Pomander Cupcakes



I didn’t care much for citrus as a child.

I knew that this wasn’t a super popular or healthy opinion, and that I would probably never grow up to win the Miss Florida or Miss Orange County crowns, but I still stuck to my guns and avoided oranges, grapefruits, et. al. like the plague.

Pomander Cupcakes: Orange, Buttermilk & Clove

The irony of this perspective is that one of my most beloved crafting activities with my mother was to make pomanders out of oranges and whole, dried cloves.

Pomander Cupcakes: Orange, Buttermilk & Clove

The warm, spicy fragrance of the cloves mixed with the sweet, fresh smell of the orange rinds was absolutely intoxicating, and it only got better with time.

Now that I am older and live in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, I have been forced to make peace with citrus. It’s either that, or holing up in my house for the entire winter season, since the gorgeous, ripe, fragrant fruits are literally everywhere you look. Little juicy orbs, just begging for us to make up and be friends. I can’t resist.

But the relationship is new so I wanted to take it slow, which is why I started with these cupcakes.

Pomander Cupcakes: Orange, Buttermilk & Clove

And man oh man was I glad that I did:   these little gems smell sweet and warm, and the slight tang of the buttermilk, which produces a nice, dense crumb, works beautifully with the tart orange juice and zest. A very happy ending, indeed.

Now I just need to determine if it’s too late for me to work my way into a Miss Florida sash.

Pomander Cupcakes: Orange, Buttermilk & Clove

Pomander Cupcakes: Orange, Buttermilk & Clove

Meagan Micozzi bakes with indigenous ingredients to the American Southwest and blogs about her recipes at Scarletta Bakes. She’s a new contributor to Eat Boutique, and took all the photos in this post. Please give her a warm welcome in the comments!

Pomander Cupcakes

Makes: 20 frosted cupcakes


For the Cupcakes
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. white sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1 c. orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For the Frosting
  • 2 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. shortening, softened
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. clove, ground
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • orange zest for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Once wet and dry ingredients have blended, add in fruit juice and zest, beating until just incorporated into a smooth batter.
  4. Fill each lined cupcake well 3/4 of the way full. Bake cupcakes for approximately 22 minutes, or until the cakes bounce back slightly when pressed with a moist finger. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Meanwhile, combine all frosting ingredients except heavy cream in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add heavy cream and beat until just incorporated. Frost tops of cooled cupcakes generously with prepared frosting. Sprinkle orange zest on cake tops to finish.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique​–​a food​-​retail concept space ​with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.

Follow Eat Boutique’s founder Maggie here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Follow Eat Boutique here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.


  • Tes

    Using cloves in dessert is really new to me but it sounds so interesting. The cloves must adds the wondeful aroma to these cupcakes 🙂

  • Love your post: the photos and recipe sound gorgeous. Makes me think of when we were kids and we used to fight for the red or purple sweets, never the yellow or orange! 😉

  • I love how they look so handmade, with all that zest, and the touch of clove/nutmeg in the icing. So clever.

  • What a gorgeous post. I want these NOW! How do you think they’d ship from Arizona? Hm. I think I see a weekend baking project in my future.

  • This looks lovely and I can only imagine the smell when they’re baking. Welcome as a new contributor. Incidentally, I’m a new reader and how nice to see you’re partnered with the HIP blog, where a good friend of mine has contributed before. Really is a small world.

  • What an amzing combination of flavours. They look just delicious!

  • I don’t think I’ve ever had a pomander, I’ll have to keep my eyes open at the store! Beautiful pictures!

  • Beautiful pictures and great flavor combo!

  • Becky

    Your cupcakes are gorgeous. and I love the spices in the frosting and all of the orange zest in the cupcakes.. Beautiful pics

  • They look so pretty and I’m sure flavors are awesome. Love orange!

  • Admiring from afar…

    beautiful, just beautiful….great recipe…thank you for sharing …..

  • Your photos are beautiful! And I’m happy you’ve made your peace with citrus because a pomander is such a great inspiration for a cupcake – never thought of that before 🙂

  • These cupcakes look amazing! Love the flavors and your photos too!

  • What’s a pomander!?

  • www.OurEyesEatFirst.com

    looks delish – its actually reminded me of the chai i make sometimes with orange pekoe tea and cloves.

  • Tes: The cloves really do smell wonderful

  • Kita

    I haven’t grown a love for citrus yet. But these cupcakes do look great. Im working it in in small doses to try to learn to like it! Soon *fingers crossed*

  • Sprinkledwithflour

    The flavors in this sound absolutely delicious! I love anything citrus flavored, so these cupcakes are right up my alley:)

  • Sprinkledwithflour

    The flavors in this sound absolutely delicious! I love anything citrus flavored, so these cupcakes are right up my alley:)

  • Pingback: Meyer Lemon Curd, from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table()

  • Pingback: Mixed Berry Crostata: Messy, Easy & Delicious()

  • Pingback: Early Spring Preserving: Rhubarb Jam & Simple Syrup()

  • Pingback: HiP Paris Blog » Meyer Lemon Curd, from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table()