Grand Marnier and vanilla…In a cupcake.

I must say ever since I was young I was obsessed with anything orange.  Anything from the color to scent and everything in between.  The color orange reminds me of a warm summer days sunset, the smell calms me down even from the most stressful of moments and carries me into a tropical land.  The taste, well the taste can top it all.  The memory of eating oranges at my grandparents house in the country side, building forts and running through the endless acres of forest.
So whenever I get the chance or at the appropriate time I always choose orange.  It always has my back.  That’s why I know you’ll just love these cupcakes, it has all of thy above: Color, taste, scent.

With all of that being said I once made a similar cupcake; For a friends birthday party. It was an orange cupcake with Grand Marnier frosting and chocolate chips.  It was delicious, however everyone had a little to much to drink by the time I got there to attempt to devour them.  When I left I gave them to homeless people I saw and my cab driver (who scared me beyond belief).DSCF1687

Ingredients: (cupcakes)
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 oranges zestedDSCF1671

Ingredients: ( French, vanilla butter cream)
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
3 tbsp water
5 large egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla (or more if you like)
pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp)

Equipment:  ** I used a stand mixer for these recipes (paddle and whisk attachment), however you could use…**
2 medium sized bowls
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Measuring spoons and cups
Knife
Cupcake tin and liners
Piping bag and tip ( or whatever you like)
Heavy bottomed sauce pan/pot
Fry pan
Candy thermometer
Cooling rackDSCF1682

Method: (for cupcakes)  **Preheat oven to 350 degrees**
1. In stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
2. Beat in egg till well combined, continue to slowly add milk, Grand Marnier, vanilla and orange zest.
3. Combine the rest of your dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, baking soda, salt).
4. Combine 1 third of the dry mixture at a time in with the wet mixture currently being mixed in the stand mixer.
5. Once well incorporated taste mixer, if you feel it need more orange flavor add more zest.
6. Line muffin tins with liners (for less of a stick you can lightly spray the liners with a vegetable oil, be careful not to use to much though).  Fill the liners about half way with batter.
7. Place cupcakes in oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, rotate your cakes and bake for another 10 minutes or until done (to check doneness lightly press the top of your cake if it springs back it’s done. OR stick a tooth pick or small knife inside your cake, if it comes out clean it’s done).
8. Take your cupcakes out of the muffin tin and let cool completely at room temperature on a cooling rack!!!!
9. Clean your mess up, you have more to do. 🙂

Method: (French vanilla butter cream)
1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan or pot. Bring to a light simmer. Place candy thermometer in pot to keep an eye on sugar temperature.
2. Separate egg yolks from their whites, place yolks in the mixer with a pinch of salt and beat with whisk attachment till light and fluffy.  Never stop mixing, you can slow it down but don’t stop.
3. Cut butter into small chunks and set aside.
4. Once sugar is boiling and reaches the “soft ball” stage take off heat and very slowly start to pour into the mixing bowl on a medium speed (be careful not to get sugar on the whisk part, it’ll splash.  Hot sugar really hurts).  Every so often stop pouring and turn mixer on high for a couple of seconds.
5. Once all the sugar is incorporated put mixer on a high speed and leave till the bottom of the bowl is warm…almost cool.  This takes about 10 minutes.
6. Add vanilla.
7. Slowly add one chunk of butter at a time, making sure it is WELL combined (or else it will split…badly).

Method: (Caramelized Oranges)
1. Heat pan over medium heat.
2. Peel orange and coat in sugar
3. Place oranges in pan and cook until each side is a golden caramel color.
4. Cool. Then use.

DSCF1691

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