Recipe courtesy of Mariel Williams and Jenny Harrison

The Absurdist (Fruit and Cheese Platter Cupcakes)

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 18 to 19 cupcakes
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2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

3 eggs

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Brown Sugar Fig Sauce, recipe follows

Honey Goat Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Brown Sugar Fig Sauce:

1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar

1/2 cup water

8 black figs, trimmed and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Honey Goat Cheese Frosting:

10 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 18 to 19 cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest in a medium bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the eggs, orange juice, butter, and vegetable oil on medium speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed, and add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mix until just combined.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  5. To assemble: Peel the cupcake away from its liner, and place upside down on the top of a new, fresh liner. The narrow end of the cupcake should be facing up at this point. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Brown Sugar Fig Sauce on top of each cupcake, allowing the sauce and figs to drip down the sides. Fill a piping bag equipped with a star tip with the Honey Goat Cheese Frosting, and pipe stars on the top of each cupcake. Sprinkle the tops of the cupcakes with the Parmesan.

Brown Sugar Fig Sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the brown sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the figs, butter, and orange zest, and heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool.

Honey Goat Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the goat cheese, cream cheese, and butter on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, and gradually add the powdered sugar until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add the honey and beat until incorporated.

Cook’s Note

For an extra fun touch, place a small piece of fruit on a decorative toothpick and place in the top of the cupcake.

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