Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Orange Chocolate Cupcake

Greetings! Two posts in two days? Yup! I need to somehow make up for not posting in nearly a year. That, or it might be the dreary February weather of New England. Three storms, including two blizzards, 4+ feet of snow, and more on the way. I’ll be staying in, baking tons of desserts, and blogging about them.

I spent the morning thinking of what flavor I should try next and what I had in my pantry. One thing that I love is Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. So, why not try a chocolate orange cupcake? I absolutely loved this recipe and wish I could continue eating all of the cake I made without feeling guilty of half a dozen cupcakes (I halved the recipe listed below). This recipe is not that much different from a normal chocolate cake recipe, but the added coffee and orange extract made it 1000 times better than “plain” chocolate cake. Adding the coffee is optional, but I prefer a darker tasting chocolate.

The only challenge with this recipe was the frosting. The frosting that I made was an orange vanilla buttercream. Orange extract by itself does not smell, let alone taste, that great. When mixing it with vanilla extract, the frosting begins to smell like an artificial orange creamsicle. Spoiler alert: I added a few teaspoons of freshly squeezed orange juice, which helped eliminate the creamsicle taste.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Happy baking!
–JJC

RECIPE

Cake
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 eggs

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, vanilla extract, orange extract, and coffee.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition. Consistency should be similar to a pudding.
6. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 325F for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Batter

Frosting
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1½ stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract
¼ cup milk/cream
3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar
A dash of fresh orange juice

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.
3. Frost cupcakes and decorate.
4. Enjoy!

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Minion Cupcakes

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In making these minion cupcakes, I broke one of my cardinal rules of baking and used a boatload of artificial coloring. But come on, the minions from Despicable Me are just too adorable. I recently saw Despicable Me 2 in theaters. It wasn’t necessarily the best story (the plot of the first Despicable Me was better). However, the minions made the movie worth watching a second time. That is enough about the movies; this is a cupcake blog, not a movie review site.

The cupcakes I made this time included a chocolate cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting. I have not ventured to the world of gum paste, which makes for more cakes with a more professional-looking design. I may soon, but the summer is, believe it or not, almost over (side note: where did this summer go?). Anyway, I used a buttercream frosting and added food coloring to it. For the yellow and blue colors, I added about 7 drops of food coloring. I bought a black gel frosting pen for the black straps on the minions’ goggles and for their smiles. I also used the black to mix it with the normal white buttercream to make the grey goggles. Considering I didn’t have enough frosting bags, I think I did a pretty good job with the makeshift bags made of Ziploc bags cut at the corner. It worked pretty well, since you need to create a flat surface for the yellow. For about 16 cupcakes, I would recommend that you use 3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter.

The entire process from mixing the batter to the end of frosting took nearly three hours. It was definitely worth it. The chocolate cake is nice and moist and almost melts in your mouth. Plus you have to feel happy when you see the minions. AND the cupcakes are smiling at you. Next on my list of cupcakes to bake are the evil purple minions!

evil-purple-minion

Xo,
JJC

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