Orange Marmalade Ricotta Cupcakes

I’ve been wanting to try these cupcakes for a while, but wasn’t sure if they were a summer cupcake or a winter one.  The fresh orange ingredients made them seem rather summery, but the ricotta made them seem a bit wintery.  In the end, I think the combination makes a great fall cupcake.  The ricotta turns them into little pound cakes, but orange ingredients give them a fresh, light taste.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 cup orange juice
⅔ cup ricotta cheese
⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons orange marmalade, divided
⅓ cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

Marmalade Buttercream:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 heaping tablespoons orange marmalade
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice

orange zest for garnish, if desired

Directions:

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.

Place the cake mix, orange juice, ricotta, ⅓ cup marmalade, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed.  Spoon or scoop batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it almost full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.

Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 15 to 20 min­utes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.

Place the remaining 3 tablespoons of marmalade in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir until it thins out, 3 to 4 minutes.  Alternatively, microwave maramalade in 10-second increments until it thins out.  Brush it over the tops of the warm cupcakes.  Lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips.  Place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Place the butter and orange marmalade in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, about 30 seconds.  Add 2 cups of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice and beat on low until the mixture is combined, about 30 seconds.  then increase the mixer speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute longer.  Frost cooled cupcakes with buttercream and garnish with orange zest, if desired. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Source: Cupcakes: from the Cake Mix Doctor.

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