Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hail to the Queen Cake!

Orange queen cake with orange glaze and sprinkles.

I just found out something about my husband, Seán. He loves queen cakes. His sister, Sharon, made him some for his seventh birthday and he never forgot them. Those cakes are the pinnacle of all great baked goods for him. Of course, I'm hearing this now after over eight years of marriage. Of course. Having grown up in America and not in Ireland like he did, I had no idea what he was talking about. I grilled him. Of course. Turns out they're just a shorter cupcake with a glaze on top. Easy!

Zara and I got to work mixing up a batch for my suddenly queen-cake-yearning husband. I went over all the flavor options with him and he decided he wanted orange. Okay, can do. I modified my Orange Ogre cupcake recipe a bit and came up with something that's more sophisticated and lives up to the name Queen Cake. And it's super delish!

Orange Queen Cakes
(makes 12 - 246 calories)

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons orange flavoring
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce 
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (approx. the zest of 1 medium orange)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and orange flavoring. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the milk, applesauce, and orange zest.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. To check if they're done, insert a toothpick. If it comes out clean, they're finished.
  4. Let the cakes cool.
  5. Dip the tops in the orange glaze.  If you want sprinkles, add them right away before the glaze begins to set.
  6. Nom. Nom. Nom.
 Orange Glaze
  • 1/4 lb. confectioners sugar (a.k.a. powdered sugar, icing sugar)
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon orange flavoring (or to taste)
  • food coloring
  1. In a medium bowl slowly add water to the confectioners sugar until the mixture is smooth with the consistency of syrup.
  2. Mix in the flavoring and coloring.
  3. Keep covered until ready to use.
And then I had a lot of fun photographing my darling little cakes. Enjoy!

Playing with the lighting.

Queen Cake...oooh, moody and mysterious!

Queen Cake film noir style.

Love the alien glow.

This one might be my favorite.

By the way, Seán was very impressed. He couldn't get over how yummy these are. I know I'm relieved. It's hard living up to my sisters-in-law. They're both fab cooks.


  1. Tabitha I so enjoy your blog & love all the things you do & share. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I'm gonna try it. They certainly loook delish! (Why is it called "Queen Cake"?)Thanks again! =)

  2. Thanks so much. I appreciate your comments. And your question. That turns out to be a tough one.

    According to http://bit.ly/hcsPer
    "The first known recipe using the term ‘cupcake’ was in 1826 found in an American cookbook. The ‘cup’ in this recipe referred to the new fangled volume measuring system of measuring by the cup and not the weight. Recipes that called for baking cake into a small cups date back as far as 1796 and are usually called Queen Cakes."

    It doesn't explain why they're called that, and I did some research and can't find a good answer for you. Sorry I couldn't help.

  3. Hi there! Thanks for commenting on my hubbies recliner...he absolutely LOVES it! I don't know the recliner companies are bound and determined to make those big puffy, exploding marshmallow recliners...don't they know that some people like comfort and beauty! :0) Hope you can find the recliner at your local TJ Maxx. This one was actually $399.00, but we opened up a rewards card with them for an additional 10% off. :) (my hubby is brilliant, it was his idea!)
    Your cupcakes looks so yummy! I didn't know what a queen cake was either, until you explained. :)
    Have a great day!


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