Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

Delicious orange chocolate cupcakes topped with creamy orange and chocolate ermine buttercream. You are going to love this choc orange cupcake recipe, my cupcakes are packed full of flavor and made with real oranges (no artificial nasties here).

Chocolate cupcake with orange buttercream topped with dried orange slice

What makes these the best Orange Chocolate Cupcakes ever?

  • Deliciously soft chocolate orange cupcake: these cupcakes are based of my tried and true chocolate cupcake recipe. The addition of a little orange zest adds a hint of orange flavor.
  • Fluffy Orange Ermine Frosting: Ermine buttercream is my favorite buttercream. It’s creamy, not overly sweet and so incredibly addictive. By substituting the milk (that’s used in traditional ermine frosting) for orange juice we can add a whole lot of orange flavor to this buttercream without having to add artificial flavorings or expensive flavor extracts.
  • Made with real oranges: no need to rush out and buy expensive flavorings or extracts. These choc orange cupcakes are made with real oranges.

Tools you’ll need to make these Choc-Orange Cupcakes

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Sieve
  • Mixing Spoons
  • Measuring Cups
  • Muffin Tin
  • Electric Mixer (either a hand held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment)
  • Cupcake Liners
  • Saucepan & Stove
  • Piping Bags
  • Piping Nozzles
  • Kitchen Scales (optional, but recommended)

How to make Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

Bake Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

These cupcakes are based off my easy chocolate cupcake recipe. It’s the same recipe I use for my chocolate cupcakes topped with whiskey caramel buttercream. To make these super soft orange chocolate cupcakes, simply:

  • Sift the dry ingredients and sugar together in a bowl.
  • In a second bowl use an electric mixer to combine wet ingredients.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients.
  • Add the orange zest and mix it all together until everything is evenly incorporated.
  • Bake

Allow the cupcakes to cool before icing them. Cooled, un-iced cupcakes can be stores in an airtight container at room temperature.

Hand holding a chocolcate cupckae above a chopping board of several chocolate cupcakes

Top Tip: To check if your cupcakes are ready, insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. The cupcakes are cooked if the toothpick appears clean (or has just a few cooked crumbs on it) when it is removed from the cupcake. Adjust the baking time accordingly based on how cooked the cupcakes appear at this point.

How to make Orange Buttercream Frosting

This creamy orange ermine buttercream is made with orange juice, not orange extract. My orange buttercream recipe involves 3 steps:

  1. Cook your flour, sugar, orange juice, salt & vanilla extract on a stove top to make a pudding. Then let this pudding cool to room temperature. You can speed up this process by placing it in a heatproof bowl (covered in cling film) in the fridge or freezer.
  2. Whip your butter using an electric mixer until it’s pale and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the cooled pudding to the butter as you continue to whip it with your electric mixer.
orange pudding, hand held mixer and butter cubes on a marble bench

Top Tips

  • To save time, I often make the pudding the day before making my buttercream. For food safety, the pudding should be stored overnight in the fridge. Just make sure to allow it to warm to room temperature before adding it to your whipped butter,
  • For best results you’ll want both your butter and pudding to be room temperature before you start to make ermine frosting. If the pudding is too warm it will cause the buttercream to be too runny and soft. If it is too cold, it won’t mix into the whipped butter well and the buttercream may look curdled.
  • Once your orange buttercream is ready, use it straight away! This buttercream will firm up in the fridge and is difficult to revive into its creamy pre-piped state once this happens (unlike swiss meringue buttercream). Once ermine frosting has been piped onto the cakes, it stores well in the fridge for several days.

How to pipe Two-toned Buttercream

Don’t have any chocolate on hand? No problems, these chocolate orange cupcakes are made with cocoa powder.
To create this chic two tone effect:

  • Divide the orange buttercream into 2 halves and stir cocoa powder through one half.
  • Lay a piece of cling film on the bench and spoon the plain orange buttercream onto it in a line.
  • Then repeat the process by spooning the cocoa orange buttercream in a line next to the orange frosting.
  • Use the cling film to roll the buttercream into a log. Cut the tip off the end, and insert the cling film wrapped log of buttercream into a piping bag that has been fitted with an open star nozzle.
  • When you squeeze the bag, both colors should come out the nozzle.

Top Tip: The first little bit of buttercream that comes out of the piping bag may have more of one flavor than another. For best results squeeze this first bit of buttercream into a bowl and save for later. Start frosting your cupcakes once both flavors are coming out of your piping bag evenly.

Piece of glad wrap on the bench with two lines of buttercream
buttercream rolled up in cling film with a piping bag, piping nozzle and chocolate cupcakes
chocolate orange cupcakes iced with orange and chocolate buttercream

How to make dried orange slices

This method works well with all citrus fruit. Today I’m using blood oranges and largely following the instructions on Yummy Mummy Kitchen Blog

LINK: How to dry orange slices

Storage Recommendations

Un-iced cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for a day or so.

Once you have added the choc orange buttercream to your cupcakes, store them in the fridge (they’ll last for 3-5 days) or the freezer (they’ll keep we’ll for up to 3 months).

Always store your cupcakes in an air tight container.

Dried orange slices can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature until they’re needed.

Top Tip: Did you know you can freeze cupcake batter? Place leftover batter in a zip-lock bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When your ready to use it, move the bag into the fridge and let the batter thaw, then just snip off a corner and pour the batter into your your cake tins (or cupcake liners). Bake at the same temperature as normal, but be aware that you may need to add a couple minutes to the baking time if the batter is cold from the fridge. See my suggestion above for how to know when your cupcakes are ready.

