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What you need:

For the cupcakes
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g golden caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds removed
2 eggs
100g self-raising flower
½tsp baking powder
finely grated zest of one large orange
½tsp orange oil or orange blossom essence
For the frosting
125g mascarpone cheese
125g cream cheese
175g icing sugar
finely grated zest of one large orange
¼tsp pure orange oil
orange food colouring paste (optional)
For the decoration
100ml water
150g caster sugar
1 large orange

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F /Gas mark 4.

Line a cupcake tray with 6 cases.

To make the cupcakes

Cream the butter, vanilla seeds and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Lightly beat the eggs and add them a little at a time to the mixture, mixing again with the electric mixer after each addition until all are incorporated.

Finally sift the flour and baking powder and fold into the batter, along with the orange zest and orange oil/essence.

Divide the mixture between the six cases and fill ¾ full. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 mins or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Place on a cooling rack.

To make the frosting

Mix the two types of cheese with an electric mixer to soften. Then sift in the icing sugar and fold in.

Grate in the orange zest and add the orange oil/essence and gently fold until you have a smooth mixture. Add a tiny amount of orange food colouring paste if using (a little on the end of a cocktail stick is a good way to do this). Fold again to add a splash of orange to the frosting.

Pipe or spread the frosting with a small palette knife on top of each cooled cupcake.

To decorate

 Using a zester,  remove thin strips from your oranges to make candied orange strips. Place the water and 100g sugar in a pan and heat to boiling, once boiling add the strips of orange zest, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, remove from the heat. Place the remaining 50g caster sugar on a plate, and remove the strips with a fork, a few at a time, lightly coat in the caster sugar. Place on a lined baking sheet for 1 hour to dry out.

Once your cupcakes are frosted, place a few strips on top to decorate.

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