Orange Marmalade Cupcakes

I’ve heard before that one could get lost in the world wide web. That this vast and amoral thing we call the internet is an easy hiding place. Identities are falsely created. Anyone can be someone they are not, living in a world that is not.

Such deeply sociological, hard-hitting news is why you visit my site, I know.
Which is why I shall devote this post to a segment of BREAKING NEWS.
(And, for added measure, a chatty narrative.)
Consider it a five o’clock news segment with your storytelling grandmama as the anchor…

You may recall I posted my Mitford list last week. It was just a quick sharing of likes and dislikes, as inspired by one of author Jan Karon’s beloved Mitford characters, Cynthia.

That afternoon, I recieved a lovely little comment from Marti who wrote:

Brooke, it’s so funny that I clicked on your blog (from Foodgawker) at this particular time. You’ll have to check out mine… it’s got a mention of Jan Karon’s books, too. I’m so glad to see another fan. :)

Well, I was just plum tickled at the serendipity.
Whatever would inspire both she and I to post about the same book on the same week? I simply HAD to see.

I buzzed over to her site, read her beautifully crafted post, said a hello via comment and went about my merry day. Who’d have ever guessed (EVER GUESSED?!) what would happen next?

Can you?

Can you guess?!

Oh, heck. Here you are for up-to-the-minute news and I’m trying to lead you on. Allright, I’ll tell.

What happened next is later that day, another comment arrived, this one from DWright…

Jan Karon enjoyed your comments about the Mitford books. Jan invited you to visit her website at

Boy. I got a good chuckle out of that one. Jan Karon. Reading my blog comments about her divine little world of books. I snorted heartily, then moved about my merry way. Though it wasn’t long before ANOTHER email arrived. Again, from Marti. Over on her blog, a similar comment had been left. You know, about how Jan Karon had been enjoying her post, too. Hmmmm. We pondered it. Perhaps Jan Karon had actually read our posts.

(I shall here mention that Marti is pretty much the essence of all that is cool. Living in D.C., anyone? News reporter for ABC, anyone? Sender of the worlds most fast and furiously hilarious emails, anyone? Love.her. She also keeps within her mind an incredible store of knowledge. Knowledge which, in our case, helped uncover the truth about the Jan Karon Incident. Clues left in the suspect comments led Marti to ascertain, quite certainly, that Jan Karon had indeed read over our mentions of Mitford. See how hard we work to bring pure, undiluted truth into the headlines of the blogosphere?)

I suppose the whole thing comes together in my mind as a chain of thought, which I dedicate to all of you out there, blogging away, mothering away, whiling away, wondering about the give and take in this wide world of ours. Trying to remember if what your doing matters to anyone. I hope you’ll take Me & Marti’s Parable of Marmalade to heart…

It was a cherished friend who, years ago, introduced me to Jan Karon’s Mitford series. Through Ms. Karon’s stories, I found a welcoming town, old-fashioned warmth and purity, a book full of new friends that felt, somehow, familiar.

Through Mitford, I found Cynthia. It was Cynthia’s character who inspired me to keep a list of likes and don’t likes. It was Cynthia’s letter to Father Tim that inspired me to unzip my soul and write with words that sing from the page. Before her, I wrote horibble things like, “Dear Diary, Today was a good day.”

Through Cynthia, I found Marti. I thank the happy heavens for that quirky post of mine which connected me Marti. Dear, wondrous Marti with whom a handful of emails have already passed. Who’d have guessed we’d share the same alma mater? Who’d have known she graduated in Broadcast Communications from BYU, the very same major I first declared as a freshman there? Dear, lovely Marti. A new friend, who lives a thousand-million miles away, yet who somehow, in the middle of this wildly woven web of the internet, feel like an old chum.

And then, there is the story of when Jan Karon found us.

It’s marvelous–isn’t it?!–how this great big place we call the world wide web can, at times, feel so much
…like Mitford.

Keep doing what you’re doing. You never know who you’ll find.

Or, who will find you.

Mitford Inspired Orange Marmalade Cupcakes

Esther Bolick, of the Mitford series, is known for her diabetic-coma-inducing Marmalade Layer cake, a recipe which Jan Karon has generously shared HERE. But, I have this thing for creating all my recipes from scratchity-scratch-scratch. And so, I set to work revamping this novelized classic in cupcake form. What came out of the oven (and quite promptly, went into our mouths) was a warm white cake with subtle flecks of familiar spices, a buttery whipped frosting, and a surprise dollop of marmalade at the bottom of the cupcake. My husband, who has firmly sworn off most preserves ate one of these cupcakes and asked for a second. Which is the very same thing I did after finishing Jan Karon’s first novel, At Home in Mitford. Thank goodness there’s a whole series (and a cookbook, AND a NEW book!) to devour.
1 egg
3 egg whites
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. white flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of cloves
vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from a single vanilla bean
1/2 cup milk

*1 cup of additional marmalade for filling the center of each cupcakes*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together eggs, sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and beat just until flour is incorporated. Spoon batter into cupcake liners, filling just the very bottom. Place a 1/2 teaspoon plop of marmalade on top, then fill remainder of cupcake cups with batter until they are about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or just until top of cupcakes spring back to the touch. Cool then frost.
Marshmallow-Marmalade Frosting
Marshmallow-Marmalade Buttercream
1/4 c. marmalade
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
2 sticks butter
1 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar

Read Marti’s phenomenally told take on our Mitford meeting HERE.
She is, after all, much more accustomed to this news reporting stuff than I. You’re going to simply adore her.

