessert

Enjoy!

Sweet Peach Cornmeal Cake – Bolo de Fubá | Baking

It’s peak peach season! Optimal time to make this ultra-moist sweet peach cake. Ripe fresh peaches are quickly blanched, skinned, then sautéed in brown butter and sugar. A whole peach is chopped and folded into the batter, for double peach delight!

There’s a secret ingredient in this cake. Don’t be afraid!

I discovered a traditional Brazilian treat, cornmeal cake, a sweet cake often served with coffee. That is the base of this peach cake, loosely adapted from this recipe here. The cornmeal in the cake base lends texture and a subtle flavor that contrasts the sweetness of the peaches quite nicely.

The cake is baked, then set to cool in the fridge. While the cake bakes, the peaches are prepared on the stovetop. Once the cake is cool, the peaches are layered on top in whatever pattern or arrangement suits your fancy. The cake adorned with peaches is then set back in the fridge for an hour, where the buttery sugary juices of the peaches slowly seep into the crumb of the cake, creating that delectable moisture and permeating peach flavor.

Use a 9″ round cake pan for this recipe. You can make this for a party with friends, or just for yourself. It keeps extremely well and even holds up when left out on the counter overnight.

For gluten free and dairy free alternatives to the original recipe, scroll down to the recipe notes. A few simple substitutions turn this cake into a gluten and/or dairy free delight!

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs.
  • 1/4 cup canola oil.
  • 1/2 cup milk.
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar.
  • 1/2 cup regular cornmeal (not coarse).
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder.
  • Pinch salt.

For the Peaches:

  • Five ripe peaches, washed clean and patted dry.
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter.
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 325. Line a 9″ round cake pan with parchment on the bottom.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. As soon as the water boils, prep an ice bath in a separate pot by adding lots of ice and cold water. Fill the pot about halfway (enough to cover all five peaches). Score the bottom of the peaches with a small X. Using a pair of tongs, drop the peaches into the boiling water for about one minute.
  3. Remove peaches from boiling water using tongs and add directly into ice bath. Wait about 5 minutes. Remove peaches from water and set out to dry. Remove the skin from one peach by gently pushing away at the X mark. Dice the skinned peach and set aside. Leave the four remaining peaches until a later time.
  4. In a large clean bowl, add all dry ingredients. Sift in baking powder and flour. Whisk together to combine.
  5. In a medium-sized clean bowl, add all wet ingredients. Whisk vigorously by hand to combine. Bubbles should appear on the surface.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk vigorously by hand to combine. Batter should be smooth.
  7. Add the one chopped peach to the batter. Fold in with a spatula.
  8. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake in oven for about 35 minutes. (Baking times vary. Check cake at 30 minute mark. Insert toothpick. If toothpick comes out clean, cake is done. If not, leave in for another five minutes. The top will brown considerably, as there is a large amount of sugar in the cake.)
  9. While the cake is baking, prepare the peaches. Skin the remaining four peaches and slice into about 1/4″ thickness. Keep the slices nice and uniform, as these will be going on top of the cake.
  10. In a large sauté pan, add 4 tablespoons butter. Let melt. When it begins to bubble and emits a nutty aroma, add sugar. Stir to combine. Then add peaches in a single layer.
  11. Let peaches cook for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. They should be soft and caramelized but not falling apart. Remove from pan and set aside (I like to use a pyrex for this). Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  12. When cake is finished cooking in oven, turn out onto cooling rack. Let cool in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and level the cake, using a large serrated bread knife to even out the surface of the cake. The easiest way to do this is to place the knife level, then gently cut across.
  13. Arrange peaches in a circular pattern, working from the outside in. Use the best-looking slices of peach first, then fill in the gaps with the smaller slices. Set in fridge for about an hour. This will allow the juices from the peach to absorb into the cake.
  14. Slice and serve! Whipped cream optional.

RECIPE NOTES

TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Replace flour with Gluten Free AP Flour. Available from Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur or Trader Joe’s! To be safe, ensure the cornmeal package you use says Gluten Free. Cornmeal, by nature, is gluten free, but you never know what may be added in certain products.

TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Use unsweetened almond milk in place of the milk in recipe. Use vegan butter in pan with peaches.