If you don’t know whether you’ll enjoy the subtle flavor of olive oil in a sweet thing, give these a try! I was surprised how much I liked these! They are easy to make, too.
I think what I enjoy most is that they are oh-so subtley different from plain ol’ vanilla cupcakes. I mean, these ARE vanilla cupcakes, but there is that somewhat fruity hint of extra virgin olive oil. You may miss detecting it, if you are not paying attention. It’s a subtle difference.
I also love how the batter comes together a lot more quickly because the oil is not solid, like butter at room temperature. I love how, when blending in the eggs, the batter turns into what looks almost exactly like lemon curd! A small thing, I know, but something that I look forward to, every time I make oil-based cakes.
On deciding on a frosting, I grew tired of many standard recipes online calling for 4 cups of confectioners sugar. I think 4 cups of confectioners sugar is just too much. I mean, it’s fine if you are just looking for a simple, sweet frosting. It makes it hard to taste anything else, though. Definitely not for appreciating the flavor of mascarpone cheese.
This mascarpone frosting is not too sweet, with just one cup of confectioners sugar. I melted and cooled a little over 4 ounces of chopped up white chocolate, and added it to the frosting for a more subtle sweetness and texture. If even this is too sweet for you, you can also just add more white chocolate, and scrap the confectioners sugar altogether. I think the white chocolate really complements the olive oil flavor without overpowering it. If you don’t have mascarpone cheese, cream cheese can still work, it’ll just be more tangy.
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line 12 cupcake pan with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift the first four ingredients, then stir with a whisk to ensure that all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
In another bowl, add the oil and sugar, and blend with a hand held until thoroughly mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending again with a hand held mixer. It should look a bit like lemon curd.
Add the vanilla and mix again.
Alternating with the flour mixture and sour cream, add a small portion of each, mixing between additions, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You should be mixing in three portions of the flour mixture with two portions of the sour cream, ending with the flour mixture.
Divide batter into 12 cupcake molds. These create quite a dome, so if you prefer your cupcakes to not be too tall, you can actually spread out the batter among 14-16 molds. But I prefer my cupcakes and muffins to have a huge top, or at least slightly above the level of the paper liner.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes, more or less. Ovens vary, so start observing them at 18 minutes.
8 ounces (two sticks of unsalted butter), room temperature
1 cup of sifted confectioners sugar
4.4 ounces of chopped up white chocolate, melted in a bain marie, and cooled, but still slightly warm
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour about a third of the melted white chocolate, blend, then add about a third of the mascarpone. Repeat this a couple of times, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the vanilla extract and blend again. Try not to over blend. If frosting looks too liquid, put in the fridge until it is a more spreadable consistency, because that’ll mean it is a more pipeable consistency. Pipe the frosting using a star tip, 1M or 2D, if you want it to look like what I did here. Start from center of cupcake on top and just pipe around until you reach the edges, then go back to the center to “top it off”. Or, better yet, just experiment a little with your own technique, you can always scrape the frosting back into the bowl and start over. Nonpareils optional.