Thursday 21 January 2016

'Mandarin Oranges and Flowers' Chiffon Cupcakes (video tutorial for shaping the oranges included!)

This is the third year I am making "Mandarin oranges" for Chinese New Year! This time round, I made some chiffon cupcake flowers along with them too :).

People had to do a double-take when they first saw these "oranges' two years ago, thinking that they were real oranges! I fooled my elder kid's teachers when I made them again last year for him to bring to school. Quite a number of people have tried the recipe and gave a thumbs up so do give it a try. They have successfully replicated the oranges too because it's one of the easiest creative chiffon items to make :).

You may refer to the detailed steps for the oranges and picture tutorial for shaping here in my very first attempt. I have modified the recipe last year and used it again this year but with slightly less sugar used as my mum's colleague requested for less sweet cakes.

Mandarin oranges chiffon cupcakes (makes 8 baked in 8.5cm glass bowls):
2 egg yolks (60-65g eggs)
10g caster sugar
26g canola/vegetable oil
28g mandarin orange juice
1.5 mandarin orange zest (about 5g)
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
30g 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. You may wish to place a tray of water at the base of the oven to introduce steam as well but it is optional. You may use a combination of hand unmoulding and a metal teaspoon to release the cakes from the glass bowls.

 On the spur of the moment, I decided to try playing around with making a simple video tutorial for shaping the oranges, which may be clearer than seeing the picture tutorial I made two years ago. I hope you find it helpful! Pardon the amateurish attempt as I am still new to playing around with video editing while multitasking.

Update (18/1/17): please checkout this post for the updated version for shaping the base of the orange cupcakes using the mould that the cakes were baked in instead of using your hands. It's much neater!

Update (26/12/20): I thought I might as well include an updated photo of shaping the oranges in this blog post. Simply invert and insert the baked cakes back into the glass bowls they were baked in. The bowl will naturally shape the base of the oranges 😊. 

Here's a photo of some of the shaped orange cupcakes :)

Go on and make some to foolbless your family and friends this Chinese New Year :).

My mum's colleague requested for some orange flavoured flower cupcakes after she saw and tried the ones I made for my mum last year. So here are some sunflower and daisy cuppies for her :).

Initials of each recipient on the cupcakes!

You may find the detailed recipe and steps for making the sunflower in our newly launched Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes book :).

I tried to use natural sources of food colouring as far as possible to colour the flowers and the highlights.

Getting geared up for CNY! Thank God that the cupcakes were very well received!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing


  1. hi . so sorry I dont seems to understand how to round the orange after bake. not able to see clearly. able to explain so so sorry

    1. Hi, just use fingers and thumb to form a ring with left hand and hold the cake in right hand by cupping you right hand. Pinch the base of the cupcake inwards. Chiffon cakes are very soft so the cake will be dented after applying pressure for a while.

  2. sorry, where can i get the glass bowl ?

  3. can i use silicon cake pop molds to bake these and make mini oranges?