Recipe: Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

I took a little time off from making, baking, and photographing to have a low-key weekend before I head to Chicago this week. Work has been intense lately. I'm adjusting to wanting to spend a lot of my time off with someone else. The weather has been starting to perk up. All in all I just needed a weekend to relax and not worry about baking. Getting back into the swing of things this weekend, I wanted to make something that used up things in my fridge/pantry. It's been a little while since I've baked cupcakes and I had a few oranges and blood oranges lingering in my fridge and these cupcakes were born. A standard cupcake with a few twists: orange zest, dark cocoa, and a tangy frosting.  

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes 

Yields 36 cupcakes

1 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed or Special Dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place liners in a cupcake pan.

Cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add zest of one orange and vanilla and mix together.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Add a third of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, add half the buttermilk, another third of dry, the other half of the buttermilk, and the last third of dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Spoon batter into the cupcake pan, filling each liner until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then cool completely before frosting.

ChocolateOrangeCupcakes-4.jpg

Orange Buttercream

1 stick butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 orange, zest and juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with confectioner's sugar, adding one cup at a time. Add vanilla and the zest of an orange. Juice the orange, strain it, and then add to the frosting one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistence. (I used 3-4 tablespoons) Beat on medium high for 3-4 minutes until frosting is light and airy.

Add to a pastry bag with a star tip and frost each cupcake in a circular motion. Top with an orange slice if desired. Serve immediately or store in an airtight cake carrier.