Diced! Dessert Challenge Round 2 – Orangecello Cupcakes

Diced! Dessert Challenge – Round 2

The Diced! Dessert Challenge continues…

Each participant in round 2 won their first round and is ready to battle for more.

I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire. To date the winner will receive:

This week’s pairing is:

Cookies with chocolate (JC) vs. Cupcakes (Jeanette) . JC beat out fudge to advance and Jenee beat out Others (doughnuts, cannoli, etc…). Today we have Jeanette from Booze Sugar and Spice brings us some great cupcakes…


Photo 1 - Featured Size

In the first round, I survived squaring off against Nutella and blueberry filled doughnuts.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cupcakes.  My entire blog is dedicated to them.  But, c’mon, doughnuts?  So, I know it was the booze factor which won the first round.  Admit it, you’re all closet alcoholics, or what I like to call “My People”.

Now in this bracket I’m paired with Chocolate Cookies.  Are you kidding me?  CHOCOLATE COOKIES?!?!    Who doesn’t like chocolate cookies?  Serial killers and evil stepmonsters from Disney movies, that’s who.  In response, I headed to the liquor store to work out this dilemma.  Come “My People”, I will guide you to the Promised Land.

As I wandered through the aisles of the liquor store (not all those who wander are lost), I pondered how to complete with chocolate.  I didn’t want to battle chocolate with chocolate.  Too obvious.  Then I spotted Limoncello.  Ohhhh.   If you’re not familiar with Limoncello it’s an Italian liqueur made with spirits, lemon peels and simple syrup (recipes vary by region).  It’s absolutely delicious ice cold and sipped out of tiny glasses.  Preferably while chillaxin’ somewhere in Italy, but, you can just pretend.  Then I spied something I didn’t know existed, Orangecello.  Same thing, but orange flavored instead.

Photo 2

You come at me with chocolate and I’m battling back with the taste of pure sunshine!  Winter has been terrible and long, it’s time for Spring and Summer.  These cupcakes are a bright, fresh citrus party in your mouth.  Forget chocolate, it makes you fat.  Orange is a fruit.  Fruit is good for you.  These are practically health food! *

* Statement is completely biased and not accurate in any way.

Okay, enough propaganda, let’s talk cupcakes.  Lots of folks forsake scratch recipes  for boxed mixes because they feel scratch recipes are complicated and time consuming.  I’m here to tell you it isn’t true.  Here are some tips to make the process easier:

  1. Use the best ingredients you can find/afford.

  2. Don’t substitute lower fat/sugar ingredients.  This will change the chemistry and outcome of your final product.

  3. Gather all of your ingredients and measure them, first.  This turns the actual mixing process into a dump and go process.

  4. Don’t overmix.  Other than butter and sugar creaming, you’re just looking to just incorporate ingredients.  Even the creaming process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if your butter is at room temperature.  You can speed up this process by grating cold butter.

  5. Don’t overfill your liners.

  6. Kids?  Have them help measure ingredients and mix ingredients.  Baking is a great bonding experience.  One your children will remember forever.  Plus, you’re teaching your children to feed themselves.

  7. Cats?  (I feel your pain) Lock them in kitty jail (in our house aka the palatial guest room).  They are surprisingly unhelpful in anything involving butter, cream cheese, milk, etc.

 I used Seville oranges for this recipe because that is what I could steal from my neighbor’s tree they had at the store.  Blood oranges would be fantastic, as would mandarins or tangerines.  Whatever your neighbor store has available.


Orangecello Cupcakes

(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/08/30/lemon-limoncello-cupcakes/)

Makes 12



  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 Tablespoons Orangecello liqueur

  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice

  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest

  • ½ cup buttermilk or you can substitute 1 teaspoon white vinegar mixed with enough whole milk to make ½ cup.

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Line muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.  These are your dry ingredients.  If you’re substituting whole milk plus vinegar for buttermilk, mix these, too, and set aside.

Photo 3

Beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, if needed.

Photo 4

Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing after each to ensure they’re incorporated.  Add in the Orangecello, juice and zest.  Mix to combine.  Add in ⅓ of your dry ingredients and mix.  Add in ½ of the buttermilk, mix again.  Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients.  Scrape down sides and bowl to ensure batter is thoroughly mixed together.

Photo 5

Fill each liner ⅔ full with batter.  Tap filled tin on the counter gently to release any trapped air.

Photo 6

Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Photo 7

The curd is the hardest part of this recipe.  I had never made curd before and was convinced I would end up making orange flavored scrambled eggs.  I made sure I started with cold eggs.  This ensure the eggs cook very slowly or temper rather than scrambling.

Photo 8

Orange Curd:


  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest

  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 egg, cold

  • 1 egg yolk, cold

In a medium saucepan, whisk together zest, juice and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture begins to simmer.  In a bowl, whisk egg and egg yolk together.  Temper the egg mixture by adding liquid from saucepan to the bowl a little at time and whisking constantly.  Pour entire mixture back into to the saucepan over medium heat and whisk continuously until mixture thickens, between 2 – 5 minutes.  Pour into a clean bowl to cool completely.   I put mine in the fridge while I was baking the cupcakes.

Photo 9

Orangecello Cream Cheese Frosting:


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened

  • 2 Tablespoons Orangecello liqueur

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Beat together butter, cream cheese, Orangecello and powdered sugar until light and fluffy and thoroughly combined.


Cupcake assembly:

Using a cupcake corer, a pastry tip or a serrated knife, cut a hole in each cupcake.   Eat these pieces, your blood sugar is low.

Photo 10Fill each hole with orange curd.

Photo 11

Frost cupcake.

Photo 12

Shove cupcake in your cakehole.  You’re going to enjoy a moist, dense orange flavored pound cake with a bright, tongue tingling citrus curd filling and a creamy, delicate orange flavored cream cheese frosting.  You’re welcome.  Take that chocolate.

Photo 13

Until next time, stick a cupcake in your cakehole!

About me pic 1

xoxo PJ (aka Jeanette)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Alcohol, Baking3, Dessert 2, Fruit 2, Guest, kosher, Recipes, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

10 Comments on “Diced! Dessert Challenge Round 2 – Orangecello Cupcakes”

  1. May 29, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    You are amazing. That’s all I have to say.


  2. May 29, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    OMG! Actually did the sipping lemoncello thing in Italy a couple of times. You brought tears to my eyes with this one… and I’m not a cupcake person. Gotta go! Heading out to by some orangecello!


    • May 30, 2014 at 12:32 am #

      Officially jealous! Italy and limoncello sipping is on my bucket list. I’ll have to make due with cupcakes for now.


  3. May 29, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Am sooooo agree with Jenee Fortier’s comment. Look at those lil beauty!


  4. May 30, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    Reblogged this on Booze, Sugar & Spice… and commented:
    Alright, I made it to Round 2. This time I’m up against Chocolate Cookies, though. A vote for me is a vote for cupcakes everywhere!

    Not to toot my own horn but (TOOT!) these Orangecello Cupcakes are crazy delicious!

    Until next time, stick a cupcake in your cakehole…

    Xoxo PJ


  5. gentlestitches
    May 30, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    Triple yum! I voted for you PJ!


  6. May 30, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Looks great, PJ! I have to try these. I’m a citrus junkie!


  7. May 31, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    These sound wonderful! I bet the orange curd is to die for.


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