Put a little spring in your step with this orange blossom and almond cake. It’s perfect for any spring or summer occasion, and can easily be made into cupcakes. Directions for baking this as a cake, or cupcakes, are included in the recipe!
Dish Count :: 1 Stand Mixer, 1 6″ Cake Pan, or 2 9″ cake pans, or muffin tin
A couple of days ago I made a big announcement. I am not one for big overblown announcements of anything, let alone something about me. I like flying under the radar – contrary to what one might expect from someone with a baking blog… And talking about myself, or what one might consider accomplishments, always makes me feel uneasy. I’m not a tooter of my own horn by nature.
But this one was not so much about “me” as it was this impending new little one. It’s just a big life shift, so I can talk about it a little more freely than I usually would. If this makes any sense at all….
I had hoped that finally being able to tell people that I was expecting might kind of explain the relative radio silence since the holidays. It was one thing after another with the book which led to a quiet autumn and holiday season around these parts – and then BAM – this little wonder hit! Sapping me of any remaining ounce of energy, or frankly care about anything other than making it until 7pm without falling asleep on the couch became my prime objective.
As this might be a happy thing to start talking about (which it is!) it’s also some equal penance and asking of forgiveness that I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I have. Hopefully it will make up for my absence, and get us both rearing to go again for this new year of firsts on the blog.
I opted for a small 6 inch cake for this post, but after having used my favorite recipes from the Trophy Cupcake and Cakes cookbook, its easy to modify the recipes to suit your needs if you have the right baking times. Really, when in doubt, I always look at the back of a cake mix box for their guesstimations of time to bake varying size cakes. Such a cheater move.
The vanilla cupcake recipe is so wonderful in its original state, but lent itself beautifully to making these into an orange blossom and almond cake and cupcakes. The orange blossom gave these a really light floral taste, with the remaining almond extract and touch of vanilla keeping it nice and cozy. I made the same alterations to the flavoring of the frosting, starting with the basic vanilla, just giving it a twist. The toasted coconut on top of the cupcakes that I used to make the next actually made these even better! By no means was the toasted coconut a prerequisite for a delicious cupcake – you can omit it if you want – but it does add a lovely flavor and texture.
Orange Blossom and Almond Cake and Cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Cake Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Milk
- 3/4 cup Half and Half
- 2 1/2 tsp Orange Blossom Extract
- 1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups Sugar
- 3 Eggs
Orange Blossom and Almond Buttercream Frosting
- 2 cups Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp Orange Blossom Extract
- 1 tsp Almond Extract
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1/4 tsp Salt
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 6″ cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a 2 cup measuring cup, stir together the milk, half and half, orange blossom extract, almond extract, and vanilla bean paste (or extract). Set aside.
In a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about three minutes. Scrap the sides if needed. Add in eggs, one at a time, being sure to mix in completely before adding in another. At least 30 seconds between eggs.
Add in the dry ingredients in three parts, adding in some of the milk mixture in between additions of flour. Scrape the bowl to ensure everything is mixed together and the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.
Fill the cake pan 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack, starting for 25 minutes. Check with a toothpick to test doneness. If it requires additional time, bake in 5 minute intervals until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake rest on a wire rack in the pan for 5-10 minutes, before removing from the pan. Run a knife along the edges to ensure that it hasn’t stuck, and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
*If you are using a 9″ cake pan – bake for 30-35 minutes. For cupcakes – bake for 20 minutes.
For the Orange Blossom and Almond Buttercream Frosting
In a clean stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl to ensure all the butter is creamed and smooth. With the mixer on low, add in the sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time until it is fully incorporated. When all the sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl, to ensure it is all mixed in correctly.
Add in the orange blossom extract, almond extract, and vanilla and salt. Turn the mixer on, working your way up to medium and allow the frosting to whip for about five minutes. Scrape the bowl every couple of minutes to make sure there is no dry frosting on the bottom. The buttercream will look soft, and then will continue to stiffen as it is beaten and increase in volume. Use right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Recipes adapted from Trophy Cupcake Vanilla Cupcake and Vanilla Buttercream