These Dark Chocolate Orange Cupcakes are so intense in flavors! Fluffy dark chocolate cupcakes frosted with tangy-sweet orange buttercream. They are easy to make and perfect for any occasion. By the way, have you tried my caramel vanilla cupcakes?
Making these dark chocolate cupcakes is fairly easy. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, mix egg and sugar until super creamy. Then add oil and vanilla. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk. Then fill the cupcakes into cupcake liners about ½ - ⅔ full. Do not overfill the liners or your cupcakes will spill over or sink.
I decided to use cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate because you need a much higher amount of melted chocolate to get the same intense chocolate flavor as with cocoa powder.
Cupcakes need to be fluffy, right? And with cocoa powder, the texture of the dark chocolate cupcakes is lighter and fluffier than with that amount of melted dark chocolate that you would need for a deep chocolate taste.
I wanted the orange buttercream to be all-natural. No food coloring. The key to a lovely orange color in the buttercream is adding cooked orange syrup. Just squeeze four fist-sized oranges (exact measurements in the recipe below) and cook the orange juice with sugar to a thick syrup. Let cool to room temperature before further proceed with the orange buttercream frosting.
The texture of the orange syrup should be like honey or caramel syrup. If you accidentally overcook the syrup and it is too firm then add freshly squeezed orange juice and stir to combine. Add as much as needed to reach a honey-like consistency.
To get super fluffy and creamy buttercream, the butter needs to be room temperature and beat it until it is ultra creamy. Then sift in the powdered sugar, add vanilla, and the orange syrup. The buttercream will have a lovely but light orange color, an intensive tangy-sweet orange taste, and the texture will be beyond creamy.
Dark Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups freshly squeezed orange juice (300ml - about 4 fist-sized oranges)
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature (226g)
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (240g)
- 1 vanilla bean* (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with about 14-15 cupcake liners (this recipe yields 14-15 cupcakes - I got 15 cupcakes). Set aside.
- Cupcakes: Stir flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat egg and sugar until creamy for about 2 minutes. Add oil and vanilla* and mix on low speed until combined. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter and mix on low speed just until combined. Begin and end with dry ingredients. Spoon batter into the liners and fill max. ⅔ full that your cupcakes don't sink or spill over the sides. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick centered in the middle comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature before frosting.
- Over medium-high heat, in a medium saucepan, whisk together orange juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes until it has thickened up and reduced by ½. It should look like syrup. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.**
- Frosting: In a large mixing bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, mix butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in cooked orange syrup until fully combined. Pipe or spread frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
**The texture of the cooled orange syrup should be like honey or caramel syrup. If you accidentally overcook the syrup and it is too firm then add freshly squeezed orange juice little by little and stir to combine. Add as much as needed to reach a honey-like consistency.
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