I want to make some cupcakes. I want to flavour the body with orange and the top with peppermint (along some blue colouring). Would this work, on a taste level?

EDIT The reason why I am asking this is because I am allergic to egg and as such cannot taste to see if it works or not.

  • I have to vote to close as this is primarily an opinion based topic. You would be welcome, once you have more reputation, to come discuss it in chat. in the mean time, why not simply try it and see if you like it? – SAJ14SAJ Aug 2 '13 at 14:48
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    Because I am allergic to egg. As such, since I am using egg in the composition of the base of the cupcake and heavily in the icing on the top, I cannot taste it. As a result, I thought I would ask here, to see if anyone has any points for this combination or any points against it. Sorry for not mentioning that in the top post. – user19477 Aug 2 '13 at 14:52
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    You could always flavor something else with mint and orange to see how you like it ... but it's really tricky, as it might be that they might both be fine if one's mild, and horrible if they're strong. It even happens with single flavorings (eg, I think oregano tastes metallic in large amounts; basil starts tasting like black liquorice). Now if you had asked about cilantro and orange -- then I could tell you that it'd be foul, as you're using cilantro. – Joe Aug 2 '13 at 15:08
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    Sadly there are no flavour pairing databases freely available. I'll look it up to see whether The Flavor Bible mentions it when I get home, unless someone beats me to it. – Peter Taylor Aug 2 '13 at 15:48
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    Flavors are not completely subjective. There is a science of flavor pairing and I don't think this question is off topic at all. Do these specific flavors work together or not? Learning what flavors work is a Huge(tm) part of learning to cook. – Sobachatina Aug 2 '13 at 16:25

There are two main approaches to pairing: experience and (not always reliable, but sometimes surprising) chemical similarity.

On the experience side, The Flavor Bible's listing for "oranges – in general" lists "mint" as a very highly recommended pairing (level 3 of 4). However, on the reverse it lists "orange" only as suggested by a few experts as a pairing (level 1) for "mint – in general" – a surprising asymmetry. Orange isn't listed at all under the specific entry for peppermint.

The conclusion I would draw from that is that for your scenario in which orange is the base and peppermint is the highlight, it should work.

On the chemical side,

The main constituents [of peppermint oil] are identical in all oil varieties, but the relative ratios vary widely. Constituents include alpha- and beta-pinene, limonene, cineol, ethyl amylcarbinol, menthone, isomenthone menthofuran, menthol, neomenthol, isomenthol menthyl acetate and piperitone. The oil contains: menthone: 15 to 32%; esters (menthyl acetate) 3 to 10%; and menthol: 30.0 to 55.0%.

(Source: Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients). Of those at least the pinenes and limonene are also found in orange; they're chiral, and I don't know whether peppermint and orange have the same enantiomers, but the pairing looks plausible.

Both approaches look positive, so give it a go and post back when you have empirical evidence either way!

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