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Orange Cupcakes - how to use OJ for flavor?

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Hello all,

I have a go-to lemon cupcake recipe from the June 2006 Bon Appetit that I've successfully adapted into a number of different recipes - the original calls for 3/4c buttermilk, 1/2c lemon juice, and 1/4c lemon zest.

(The best adaptation thus far involved using sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice & zest. Mmm!)

My wife loves orange things, and I would like to adapt the recipe for said purpose, but I'm afraid that fresh orange juice this time of year would be too watery - and for that matter, even good quality carton stuff might still be too weak.

Does anyone have any experience using OJ as a flavor in cake batter? Should I buy fresh/carton and reduce it down to strengthen the flavor, or would I be better off buying frozen condensed OJ? My only real goal is to avoid using extract - while I do actually like the flavor of orange candy, it tastes nothing like oranges. :P

Thanks!

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  1. i'd use frozen concentrate, but since lemon & lime juice are more potent than OJ, you might want to leave it a bit more concentrated to get the same level of flavor you've had in the other versions...maybe cut down slightly (25%?) on the amount of water you'd use to dilute it for drinking. also, you'll still want to use the zest if you can find decent fresh oranges, because it contributes a different, more floral flavor than the juice does. worst-case scenario you can try to find orange oil, which is NOT extract, it's the natural oil distilled from the zest.

    1. You'll need the juice for liquid in your recipe, and the zest, but you might want to investigate essential orange oil. It's not extract but pure oil from the rind. Boyajian is one brand. I think Amazon carries it. It's very concentrated, so use it sparingly, but it's a terrific product. Also comes in lemon and lime.