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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

by Nick Makrides
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes photograph

Dive into one of the best flavor combos ever with these Chocolate Orange Cupcakes! It starts off with a orange infused vanilla cupcake and a chocolate sauce center. Topped with a tall swirl of fluffy chocolate buttercream and a chocolate coated candied orange slice. Perfect for those chocolate orange flavor combo enthusiasts!

Chocolate Orange Cupcake sliced in half with chocolate sauce centre

My favourite thing about these cupcakes is just how easy they are to make! Sure, they take a little bit of time, and a little planning ahead, but they make the most delicious weekend baking project. Ready for you to waltz into work on Monday morning and save everyone from the Monday blues!

Close up of chocolate orange cupcake

What do these cupcakes taste like?

I love the candied oranges. They’re really delicious. If you love orange and chocolate together, I mean it doesn’t get any better than this! They’re slightly chewy. Not, rip your teeth out chewy, but there’s a bite to them. I wouldn’t say they’re bitter either, even though there’s the white part of the rind still on them.

After they’ve had a good soak and simmer in the orange syrup for 40 minutes, you’re left with the most delicious, aromatic orange experience. Once they’re cooked and cooled, they kind of set like hard candy but after an hour, they go a little softer.

Let’s talk cupcakes, because this recipe is made up of my famous vanilla cupcake recipe, and it’s amazing! Moist, fluffy and full of flavour. This recipe has Greek yogurt which doesn’t add flavour, but boy does it make these cupcakes moist! I’ve also infused them with a little orange juice and plenty of orange zest which compliments the orange slices on top.

The fluffy chocolate frosting is a delight, and the chocolate sauce centre is welcomed. As is the chocolate drizzle o top which gives these delightful cupcakes a visually dramatic effect.

What you need for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Candied Orange Slices

Oranges – I used regular navel oranges. For the top of the cupcakes I tried selecting medium to smaller sized oranges. It just visually looks better. For the rest of the recipe, the syrup for the oranges and the zest and juice for the cupcakes, any size is ok. You also want to make sure you wash the oranges and dry them before zesting them and using them for the candied oranges.

Water & Sugar – I use granulated sugar to make the syrup.

Dark Chocolate – My go to for regular baking recipes is Nestlé chocolate buttons. You can find them in the baking section of your supermarket.

Cupcakes

Butter – I use regular unsalted butter for this recipe. If you’re going to use salted butter, just leave out the salt in the recipe. You want to make sure the butter is softened before using. It’ll make the creaming process much easier and help trap more air which helps these cupcakes rise. The best temperature is 18°C/64°F.

Caster sugar – When making cakes I tend to use caster sugar as it results in a finer crumb and mixes into the batter much easier. Caster sugar is finer than granulated sugar but not as fine as powdered sugar.

Eggs – for this recipe I used one large egg. About 55g. You want to make sure the egg is at room temperature.

Salt – I used pink Himalayan salt. Fine salt would work for this recipe. I use the pink kind because it looks better in the videos.

Greek yogurt – I use Greek yogurt in this recipe because it helps make them moist. They stay moist for longer too. You can’t taste the yogurt, but it makes a huge difference in the longevity of the cupcakes. An alternative to the Greek yogurt is sour cream. You can leave it out altogether if you wish.

Vanilla extract – I would recommend using pure vanilla extract for this recipe. It just tastes better. Avoid using imitation vanilla as it doesn’t really add enough flavour for the amount you need to use.

All-purpose flour – I used regular plain/all-purpose flour.

Milk – I used full cream milk. Make sure your milk is at room temperature. If it’s come straight out of the fridge just buzz it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to get it to the right temperature.

Vegetable oil – this is regular vegetable oil. You can use sunflower oil in it’s place. I would avoid heavy oils like olive oil. The oil is used to add moisture to the cupcake.

Frosting

Chocolate and heavy cream – we’re essentially creating a ganache for the frosting to make sure that once we’ve made it we can easily flavour it with chocolate that will mix in properly. The cream has 30% fat content which is needed for this recipe and the chocolate is the Nestle baking buttons.

Powdered/Icing Sugar – I used regular powdered sugar. You can use pure icing sugar (no corn starch added) or soft icing sugar (with corn starch). If you’re using pure icing sugar, then you’ll need to sift it into the frosting.

Chocolate Sauce

Dark Chocolate, heavy cream and butter – same as above!

How to make the Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Step By Step to making candied oranges

Candied Oranges

1. To make the syrup, simply add the sugar and water to a wide and deep frypan. Add a little orange juice for added flavour. This also helps stop the sugar from crystalising.

2. Once it comes to a gentle simmer, add the sliced oranges. I used a mandolin for this. But you can just carefully slice them with a sharp knife. You want them to be about 5mm thin. Not quite paper thin, but not too thick either. Let them simmer for 30-40 minutes on low heat. Take special care to not let the syrup brown. The aim here is to let the orange slices soak in the syrup to help preserve them.

3. Once they’ve had a good soak transfer them to a cooling rack and let them set (harden) at room temperature. See my tips and tricks section for ways to make these extra crispy!

4. Let them cool before coating in melted chocolate. I used tongs to help me do this. Then I placed them on a baking tray lined with baking paper to let them set before using. By the way, these are great on their own minus the cupcakes and make really delicious gifts!

Cupcakes

Step By Step to making Orange Cupcakes

1. Creaming the butter and sugar is easy. Simply add your softened butter to a large mixing bowl along with the sugar and use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle to beat for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy. This is one of the steps that helps trap air in the batter to make your cupcakes rise and is really important.

