Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Sunflower & Little Miss Sunshine Orange Chiffon Cupcakes

This is one of those bakes where something that looks gorgeous and difficult is actually quite simple, whereas something that looks simple is actually very tedious and difficult to assemble. Presenting my orange chiffon cupcake sunflowers and Little Miss Sunshines!

Natural food colouring is used wherever possible!

Orange flavour was requested. It's one of my favorite chiffon recipes as it is really moist, soft and full of fruity goodness!

Recipe for orange chiffon cupcakes (makes about 22 small cupcakes)
4 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
56g canola/vegetable oil
56g orange juice
9g orange zest
1/4 tsp orange emulco (optional)
76g cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

5 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
60g caster sugar

1. Set oven rack to second lowest position and preheat to 140°C. Prepare a tray of water at the base of the oven (optional).

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and caster sugar together until pale and thick. Gradually add oil and whisk until well combined. Gradually add juice, zest and emulco until well combined. Gradually whisk in sifted flour, baking powder and salt until no trace of flour is seen.

3. Prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites in a clean metal bowl with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the bowl can just be overturned without meringue falling out. Do not over beat!

4. Gently but quickly fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in 3 batches. Transfer the batter into a batter dispenser or a big zip lock bag with a piping tip adapter fitted at the end (like what I did). Fill the cupcake cases until almost full. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. 

Freshly baked!

I have chosen a lower temperature this time to minimize cracking of the tops of the cupcakes but steam bake for a longer time compared to my previous orange cupcake bake last year. Result is more moist and soft!

Recipe for layer cakes (makes about five 10x12" thin layer cakes)
8 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
105g canola oil
105g orange juice
2g orange zest
1/8 tsp orange emulco
131g cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
Natural and/or gel food colouring**

10 egg whites*
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
110g caster sugar

*You may divide meringue ingredients into 5 if you can only bake one layer cake at a time. I made 3 yellow layer cakes, one brown/red/ black layer cake and one green/pink/cream layer. 

**If you are just making sunflowers, make 4 yellow layer cakes and one brown layer cake. Portion egg yolk batter accordingly to ratio. Add to the egg yolk batter 2 tsp of cocoa, 1/16 tsp of baking soda and 1/8 tsp of charcoal for brown. Add 1.5 tsp of Queen's natural yellow colour powder (if you have) plus a few drops of yellow gel food coloring. 
 For this bake, I used 1/4 tsp red yeast powder + red gel coloring for red color, 1/2 tsp charcoal for black color, 1 tsp cocoa + pinch of charcoal +pinch baking soda for brown color, 1 tsp Queen's natural yellow powder + yellow gel for yellow color, 1 tsp Queen's natural green powder + green gel for green color and 1/2 tsp Queen's natural pink powder + pink gel for pink color.

Follow the steps as above but bake at 160°C for 10-12 minutes in baking trays lined with baking sheet. Immediately remove from baking tray and peel off the baking sheet. Cool the layer cakes with a baking sheet over them. It's important to bake these layers as thin as possible to make the flower more realistic. You can always slice the cake thinner after baking if it's still too thick.

Use marshmellow melted together with a bit of water to glue the cake cutouts from layer cakes to create the sunflower and Little Miss Sunshine.

The sunflower only requires 3 pieces of cake cutouts. Having a right flower cutter helps. The black center is painted on using charcoal powder dissolved in water. The light brown ring around the black center is painted on with cocoa dissolved in water with a drop of white gel colouring added. I used the back of the small fruit knife to create indents on the top petals and painted parts of the petals near the flower center with golden yellow gel coloring dissolved in simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar: water). This gives the chiffon flowers a more natural look.

Here are the flowers!

Some of them were used to form the birthday girl's name!

Little Miss Sunshine on the other hand doesn't look as gorgeous as I envisioned as I was rather frazzled with the many tiny pieces to put together, despite leaving out the limbs and freckles. The eyes are the size of cake crumbs! And because of the many tiny pieces involved (23 pieces each cake), I have forgotten that the big smile should be cut out using a round cookie cutter instead of carving out using a sharp knife by freehand *slaps forehead*. Anyway, I am glad that overall she still looks cheerful and presentable. Thankfully I chose to make only 6 of these!

Here's some of the tools I used for creating Little Miss Sunshine...

The arrows indicate the parts of the cutter that I used.

Only 5 here but I actually made 6.

My mum saw the sunflower cuppies and fell in love with them (both in looks and taste) so she wanted me to make more to share with her colleagues!

Thank God that these cuppies and Susanne's awesome Little Miss Sunshine cake were well received!

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. .. you made me happy when skies are grey ...
    Thanks for bringing some cheerful sunshine on a Monday blue, Phay Shing :D

    1. You are welcome Karen :). Hope you have a cheery week ahead!

  2. Hi is that sunflower mould a fondant mould?


    1. Hi Xuan,
      Yes the sunflower cutter is meant for fondant :)