Dark chocolate cupcakes are taken up a notch with the addition of fresh orange zest and topped with a rich chocolate orange frosting.
We’re officially in midwinter and that means it’s citrus season! This is one part of winter that I love. All our favorite citrus fruits are not only at their prime in juiciness and deliciousness, but are also available at the best prices right now. I always buy a hefty bunch of oranges with the intentions of eating them fresh. And we do eat some…but they always end up getting baked into blog goodies as well. I love the combination of chocolate and orange and it’s a theme you’ll find popping up around here. Chocolate orange shortbread cookies, chocolate orange donuts, and more to come I’m sure.
Well, this Christmas I ended up without a single Terry’s chocolate orange. In fact, there was only one place in my town selling them this year and they sold out which lead to a frantic phone call to my mother to see if she could pretty please search for Terry’s chocolate oranges where she lives because Santa always brings chocolate oranges. She was able to find only enough for my kids. They were the last ones on the shelf.
To cure my chocolate orange craving, I’ve made chocolate orange cupcakes! (Please don’t mind the Halloween wrappers. As I was looking through the cupboard I thought the package of wrappers was black with orange polka dots. I was wrong and now I’m the goober with Halloween wrappers on my cupcakes in January.)
These cupcakes are so deliciously dark and chocolaty, with a hint of orange and topped with a rich chocolate orange frosting. Forget the kiddo cupcakes, these are the ones you’re going to want for your birthday! Deliciously dark and decadent, these really are a treat. And it’s so easy to make them look fancy. Just sprinkle a little grated orange zest over the tops along with some chocolate curls. If you’re feeling really fancy, press a piece of Hershey’s bar or a segment of Terry’s chocolate orange into the tops. Presto! People will think you’re a baking wonder.
Chocolate orange cupcakes don’t require too many fancy ingredients, but you will need orange extract, which you can usually find in the baking aisle of the grocery. The two brands available most commonly in my area are Goodman’s and Watkins, which are both good. Just make sure when you’re buying extracts and flavorings to get ones that are pure and not imitation.
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
Chocolate orange cupcakes so dark and chocolatey, with a hint of orange and topped with a rich chocolate orange frosting.
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
- 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange zest
- 1 cup hot water
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Orange Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter softened to room temperature
- 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate melted
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare your baking tin with the cupcake wrappers.
In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and orange zest. Lightly stir and set aside.
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the hot water and cocoa. Whisk together until all the cocoa has dissolved in the water and set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the cocoa, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix or your cupcakes will be less tender.
Fill each cup 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20- 25 minutes or until the cakes spring back when touched. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
For the Frosting
Combine the softened butter and melted chocolate. Beat in the confectioners sugar. Then add the vanilla extract, orange extract and cream. Beat until it is a spreadable consistency. You may need a little more or less cream depending on your preferences.
Pipe or spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.
Suggestions for garnishing your cupcakes:
- fresh grated orange zest
- chocolate curls
- a piece of Hershey's bar
- a segment of Terry's chocolate orange