David Rash’s Orange & Honey Cupcakes with Sweet Ricotta Frosting entry in the Sue Bee Honey Sweet Eats Recipe Contest!

Orange and Honey Cupcakes With Sweet Ricotta Frosting
Yields 24
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For the cake
  1. 1/4 cup Sue Bee® Clover Honey
  2. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  3. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 1/4 cup milk
  6. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 2 1/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons flour
  8. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  9. Pinch of salt
  10. 1 teaspoon orange zest
  11. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the icing
  1. 1/4 cup Sue Bee Clover Honey
  2. 2 cups ricotta, preferably whole milk
  3. 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  6. 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  7. 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted and cooled, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Begin with the icing. In a standup mixer, whisk together the ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla until combined. Turn mixer off.
  2. Pour in the cream then turn mixer on low to incorporate it into the ricotta before turning it on full speed and whipping it for about 3 minutes and it is puffy.
  3. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth (or damp paper towel) and place in a bowl in which the bottom of the sieve won’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Pour the ricotta mixture into the prepared sieve, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 24 hours.
  5. Once all the water and whey have drained out of the frosting, discard it and turn out the ricotta mixture into a bowl.
  6. Beat in the softened butter and the Sue Bee Honey and refrigerate until the cupcakes are ready.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a standup mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and puffy.
  8. Add in the Sue Bee Honey and orange zest and beat until well-combined.
  9. Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing the first to completely incorporate before adding the second.
  10. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and the milk and vanilla in a liquid measuring dish.
  11. Add the dry and wet ingredients, alternately in thirds, starting with the dry and ending with the wet. Mix until just combined.
  12. Portion the batter into 24 paper-lined cupcake tin in 1/4 cup amounts and bake 15-18 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before removing them to completely cool on a wire cooling wrack. Once completely cooled, frost with the icing and top with the pine nuts.
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