The boyfriend’s sister’s family are moving to Paris for a year so for the last family gathering, I wanted to bake something amazing for their big send-off. I came across a picture of these cupcakes and I knew that they would be just perfect. They were the cutest little things but the problem was, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the flavors of the cupcakes. The recipe called for a chocolate cupcake with fluffy white frosting, making it a “Chocolate Malt Cone” but that was just too boring for me. So instead, I made a yellow cake with an orange buttercream frosting, which was still simple yet somewhat unique. The cake was moist and fluffy and the frosting wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet and had the perfect touch of orange. Best of all, it was a hit among the entire family, including the 3-year old babies!

Orange Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Betty Crocker’s The Big Book of Cupcakes):

Yields 1 1/4 cups (generously frosts 12 cupcakes)

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeeze orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 12 pirouette cookies, for garnish
  • 12 maraschino cherries, for garnish

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat powdered sugar and butter on low speed.

Beat in 1 tablespoon of orange juice, gradually adding just enough remaining juice to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more orange juice, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

Stir in orange zest.

Yellow cupcakes (adapted from Betty Crocker’s The Big Book of Cupcakes):

Yields 12 cupcakes (The original recipe called for 24 cupcakes but I reduced it to make 12 so the measurements are a bit unconventional).

  • 1 1/6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 egg (For the 1/2 portion, you can simply beat 1 egg and put in 1/2 of it into the mixer.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cover the top of the muffin pan with aluminum foil. Take a sharp object (I used the end of a deep-fry thermometer) and poke holes where all the muffins would go.

Take a bottom of the cone and make a groove where the hole is and make a spot for it; set aside. (This will stabilize the cones while they’re baking and will hold them up so they won’t tip over.)

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally.

Beat 2 minutes longer.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in vanilla.

On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and milk, about 1/2 at a time, beating just until blended.

Divide batter evenly among cones, filling each with a scant 1/4 cup batter.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; place on cooling racks to cool, about 30 minutes.

To assemble:

Frost cupcakes with orange butter cream frosting.

Cut pirouette cookies in  half crosswise.

Push cookies into cupcakes to resemble straws.

Garnish each cupcake with a cherry.