Image of Sandro on his book cover

Sandro Farmhouse’s orange crème brûlèe

Great British Bake off finalist, Sandro Farmhouse, has shared his showstopping orange crème brûlèe cupcakes with us.

Orange crème brûlée cupcakes

“I’m actually obsessed with these cupcakes. The orange flavour coming from the sponge paired with the custard frosting and caramelized top is everything.”

Makes 12 


For the sponge:  

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 175g (3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) caster sugar 
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 175g (1 1/3 cups) self-raising flour 

To decorate:  

  • 200g (1 cup) golden caster sugar 
  • 1 batch of thick vanilla pastry cream (see below) 
  • Grated zest of 1 orange (optional 

Vanilla pastry cream: 

  • 550ml (2 1/4 cups) whole milk 
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar 
  • 40g (1/4 cup) cornflour 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste 
  • 4 large egg yolks 
  • 55g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cubed (optional) 


  • 12-hole cupcake tin, lined with cases 
  • Baking sheet, lined with a silicone mat 
  • Piping bag 
  • Large round nozzle 


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4)
  2. Beat together the butter, sugar, and orange zest until super light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then fold in the flour in 2 halves. Squeeze in half the orange juice (save the other half for the brûlée shards) and then divide the mixture amongst the 12 cupcake cases
  4. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
  5. To make the brûlée shards for the decoration, add the golden caster sugar to a small frying pan or saucepan and squeeze in the remaining orange juice. Swirl around over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then turn the heat up to medium and let the caramel bubble until it’s turned a darker golden colour. Keep going until you can smell a near-to-burnt sugar smell, and then pour out immediately onto the silicone-lined baking sheet

Remember: brûlée means burnt, so you do want a slightly smoky flavour here! Leave to harden for 15 minutes and then snap into 12 shards 

  1. Whip up the pastry cream (instructions below), adding the orange zest if using, and pop into a piping bag with a large round nozzle
  2. Pipe a circle of pastry cream onto each cupcake and then stick a brûlée shard in each one just before serving


Method for pastry cream 

  1. Heat the milk in a pan over a medium heat until just below boiling
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, cornflour, vanilla paste, and egg yolks together until slightly thickened. Slowly pour over the hot milk and whisk until combine
  3. Pour back into the pan and whisk until bubbling. Cook for a couple of minutes until you can no longer taste the cornflour and the mixture has thickened. Whisk through the butter for an extra rich taste
  4. Pour into a bowl (or tray to cool quickly). Cover with cling film, let cool to room temperature, then chill for 3 to 4 hours to thicken


NB: For thicker vanilla pastry cream, reduce the sugar to 85g (61/2 tablespoons) and increase the cornflour to 50g (scant 1/3 cup) 

Good Vibes Baking front cover

Credit: Good Vibes Baking Sandro Farmhouse. Published by DK, 23 May. £20 

Photography © Liz Haarala Hamilton and Max Haarala Hamilton 2024.jpg 

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