Make these Orange Cupcakes your way

Not a fan of chocolate (what’s wrong with you? – kidding!!) make this chocolate orange cupcake recipe into orange creamsicle cupcakes by:

  • Instead of chocolate cupcakes, make my lemon ricotta cupcakes (swap the lemon juice/rind and for orange juice/rind).
  • Make the orange buttercream frosting as per this recipe.
  • Instead of adding cocoa powder, stir through 1 tablespoon of white chocolate ganache.
Can I make chocolate orange cupcakes with chocolate instead of cocoa powder?

Yes! You can replace the cocoa powder in the buttercream with 1 tablespoon of chocolate ganache (made from melted chocolate and cream). I don’t recommend adding straight melted chocolate to the frosting as the temperature of the buttercream may cause the chocolate to set before it mixes in properly. If you want to use chocolate in the chocolate cupcakes, I’d recommend make chocolate mud cupcakes and adding a little orange rind.

Can I make these chocolate orange cupcakes with orange extract?

I haven’t personally tried this, but I don’t see why not. Just be careful to add a little bit at a time and taste test the result before adding more. Flavored extracts are very potent and it’s easy to add too much extract and overpower the other flavours.

To modify this recipe to use orange extract:
1. Add a little orange extract to the cupcake batter in lieu of orange rind
2. Substitute the vanilla extract for orange extract in the ermine buttercream pudding.

I hope you love this recipe for orange chocolate cupcakes. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how you go, so please leave a comment below and let me know how it went.

Happy baking x

Related Recipes

If you loved this recipe for chocolate orange cupcakes, check out these other recipes that you might like

Chocolate cupcake with orange buttercream topped with dried orange slice

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Chocolate orange cupcake recipe. Soft choc-orange cupcakes topped with creamy chocolate and orange buttercream frosting.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes

Equipment

  • Kitchen Scales (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 electric mixer (Hand held or stand mixer)
  • 1 x 12 case muffin tin
  • oven
  • 1 saucepan
  • Stovetop
  • 12 Cupcake Liners
  • 4 bowls
  • Sieve
  • Piping Bags and Piping Nozzles
  • Measuring Cups
  • Mixing Spoons

Ingredients
  

Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes

  • 110 ml Milk (just under 1/2 a cup)
  • 5 ml White Wine Vinager (1 teaspoon)
  • 110 grams All Purpose Flour (1 cup)
  • 30 grams Cocoa Powder (1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 175 grams Caster Sugar (fine granulated sugar) (3/4 cups)
  • 60 ml Vegetable Oil (1/4 cups)
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 120 ml Boiling Instant Coffee (1 teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water)
  • 1 tablespoon Orange Zest

Chocolate Orange Buttercream

  • 180 grams Caster Sugar (1 cup)
  • 45 grams All Purpose Flour (1/3 cup)
  • 250 ml Orange Juice (1 cup)
  • 3/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 250 grams Unsalted Butter (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder

Instructions
 

Chocolate Orange cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Combine milk and white wine vinegar in a jug and set aside to thicken.
  • Finely grate the zest of an orange and set aside.
  • Next, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar & salt into a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
  • In a second bowl, add oil, eggs, thickened milk & vanilla extract. Mix together using either a whisk, an electric handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together, then add the coffee and orange zest and mix well until completely combined.
  • Spoon the batter into your prepared cupcake liners and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until cooked through (see notes).
  • Once baked, allow the cupcakes to cool in the muffin tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Orange Buttercream

  • Place the flour and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk for 1-2 minutes to toast the flour.
  • Gradually add the orange juice while continuing to stir. Then stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
  • Continue to stir the mixture with your whisk until it thickens. The flour will cause the mixture to thicken as it cooks, and this will happen at the base of the pan first, so stirring the mixture will prevent it from burning at the base of the saucepan.
  • Once the pudding has thickened, pour it into a heatproof bowl and cover with cling film, so that the cling film is touching the pudding (like a skin).
  • Leave the pudding mixture to cool completely. You can speed up this process by putting it in the fridge or freezer, but make sure that the pudding is at room temperature before starting the next step.
  • Place your butter in a clean bowl and whip it using your electric mixer until it is pale and fluffy.
  • Add the orange pudding to the butter, one table spoon at a time. Mix the butter well after adding each tablespoon of pudding to make sure it is full incorporated before adding the next tablespoon.
  • Once all the pudding has been incorporated, divide the butter into two equal bowls. Stir your cocoa powder through 1 of the batches of buttercream.
  • Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle (see my the recipe notes and my post for how to achieve this two tone effect).
  • Pipe buttercream onto you cupcakes.
  • Decorate with sprinkles, chocolate pieces and dried orange slices.

Notes

Storage Recommendations
Always store your cupcakes in an airtight container.  Un-iced cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for a day or so.  Once you have added the choc orange buttercream to your cupcakes, store them in the fridge (they’ll last for 3-5 days) or the freezer (they’ll keep we’ll for up to 3 months). 
How to tell if your cupcakes are cooked
To check if your cupcakes are ready, insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. The cupcakes are cooked if the toothpick appears clean (or has just a few cooked crumbs on it) when it is removed from the cupcake.
How to create two tone buttercream
  • Divide the orange buttercream into 2 halves and stir cocoa powder through one half.
  • Lay a piece of glad wrap on the bench and spoon the plain orange buttercream onto it in a line.
  • Then repeat the process by spooning the cocoa orange buttercream in a line next to the orange frosting.
  • Use the goad wrap to roll the buttercream into a log. Cut the tip off the end, and insert the log of buttercream into a piping bag that has been fitted with an open star nozzle.
  • When you squeeze the bag, both colors should come out the nozzle.
Tried this recipe?Mention @Kylies_cakes_ or tag #theniftybaker!

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