Kumquats I think are a bit like marmite, you either love them or either. I read  recently that someone had described that as excitingly tangy and now above thirty i would agree. But if you had asked what i thought they tasted like fifteen years ago, i would have said bitter and unpleasant. On reflection i hadn’t appreciated their true offerings. 

So when i got given a bunch with some oranges a couple of years ago I stood in my kitchen at a bit of  a loss. I considered trying to recreate a dish that I ate in a downtown restaurant in LA where a brisket had been slow cooked with kumquats, but I just couldn’t be arssed to go buy a brisket, so the only option was to bake – and this recipe was born. I think candying the kumquats brings out their unique citrus flavour. 

Now dependent on where you are in the world reading this post kumquats may not be season, so save this recipe in a safe place until they are. Happy baking!!!


(Makes about 25-30 cupcakes)


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup/ 226g of unsalted butter
  • 2 cup /400gof granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups/ 500g of self raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup / 62.5ml of milk
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml of orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon orange zest


  • 1 cup/ 200g caster sugar sugar
  • ¼ cup / 28g butter
  • 20 kumquats halved
  • 1 1/2 block cream cheese
  • 93,75/ ¾ cup icing / powdered sugar
  • 3 cups / 750ml water
  • ¼ cup orange juice


For the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and have all ingredients at room temperature. Also have your cupcake liners and pans ready. If you forgot to take out the eggs to have them reach room temperature, place the eggs in a small bowl and cover with hot tap water

Beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients again. Combine the milk with the orange juice. Pour half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then half of the milk mixture. Repeat. Mix well.

Add in the zest to the batter and mix until combined.

For the frosting. Heat caramel in pan over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve and bubble, till it starts to turn dark brown.  Slowly add knobs of butter dissolve into the caramel. Once all the butter has dissolved, add in the orange juice, kumquats and water. Turn the heat down and allow the caramel to slowly bubbles for 20 – 30 minutes, until the kumquats turn opaque.  Remove the kumquats from the caramel and reserve.

In the mean time take the cream cheese and place in a bowl or stand mixer. Add in the powdered sugar and drizzle in half the caramel. Mix well until the frosting is smooth and creamy. You may need to add in more powdered sugar or caramel according to the taste.

Pipe the frosting onto each cooled cupcake and top with a kumquat.

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