Orange and poppyseed cupcakes

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By: Charlotte Morgan

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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.19 / 5 (148 votes)

Prep time:
30 min
Cook time:
20 min
makes 12

An airy, poppyseed-flecked sponge finished with a swirl of zesty frosting makes Charlotte Morgan’s cupcakes the perfect light sweet treat


1. For the sponge: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole tin with cupcake paper cases. Tip the flour, sugar, butter and orange zest into a food processor and blitz on a slow speed for one minute, until you achieve a sandy consistency.

2. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until just incorporated. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy at this stage – it will come together! In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining milk together with the egg and orange juice. Pour into the batter, add the poppy seeds and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl to catch any unmixed ingredients as you go.

3. Divide the mixture between the 12 paper cases, filling each one up two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the golden sponge bounces back when prodded with a finger. Leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.

4. For the frosting: Tip the butter and icing sugar into a food processor and beat until well combined. Add the orange juice and zest, then beat again for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.

5. When the sponges have cooled completely, carefully spoon a third of the frosting into a piping bag and use it to decorate the first four cupcakes. Repeat until you have finished them all. Alternatively, just use a palette knife to spread about 2 tbsp of frosting onto each cupcake.

6. Decorate with orange rind, if desired.


For the sponge

  • 120 g self-raising flour
  • 145 g golden caster sugar
  • 40 g butter, at room temperature
  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds

For the frosting

  • 225 g butter, softened
  • 400 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 orange, zest and ½ of its juice
  • orange rind, to decorate

Tips and suggestions

Don't worry if your cupcake comes out of the oven looking a little flat - it's supposed to happen! A flat sponge is ideal when it comes to frosting the cupcake.

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Latest Comment


I don't understand where the orange juice comes from in the cake mixture because the recipe ingredients states zest only for the cakes.

HelenH5844 HelenH5844  Posted 30 Oct 2013 2:10 PM

DEANP50874 DEANP50874  Posted 15 Feb 2013 7:05 PM

I swapped the orange for lemon - delicious!

JulieSunflower JulieSunflower  Posted 29 Apr 2012 3:53 PM

These are lovely, really light and fluffy. I've never used normal milk in cupcakes before, only buttermilk and was surprised at how well the turned out.

magenta_witch magenta_witch Posted 18 Mar 2012 12:55 PM

this is a must try

brendaG4339 brendaG4339 Posted 17 Feb 2012 9:45 PM