Tangerine Spice Cupcakes

Ted’s birthday came around once again and we settled on this tangerine scented spice goodie for dessert.

Tangerine Spice Cupcakes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. tangerine oil


  1. Arrange oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 12-cup muffin trays with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, soda, powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
  3. Combine the butter, shortening and sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat for ~2 minutes until combined and fluffy.
  4. Add the water, eggs, vanilla and tangerine oil to the mixer bowl. Beat on low until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and scrap sides. Give the batter a final mix by hand to make sure any stray flour is incorporated.
  6. Use a disher to fill the cupcake liners.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes on the same oven rack, rotating the pans and swapping sides half way through backing. Test with a toothpick at the end of baking; it should come out clean if inserted in the center of a cupcake.

Tangerine oil can be found online or as part of a set in specialty cooking gear stores such as Sur La Table. A little bit goes a long way.

This recipe is based on a sour cream spice cake from an old Betty Crocker cookbook I received when I first moved out on my own. I’ve tweaked the ingredient list, reordered it to match how I prepare the batter and rewritten the “dump everything and mix” instructions.

After cooling completely I covered these with my simple buttercream frosting.  I added 1/4 tsp. orange oil to the frosting.  I topped about half of them with Ted’s candied tangelo peel.

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