Sunday 1 February 2015

'Mandarin Oranges' Chiffon Cupcake in Brown Sugar Cookie Basket

My elder kid told teacher that Mama bakes so she's expecting a chiffon cake from me. Since Chinese New Year is coming and Mandarin oranges are in abundance, I thought why not make my chiffon "mandarin oranges" but packaged in an edible basket this time!

I had some extra red chiffon hearts from another bake so I added them to the basket :)

The first time I made these oranges for CNY a year ago, everyone remarked that the cakes looked like real oranges. My kid said the teacher thought those were real oranges at first glance too! And she couldn't bear to eat them because they looked too pretty and thought they were expensive. These oranges are actually not tough to make once you have experience in making chiffon cakes...and armed with round bottomed glass/ metal bowls.

The brown sugar cookie recipe is adapted from gingerbread man recipe. Since gingerbread houses are structurally sound, I thought this cookie recipe would be great for a basket too.

Brown sugar cookie basket
87g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
28g unsalted butter
37g light brown sugar
1 tbs (21g) golden syrup
1/4 egg  (about 12g)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Rub in butter until it forms fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Combine all wet ingredients in a small bowl before adding into the dry mixture. Knead until a ball of dough forms.

2. Roll the dough to 6mm thickness and cut into strips of about 8-10mm wide.

3. Line two upturned metal bowls (Any size you have. Adjust quantity and baking time accordingly.) with baking sheet or aluminium foil (grease foil if using). Line the strips of dough as shown in the top picture below to form basket base and handle. Form 4 small balls of about 1.5 cm in size (not shown in top picture). Chill the whole tray of dough in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the dough to firm up.

4. Bake at 160°C for 15 minutes for the balls and handle, and a few minutes longer for the basket base. Keep an eye on the cookies. When sufficiently browned, they are done. Try not to underbake as the cookies will be too soft to hold its shape after assembly. I under baked a little so the cookie was a little soft.

5. Cool the cookies completely before attempting to remove from bowls.

6. Use melted white chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer) to stick on the 4 small balls and handle.

Yummy basket!

I used a slightly different ratio of ingredients and baking temperature and time for the oranges from my original recipe but the steps are the same.

Mandarin oranges chiffon cupcakes (makes 8 baked in 8.5cm glass bowls):
2 egg yolks (60-65g eggs)
12g caster sugar
26g canola/vegetable oil
28g mandarin orange juice
1.5 mandarin orange zest
1/4 tsp orange emulco (optional)
38g cake flour
Pinch of salt
Orange gel food colouring

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
34g caster sugar

White compound chocolate
Matcha powder

Follow the steps in my original recipe except place the rack at second lowest position in the oven and bake at 160°C for 10 minutes and 140°C for 15-22 minutes. This is to prevent the batter from rising too fast and cracking, and to prevent the oranges from browning. Do check for doneness with a toothpick. It is safer to overbake a little than to underbake. Note that each oven is different so use the baking time as a guideline. It is optional to invert the glass bowls to cool the cupcakes.

Orange batter in glass bowls

Freshly unmoulded. 7 cakes only because I ate one..hehe

Freshly marked with citrus juicer and butter knife...looking real already!

Do give this a try! I had reviews from people who tried my original recipe and they loved it! My kid's teacher said the cakes not only look good but taste good too!

For the first time, we are joining 16 fabulous cooking bloggers to bring you the chance to start the Year of the Ram in the best way - by winning an ang pow! Leave a comment in the Combined CNY Giveaway Post for a chance to win!

Update: Checkout the video tutorial I made for shaping the oranges :).

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Another wonderful creation of yours,

  2. I agree with your son's teacher. They look so real. I must try it for this CNY. Tq for sharing.
    From Lily Kow

  3. You are really creative!I thought these are real orange...hahaha

    1. Haha don't worry, you are not the only one who was fooled :p. Thanks Fion for your encouragement

  4. Just tried yr receipe again & finally made it! Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Hi Adam, great to know that you made it!! Have a great lunar new year!

  5. i tried making these and out of 6 only 1 turned out like a tangerine. It's quite hard to mould them. Definitely takes practice. You are amazing how you can create so many cute shapes

    1. Hi Fi,
      Yes it takes practice so don't give up :). Chiffons are fragile so work with them slowly and gently so as to minimize damage.