Candied orange cannoli cupcakes

A creamy cupcake inspired by ricotta and chocolate-filled Italian pastries.
  • 310g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g sugar
  • 226g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange oil
  • 250ml milk
  • For the cannoli filling
  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • 55g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp finely diced candied orange peel
  • For the bittersweet ganache
  • 140g finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 170g double cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • For the almond cream
  • 500ml double cream
  • 55g icing sugar
  • 113g almond paste
  • Toasted almonds, for garnish

Serves: 24 cakes

To make the cupcakes:
1) Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3. Line the cups of a 24-cup standard-size cupcake tin with paper baking cases.

2) Combine the flour, orange zest, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 8 minutes. Slowly add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and orange oil to the mixer. On a low speed, gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until smooth.

3) When the mixture is smooth, divide the batter evenly into the prepared paper cupcake cases. Bake until lightly browned and fully cooked through, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

For the cannoli filling:
1) With a large wooden or metal spoon, mix the ricotta, icing sugar, chocolate and orange peel in a medium bowl until combined.

For the bittersweet ganache:
1) Place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. In small saucepan over a medium heat, bring the double cream and sugar to a boil ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the cream and sugar mixture over the chocolate and leave to sit for 5 minutes. Gradually whisk until smooth. Cool completely.

For the almond cream:
1) In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream, sugar and almond paste until the cream is firm enough to pipe on the cupcakes but not too stiff and buttery.

To assemble the cakes:
1) Cut a small hole the size of an apple core in each cupcake and fill with the cannoli cream.

2) Pipe a small amount of ganache on the entire surface of the cupcake and do the same with the almond cream. Top with toasted almonds.

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