Clementine Cupcakes, perfect for Chinese Lunar New Year and vegan too
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons Cake Enhancer, optional, for moist texture
1 cup peeled, diced seedless clementines or tangerines
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup orange juice or tangerine juice
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, enough to make a soft, spreadable frosting
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease and flour the wells of a muffin pan; or line the pan with paper liners, and grease the liners.
2) To make the cupcakes: Whisk together all the dry ingredients, then stir in the chopped clementines or tangerines.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla or Fiori, vegetable oil, and orange juice.
4) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; don't over-mix, stir just until everything is moistened.
5) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each nearly full. A level (to slightly heaped) muffin scoop of batter for each cupcake works well here.
6) Sprinkle the tops with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired. If you plan on icing the cakes, skip the sparkling sugar.
7) Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes, until they've domed nicely. They won't brown; that's OK. to test for doneness, stick a toothpick into the center of one of the cupcakes in the middle of the pan; if it comes out free of moist crumbs, the cupcakes are done.
8) Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and after 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool.
9) To make the frosting: Whisk all of the ingredients together, adding 3 tablespoons orange juice to start. Dribble in more, a bit at a time, until the frosting is as soft as you like it. Drizzle and spread the frosting over the cooled cupcakes.
Yield: 12 cupcakes.
I made them, and they're ...interesting
If they warn you to grease the insides of the tin, or if you use cupcake liners, grease the _liners_, yes, it has a _lot_ of propensity to stick to the pan! Maybe both that fact and the texture would have been different if I had used the cake enhancer.
The crumb is by any other name, a chiffon cake: no milk, no egg, just vegetable oil. As such, it is very light and airy, and not very filling, so if you have a propensity to scarf down junk food, these won't cause you to slow down.
I used the fiori di Sicilia flavoring on my first attempt at these...wonder if they'd taste different with the vanilla. the crumb is orange-y, but not too.
My family wasn't all that enthusiastic about these because of the texture, and speculated that they'd be better with the clementine bits within the cake chopped more finely, or left out entirely.
The frosting of confectioners' sugar + orange juice was really more of a glaze, didn't hold it's shape and was drippy. Presumably for a genuine "frosting" that had some "body" would still be vegan, perhaps margarine or Crisco (both vegetable shortening) would be in order?.
It also takes fewer clementines than you might think to produce a cup of chopped clementines: 4 or 5 clementines will do for this purpose (and produce extra) yet they sell clementines by the bag, so you'll have plenty left over.
I would make these again (gotta do something with all those leftover clementines).