24 Responses to “Orange Marmalade Cupcakes”

  1. Scarehaircare says:

    I am making these this weekend (and won't they look pretty on my cupcake stand!) I found the Mitford books over a year ago and immediately had to order the Mitford Cookbook as soon as I found it. Doesn't everyone suffer from intense food cravings after reading a Mitford book?

  2. Visible Voice says:

    Too fun! And now I'd like some cupcakes for breakfast please.

  3. Anatomy of A Dinner Party says:

    How exciting! I am thrilled for you. And those cupcakes – swoon!

  4. Jamie says:

    You are just so adorable! Not only do you write a post about "you never know you you might find…", but you write this after you leave a comment on my own humble blog after I have been reading yours for…goodness…a long, long time! I only just finally realized I can easily follow blogs with one click of a button yesterday (shameful).

    Thank you for always sharing not only your wit, your family, your heart, but also your wonderful recipes. :)

  5. Tanya and Colin says:

    Those look devine!

  6. jeannie says:

    You really do have the most delightful blog. Those cupcakes look absolutely delicious…and I bet they do not have any calories either!

  7. Laraine Eddington says:

    I love Mitford, but the whole, huge marmalade cake did not appeal. The cupcakes on the other hand… Perhaps they are the "dessert that never fails."

  8. Clare says:

    I have always 'meant to' read the Mitford books but have never got around to it. I am now putting to the top of my to do list. Thank you for the inspiration and the recipe

  9. Kate says:

    Thanks for writing this post, Brooke. My blog is still pretty new and, currently, it's only read my mother, my fiance, one sister and a couple of girlfriends (although I have had one actual guest reader which was a treat!) Sometimes I feel like I'm just selling Girl Scout cookies, you know? So thanks for the reminder that sometimes a plan just comes together!


  10. Amy J in SC says:

    Whoa. This looks seriously good. Good enough for breakfast? I think so.

  11. Jill says:

    This is an interesting post…love the recipe.

  12. Kathy says:

    What I want to know is…how do you stay so skinny creating (and eating?) the many scrumptiously sounding goodies spotlighted in your blog!? I want to know the secret.

  13. Marti says:

    What I want to know relates to this:

    "Consider it a five o'clock news segment with your storytelling grandmama as the anchor…"

    Which one of us are you referring to as a storytelling grandmama?!!?

  14. apparentlyjessy says:

    Gosh I feel bad! I haven't visited you for ages, and now here I am, looking back at all the cool posts I missed! I love your new blog name and banner, you look so HOT in that photo shoot, so jealous you can eat lots of cupcakes and stay so slim!!
    Isn't the world a small place, especially so due to the internet!
    I love the look of your marmalade cupcakes, looks like such a light and fluffy cake! Yummo!

  15. Emie58 says:

    I just found your blog via "not martha" and I'm so glad I did. I've been reading your old post (it will take me some time to read them all) and I actually ordered the first Jan Karon book b/c you made it sound so good! I can't wait to try some of your recipes too.

  16. The Monkey House says:

    Yum!! I love your blog–I love Jan Karon's books! When I am feeling very stressed, I reread my Mitford series. I read very fast and never, ever keep books. I always give them to a friend or donate them to the public library…but my Mitford series stays in the house. It keeps me calm.

  17. Amanda says:

    What a great post, how fun that you two would find each other AND then your surprise visit to beat all! I must try these cupcakes too, they look incredible :)

  18. Jamica says:

    OH, BROOKE! I want YOU to write a book! I will be the first in line to buy one… actually, I will buy them ALL! I love reading your writings! If you don't have time to write a book right now, maybe I could just borrow your journal and read that?

  19. Anonymous says:

    How many cupcakes does this recipe make? Some us who are members of Jan Karon's website are wondering. If you post a reply here I'll place the answer on the thread there that raises this question.

  20. prashant says:

    How exciting! I am thrilled for you. And those cupcakes – swoon! Work From Home

  21. Tongue-N-Cheeky says:


    Thank you so much for your question! Thank you even more for being willing to spread the word on the Mitford message board. Do send my best to all those fellow Mitfordites. Whatever would we do without Jan's lovely books?!

    This recipe should make between 18-24 regular sized-cupcakes, depending on how full you fill the cupcake cups (and how much marmalade you plop inst their bottoms). Please feel free to send any other questions! It's a lovely little recipe and I'm tickled to share it.

    Happy Day!

  22. Rachel Boldman says:

    I just posted about Mitford, too!!!

    Rachel Boldman

  23. […] Cheeky Kitchen В» Orange Marmalade Cupcakes Oct 21, 2009 … Jan Karon enjoyed your comments about the Mitford books. Jan invited you to visit her website at … […]

  24. Thanks for the recipe, now I want to do it right now because my mouth is watering…

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