Clementine Cupcakes

Clementines are a thing of beauty. They're juicy, flavorful, high in vitamin C, perfectly transportable, easy to peel, easy to eat. The list goes on and on. Am I right? Plus, they've got to be one of the best accoutrements for a Halloween lunch. Just draw a pumpkin face on the peel and call it a day! 

Clementine Pumpkin

After buying two bags of clementines, I wanted to get creative with them. How about Clementine Cupcakes? My son was on board immediately. My older daughter and her friend bake together every Monday, so as it turned out, I didn't have any white sugar in the house. I used maple syrup instead and am happy to report that it worked out beautifully for these cupcakes! These cupcakes have a bold citrus flavor, so if you're looking for more of a "hint" of citrus, reduce the amount of zest that you use. I’ve also added cardamom to add brightness to these cupcakes, and I’ve made them dairy free by using olive oil. The flavor of the olive oil really comes through here, so choose something fruit and flavorful. I paired it with a chocolate sour cream frosting, (because chocolate) and that recipe is also below. 

Clementine Cupcakes

Clementine Cupcakes


1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 large eggs
zest of 3 clementines (or one tightly packed tablespoon)
1/2 cup of orange juice (or a combination of freshly squeezed orange, lemon and clementine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
clementine segments for garnish

* Preheat the oven to 350. 
* In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil and maple syrup.  Slowly add in the eggs. Once thoroughly combined, add the zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. 
* In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. 
* Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and use a whisk to make sure there are no clumps. 
* Pour into a muffin tin lined with paper cups and bake for 20-24 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. This recipe makes 12 small cupcakes, or 10 large ones.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

What you'll need: 
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Once the chocolate chips are melted and slightly cooled, add the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix thoroughly. This recipe will make more than enough for your cupcakes, which is a good thing because it's kiiiiiiiiiind of irresistible! Garnish the cupcakes with clementine segments and enjoy! 


I've been making cupcakes for my kids' birthdays since my daughter turned 1 in 2007. Over the years, I've experimented with recipes and flavors (for example, one year my daughter requested chocolate mint cupcakes with mint frosting). But I keep coming back to a classic, tried and true recipe for white cake that I got from my mom, who has earned well deserved praise on the subject as a cookbook author and food writer. 


Today my son turns 2! I can't believe how time has just whizzed by. Two years ago, he was an 8 pound, tiny, pink, wrinkly bundle. Today he's a smiling, running, opinion-expressing, jubilant little dude. And that dude has made it very clear that he'd like white cupcakes with purple frosting. He's been talking about it for at least two weeks and telling everyone he meets about his upcoming purple frosting cupcakes. The idea came from one of his current favorite books, Cupcake, by Cherise Mericle Harper. My son's favorite cupcake in the whole book has purple frosting with blue flowers. 

Back to the cupcakes. Friends have been raving about this recipe for years. In fact, even though my daughter's birthday parties are now drop off parties, some of my friends like to either stay or arrive early to get in on the dessert. I'll share my mom's special recipe now (thank you, Mom!) - and wish you all the best in your cupcake adventures. 

White Cupcakes (makes about 12 cupcakes)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBLSP. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 5 large egg whites

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with liners. In a large bowl or an electric mixer beat the butter and 1-1/4 cups of the sugar until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If your butter is already at room temperature, you can do this by hand. Add the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in parts, alternating with the milk and gently mixing after each addition. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Still beating, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tin. Bake about 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Frost with buttercream frosting and enjoy!