2. Next you want to add the egg and beat that in until it’s well combined. A habit you should always get into when adding ingredients to your mixing bowl, whether you’re making batter or frosting is to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. It helps ensure everything mixes in properly.

3. Add the salt, Greek yogurt, oil and vanilla. Ordinarily I would just add the salt in with the dry ingredients and you can do that, it really doesn’t matter if you add it now or later, but I like to give it a head start. The Greek yogurt vanilla extract go in here too to help the mixture becomes a little more wet before we dump in dry ingredients. The oil and yogurt help make these cupcakes super delicious and moist!

4. Add half the flour and milk and mix until well combined. Then add the rest and repeat. Doing it half at a time just helps things mix in better. But just take care not to over mix your batter.

5. Add orange zest and juice as a last step and fold in to finish your batter.

6. Time to bake! Line your cupcake tin with white cupcake liners. I used greaseproof ones. They’re easier to line the cupcake tin with. Fill your cupcake liners with the batter. I use an ice cream scoop which make this a much easier process and ensures everything is filled with the same amount of batter which means every cupcake bakes at the same time. Fill your cupcakes liners 3/4 of the way. Bake the cupcakes in the middle rack to make sure they bake evenly

How to make chocolate sauce

Chocolate sauce

1. Simply add all of the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and then microwave for 30 seconds at a time, then stir each time. It will take about 3-4 minutes to become perfectly silky smooth. The alternative to this is to use a double boiler. Place in a heatproof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and stir until smooth. The aim is to gently and slowly heat the ingredients and mix until smooth and combined.

Step By Step to making Chocolate Buttercream

Frosting

1. Let’s make ganache! Add the chocolate and cream to a heatproof bowl and melt the same way as the chocolate sauce. Allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer to beat for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Just a side note, this is how I get super white buttercream frosting. It’s all dependant on how much you mix the butter at this stage.

3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat in. But! Scrape down the bowl first! Always scrape down the bowl when adding new ingredients.

4. Add the chocolate ganache, which should be cool enough not to melt your frosting. Mix until well combined. You’ll be left with super delicious chocolate buttercream!
Step By Step to decorating Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Assembly – let’s put it all together!

1. Core the centre of each cupcake using an apple corer or the end of a piping tip and fill with chocolate sauce.

2. Time to frost! Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with an open star tip. You can use any tip you like. Although I’d avoid using a round tip with chocolate frosting otherwise you’ll end up with something that looks a lot like the poop emoji.

3. Drizzle with chocolate sauce. It’ll look a little messy, but I find it you pop your cupcakes on a cooling rack when decorating and drizzling them the chocolate drips off which helps you avoid a pool of chocolate sauce at the bottom of your cupcakes.

4. Finish them with the orange slices and serve!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you guys enjoyed this simple but delicious recipe with me. Please comment in the comments section below, or feel free to share with your family and friends on social media. I’ll see you all on the following recipe. Happy baking!

N x

 

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes photograph

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Serves 12

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 30 mins
30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Candied Orange Slices

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1 orange medium
  • 1 cup dark chocolate melted

Cupcakes

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 cup dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


Instructions

Candied Orange Slices

  • Add sugar, water and orange juice to a large and deep frypan and bring to a boil. Thinly slice the oranges using a mandolin or a sharp knife. About 5mm thin. Place the orange slices in the frypan. Allow to simmer away for 30-40 minutes then use tongs to take out of the frypan and place on a cooling rack or baking tray lined with baking paper. Allow to cool.
  • To coat, simply dip half of each orange slice in melted dark chocolate. Place bag on a baking tray and allow the chocolate to set.

Cupcakes

  • Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C / 275° for a conventional oven to 160°C / 320°F. Line two cupcake tins with white cupcake liners.
  • Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Use electric beaters to beat until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg. Beat until well combined.
  • Add the salt, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract and beat in. Scrape the bowl down and add half the flour, all the baking powder, oil and half the milk. Mix on low speed until well combined. Then add the remaining milk and flour and repeat. Lastly, add the orange zest and orange juice and fold through using a spatula.
  • Line a cupcake baking tray with cupcake liners. Fill cupcake liners with batter, about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Sauce

  • Add all the ingredients to a heat proof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time until smooth.Allow to cool to room temperature before using.=

Chocolate Buttercream

  • Add the chocolate and heavy cream to a medium sized heatproof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until smooth. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
  • To a separate, large bowl, add the butter and use an electric hand mixer to beat until pale and fluffy. About 3 minutes.Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Begin beating on low speed until sugar is mixed. Turn mixer to high speed and beat for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl using a spatula and add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat in until well combined.

Assembly

  • Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with an open star tip. Core the center of each cupcake and fill with chocolate sauce. Frost each cupcake with a swirl. Drizzle with more chocolate sauce and finish with a slice of candied orange.

Notes

Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. They’re quite tall, so you can store them in a container, frosted, without the candied oranges and pop the orange slices on before serving.

Nutrition

Calories : 798kcal
Carbonhydrates: 79g
Protein: 7g
Fat: 51g
Saturated Fat: 32g
Trans Fat : 1g
Cholesterol: 79mg
Sodium: 198mg
Potassium : 385mg
Fiber: 6g
Sugar : 48g
Vitamin A: 924IU
Vitamin C: 6mg
Calcium: 105mg
Iron: 7mg
Nutrition Disclosure

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