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.

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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.

Recipe: Oatmeal Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches

Sometimes you make some delicious chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for ice cream sammies and for some reason the ice cream you have on hand is a strange consistently (I think because it moved with me to my house?) and it melts all over the place.

Like all. over. the. place.

I'm talking I had melted ice cream all over my camera. My hands. The floor. two hours later when I was done taking these photos I looked in the mirror and had ice cream dried on my face. So moral of this story is to not try and move ice cream when you move houses. Just eat it before you go. Because ice cream should be treated with respect and dignity and not wasted. Moving on from this rant... Oatmeal Pumpkin Ice Cream Sammies for hard days.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes about a dozen sandwiches
Adapted from Joy the Baker's recipe

1 stick salted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or any chips you have on hand)
Pumpkin ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with either parchment paper or nonstick baking mats and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes until creamy and mixed together. Add the egg and beat for a minute. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture and slowly beat until just incorporated. Add in chocolate chips and fold in with a rubber spatula.

Take 1 heaping teaspoon of dough, roll it into a ball with your hands and place 1 1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until slightly golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack for cooling.

Once completely cooled, take a heaping tablespoon (or two) of pumpkin ice cream and spread on the flat side of a cookie and top with a similar sized cookie. Wrap individually with plastic wrap and store in the freezer. And try not to eat all of them in one day.

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Recipe: Chocolate Banana Donuts

My entire life I've been a morning person. On the weekends I wake up, feel motivated and make lists of what I want to get done. Sometimes I get done everything on the list. Sometimes I only make it to the sofa to and watch 5 hours of Netflix before realizing it's now 4 o'clock and it's no longer morning. But something about getting things done in the morning is oddly satisfying to me. I pat myself on the back about it.

But since I've been working full time, something has changed. I don't want to get up in the morning. I have 8 alarms set and always push it to the last one. I tell myself I can put make-up on in 5 minutes, even though that's a stretch. I eat breakfast at my desk at work because I'd rather sleep in for 10 more minutes than take the morning slow and eat at my dining room table. Sometimes the only thing that motivates me out of bed is the thought of stopping to buy donuts on the way to work. Sometimes for the whole office. Sometimes just 2 for me to stress-eat at my desk. 

So we are thanking the donut gods today. Thanks for helping me get out of bed. Thanks for giving me the sugar rush I need to make it to lunchtime. Thanks for being my favorite thing to devour when I'm feeling tipsy and my favorite way to aid in a hangover. So today we are smashing chocolate and bananas together for some donuts, adding a chocolate glaze, and throwing mini chocolate chips on for good measure.

Chocolate Banana Donuts

Yields 15-18 donuts

Adapted slightly from A Baker's Field Guide to Doughnuts

Donuts:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon black cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 smashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard-sized donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, sugar, both cocoas, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture and whisk until combined and smooth. Add the smashed up bananas and mix until bananas are broken up and pieces are throughout the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the wells of the prepared donut pans. Firmly tap the bottom of the pan on the counter to dislodge any bubbles. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly in pan and then remove donuts from pan and allow them to cool on a rack.

Cocoa Glaze

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
  • Mini chocolate chips, optional

Place confectioners' sugar and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the water until it begins to combine; it will be thick before you heat it. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it liquifies and becomes completely smooth and very warm, but not hot to the touch. Do not let it simmer. The cooking will only be 10-15 seconds. Remove from heat and dip eat donut into the glaze. place donut immediately on a rack for the glaze to cool and harden. Top each donut with mini chocolate chips, if desired, immediately.

Donuts are best if eaten the same day. :)