Preparing for our trip back to Ipoh, Malaysia for Chinese New Year, it dawned on me that I could bake at my parents’ house when we are not out visiting relatives or collecting angpows (red envelopes containing cash, given out to children or anyone younger than yourself as a blessing) for baby Mika.
Idea up my sleeve, I called up my mom to ask for her consent. Is that necessary? Of course! For sure you need permission to enter someone else’s arena to mess it up. To my mom, the kitchen is her equivalent to a guy’s den. She agreed to help me get some poppy seeds for my baking. Hooray! When I was living with my parents, I wouldn’t give poppy seeds a second of my time but now, it is the piece de resistance among all baking ingredients. Reason? It is banned in Singapore!
No, it is true. It is banned due to the morphine content found in the seeds. While it is not enough to make you high, you will be tested positive in a drug test. Unfortunately, poppy seeds are an ingredient called for in many citrus flavoured baked goods.
Thus, armed with my mom’s consent and help plus a small bag of poppy seeds, we are good to go.
Here is the adapted recipe which I found on the Internet from Martha Stewart’s page.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest, plus 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 oranges)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar (We used 1 1/4 cups instead. 1cup for the batter, 1/4cup for the orange juice mixture)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line 20 cups of two 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Stir together milk and 1/4 cup orange juice.
Beat butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and the orange zest with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in poppy seeds.
Divide batter among muffin tins (filling each cup two-thirds full). Bake until golden around the edges, 18 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/4 cup orange juice and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let stand until ready to use. (Note: We boiled it a bit longer until it reduced slightly to the consistency of a thin jam)
Brush warm cupcakes with half the orange juice mixture. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes.
Brush cupcakes again with remaining orange juice mixture, and let cool completely.
(Note: In the original recipe, it had called for buttercream frosting. However, for us, a coating of orange glaze was more than enough.)
While I do not have any pictures to share as they were all gobbled up soon after, I can describe them to you per my memory. The results were the most light and fluffy cupcakes. It was almost milky. They looked rather dainty in their light golden hue with little black dots scattered loosely around. The orange glaze coating had left them glistening in full golden glory.
As you bite into it, your teeth will crunch into the poppy seeds ever so lightly. The cupcake had an orangy yet milky flavour. The texture was soft and light. It was such a delight with every mouthful that one cupcake was not enough…