17 September 2009

Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in...Red?!?

Yup, you read that right. For the bride in this case is of the non-conventional variety. She and her partner decided to tie the knot after several years of "living in sin" (oh, the horror!) with 2 kids at their sides during the nuptials and a 3rd proverbial bun in the oven tucked under that gorgeous red throw she was wearing!

In my spare time, I handle PR for a wonderful parents' association for English-speaking families here in Paris called MESSAGE. We organize all sorts of great family-fun events, provide many support services like breastfeeding help and pre-natal classes, and overall serve as an extended family for throngs of expats who find themselves far from home. I've made many terrific friends over the years through this organization - people from all walks of life, from every corner of the globe, with all sorts of traditional and non-traditional family lifestyles. One of my greatest pleasures has been the opportunity to steer the organization via serving on its Executive Board, and that is how I came to know the afore-mentioned bride. Though she was married over the summer, we were unable to coordinate cupcakes for her actual wedding day and so the ones you see here were fashioned for her and her betrothed belatedly.

She is Dutch and her husband is French (And a fireman too! Woo hoo!). The only guidelines she gave me for these were that they be orange - you can read the history of the Dutch passion for orange here - and could they include "E's" for both her and the mister's first initials are "E" as well as pay tribute to their nationalities in the form of flags? Oh, and maybe have some sort of liquor in them too (I told you she was non-conventional!).

What did I come with? Two varieties of cupcakes : one that is wildly Cointreauversial (I was inspired by the lovely Dita von Teese who the hubby and I saw live last week; what a performance!) and one that is oh so de-lovley and delicious: the Orange Zinger cupcake! The chocolate ones that you see here with the Dutch and French "flags" are made from dark chocolate cupcakes, lovingly drizzled with a Cointreau glaze and topped with a milk chocolate and Cointreau buttercream. The heart flags are marzipan printed with words of love like "Cherish, Adore and True Love" and hand-painted with food coloring. The Cointreauversial Cupcake will be joining the Little Miss Cupcake line-up soon along with a few other Adult-Only varieties.

The Orange Zinger Cupcakes are orange cupcakes filled with an orange spice cream and topped with a white chocolate ganache frosting. They are decorated with home-made marzipan and marshmallow fondant. Here's the recipe; the cupcakes are great on their own plain if you want to add a little zing to your breakfast plate.

Orange Zinger Cupcakes
Makes approximately 14 cupcakes

For the Orange Cupcakes:
4 ozs. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup hot water
¼ cup Pulco or other concentrated orange syrup
zest of one orange

Pre-heat oven to 350/180 degrees. Grease 1 12-cup cupcake tin and 2 cups of second tin or insert cupcake liners.

Sift baking powder, salt and flour in medium-sized bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and blend well. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, blending well after each addition. End with a flour addition.

Add hot water and mix well. Add zest and Pulco last and mix.

Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. Fill unused cup molds halfway full with water. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Once cool, remove cupcakes from tin and continue to cool on a wire rack.

For Orange Spice Cream Filling
(adapted from a recipe from I Heart Cuppycakes, originally from Dorie Greenspan's Book, Baking: From My Home to Yours)

1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs, preferably at room temp
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from about 1 medium sized orange)
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoons cornstarch
3 ozs. (1/2 cup+2 tbs) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temp

Combine sugar and orange zest in a heatproof bowl. Rub the sugar and zest between your fingertips for a few minutes, until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange is strong. Whisk in the eggs, then whisk in the juice and cornstarch.

Bring water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir with a whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the orange cream until it reaches 180 degrees F, about 10 minutes. Whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling – you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. When it starts to leave “tracks” the cream is almost done.

As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain the cream; discard the rest. Let it cool until it reaches 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Add ginger and cinnamon. Whisk to incorporate. Add the butter a few pieces at a time until butter is incorporated and continue whisking for another 3 minutes until mixture is thick and creamy.

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate the cream for at least 4 hours, or overnight. (The cream can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator.)

For White Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

4.5 ounces white chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp butter, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Break up chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. In a small casserole, heat cream until just about boiling. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined. Next add the butter and vanilla and stir until combined.

Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a whisk or electric hand-beater, sift in powdered sugar one cup at a time beating after each addition. Continue adding sugar and beating until mixture is of good spreading consistency.

Optional : I added a few drops of orange coloring to make the color really pop.

For assembly, cut a small inverted cone out of the top of each cupcake and set aside. Spoon about 2 tbsp. cream filling into each cupcake. Cut off most of the cone/part that fits inside of the cupcake and replace cap on cupcake, eat scraps.

Once filled, frost cupcakes with an offset spatula or a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Eat, enjoy!


  1. How nice. I like how you decorated them. The filling sounds delicious!

  2. They look fantastic - and sound delicious. I wish I could try one ;)

  3. I love how creative you were with orange flavoured cupcakes! And I think your flower decorations are really lovely too :)