When I first saw these cupcake containers at Phoon Huat, I knew immediately that I am going to make some orange cupcakes during the Chinese New Year period. I love the white potta dots against the bright cheerful orange background.
Instead of making butter cupcakes, I wanted something lighter and healthier - sponge cake with a lemon curd topping. The lemon curd adds moisture and gives the sponge cake a lovely citrus taste. I used caster sugar to make the lemon curd toppings, you can replace the caster sugar with honey if you like. For a fuss-free topping, you can always spread some orange jam (dilute with a little warm water) instead. Or how about adding some floral scent to the toppings, such as using dried osmanthus? Play around and explore various combination. A light whipped fresh cream, topped with half a strawberry will surely make a delightful treat for the coming Valentine's Day.
I love the texture of the sponge cake - very light and airy. I use 1/2 tsp cream of tartar to help to stabilise the egg whites. Instead of using plain flour or top flour for the sponge cake, I used corn flour and custard powder (also consists of corn flour) for that nice yellow colour. Corn flour helps to give a light and airy texture to the sponge cake.
(makes 20 mini sponge cake)
(A) Mix and sift together:
80g corn flour
15g custard powder
3 eggs (separate)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
80g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or orange essence)
20g unsalted melted butter
2 egg yolks
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 tbsp butter
Canned mandarin oranges (garnish)
1) Briefly whisk egg whites and salt till foamy
2) Add the cream of tartar. Whisk caster sugar to egg whites (a tablespoon each time) till peak.
3) Add the egg yolks, one at a time, continue whisking till the mixture becomes light and pale yellow. Add vanilla essence and mix well.
4) Carefully fold in the flour from (A) and mix well. Mix melted butter into the cake batter.
5) Pour into small cupcake containers and bake at preheated oven of 165C for 20 - 25 minutes.
6) Transfer cakes to rack to cool completely.
7) Prepare the lemon curd: Mix together ingredients (C) except for canned mandarin oranges. Cook over double-boiler (ie over a pot of simmering water) until it thickens (about 5 mins, stir throughout cooking). Cool it slightly.
8) Spread one teaspoon of lemon curd onto each sponge cake. Garnish the top with a piece of Mandarin orange.