Perfectly fluffy muffins with a great scent and flavor of calamansi. It’s made even better by a lip-smacking glaze. Sometimes simple is all you need!
I feel like simplicity has become so underrated in this day and age. People seem to gravitate between hipster and over-the-top most of the time, and there’s this pressure for everyone to join in. I will admit that despite having a strong personality, I am not immune to these kinds of things. Making these Calamansi Muffins though, I am reminded that simple can work wonders too.
I can’t even remember the last time I made muffins. Since I began to become extra picky about the recipes I make, this is one of the things that seems to have taken the backseat. I had been attracted to the idea of these Calamansi Muffins for a while now, but I had always thought they might be a little “too simple”. But see, that’s actually the charm of these muffins: They give a punch that is a complete surprise considering how unassuming they look.
I first came across this recipe on Pepper.ph, as a hack for Boracay’s famous Calamansi Muffins from Real Coffee. I didn’t get to try it when I was in Boracay just recently, but that’s not really why I wanted to make these muffins. It’s because of this:
My parents have been growing a bunch of things in our terrace garden, among them a couple of calamansi plants. I was surprised when I first saw that the plants had began to bear these perfectly shaped fruit, and somehow I felt inspired by them. Calamansi is a pretty common fruit here in the Philippines, but there is something novel about using calamansi grown in your own backyard.
Granted, our plants didn’t have enough calamansi for this recipe. I ended up having to purchase more in a nearby market. I suppose at this point it begs the question: Can lemon be substituted in calamansi’s place? Calamansi tastes a little differently from lemon in the sense that it has sweet notes inside all that sour. Technically you can sub it in; however, I will encourage you to get your hands on calamansi. As the name suggests, this is a recipe for Calamansi Muffins after all.
I was pretty skeptical about making this recipe at first, to be honest. I haven’t had the best of luck with recipes from Pepper.ph and I was admittedly hesitant about this one. I think what sold me was the amount of calamansi juice used in the recipe. My number one concern– well aside from the muffins coming out fluffy of course– was whether or not the muffins would actually have a calamansi tang. Otherwise, it would have been pointless.
The reviews for this recipe on their site were encouraging, but I decided to make sure I would get the lip-smacking tang I always yearn for in desserts involving citrus. I decided I needed to add a glaze. It was the right decision. These were good calamansi without the glaze, but with it, these became addictive Calamansi Muffins, with a legit and delightful sweet-sour punch in every bite. You can’t stop at one.
I decided to make a video about these Calamansi Muffins, and in it you will see just how easy it is to make these on your own. I am experimenting on a new video style right now, and I really love how this one came out. Watch and enjoy! Also, I hope with the help of some tips I share below, you will try this recipe out. (Full instructions below!) I promise it is so easy; and if you love those citrusy, lip-puckering flavors in your baked goods, these won’t let you down!
There is really only one major concern when making muffins in general, and that is to avoid over-mixing your batter once you add the flour in. I decided to tweak the original recipe a little and add the flour gradually, in two batches, with the wet mixture in between. This way, I can work in the last portion of flour without having to mix so much. The internet says this method also helps produce a more tender crumb, and I do agree based on experience.
I’ve probably said this a million times already, but the danger of over-mixing is always that you end up with a hard muffin. You want something that’s light and fluffy, especially in this case, where that texture really complements the bright tangy flavors of the Calamansi Muffins. Resist the urge to keep mixing even when your batter is still very lumpy. That’s what you’re after: the point where everything is just mixed together.
Another thing: Do not fill your muffin cups all the way to the top. I like my muffins to rise just to the rim of the liners so I fill a little over 3/4 of the way full. If you fill the liners to the top, the muffins may rise to a point where there is no more paper holding its shape for support. It can spill out onto the tin, the oven floor, or maybe collapse on itself. We’re just making muffins here. Let’s not cause ourselves some grief.
I don’t know if my tips sound a little scarier than they are, but in muffin-making, it always helps to keep in mind two things: First, do not over-mix. Second, do not over-fill. I just really want you guys to make these amazing Calamansi Muffins, and make them well, so we can gush about them together. Absolutely DO NOT skip the glaze because it is the completing factor. (And it’s so easy, you have no excuse!)
Eating these always brings a smile to my face. 🙂
Calamansi Muffins with Tangy Glaze
For the muffins
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup calamansi juice
- ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
For the glaze
- 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons calamansi juice
Make the muffins
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line only 10 wells of a 12-cup muffin tin and pour a little bit of water in the empty wells. (The water is optional but this is just a precaution to help maintain your muffin tin and keep it from warping.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside. In a measuring glass or cup, whisk together calamansi juice and milk until well-combined; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until sugar is dissolved into the butter and mixture is light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well before each addition.
- Add in half the flour mixture and mix briefly. Follow with by the milk-calamansi mixture, mixing until the liquid is well-incorporated into the batter. (If the mixture curdles a bit, don't worry.)
- Finally, add in the last half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. (I use a folding motion to incorporate the batter in as few strokes as possible.) It's fine if there are still small streaks of flour on the batter. The batter should be lumpy.
- Divide evenly into the lined tin, filling a little over 3/4 of the way full. Bake in the oven for 18 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then place on a rack to cool completely.
Make the glaze
- Mix confectioner's sugar and calamansi juice together until smooth. You can use 2 Tablespoons of juice for a thicker glaze, but I use 3 Tablespoons because I want to get a full lip-smacking calamansi kick.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, place the cooling rack on top of a baking sheet to catch glaze drippings. Drizzle the glaze over the top if the muffins with a spoon in a criss-cross pattern. Let the glaze set for a few minutes, then enjoy!