Orange-Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Buttercream Poppies
The orange flavor in these cupcakes comes from zest in the batter and two brushings of fresh juice once they're baked. A beautiful buttercream poppy sits atop each one, hinting at the seeds within.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest, plus 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 oranges)
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Vanilla-Buttercream Frosting and Poppies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 20 cups of two 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Stir together milk and 1/4 cup orange juice.
Beat butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and the orange zest with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in poppy seeds.
Divide batter among muffin tins (filling each cup two-thirds full). Bake until golden around the edges, 18 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/4 cup orange juice and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let stand until ready to use.
Brush warm cupcakes with half the orange juice mixture. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes.
Brush cupcakes again with remaining orange juice mixture, and let cool completely.
Frost cupcakes with untinted buttercream. Top each with a buttercream poppy.