Fluffy and moist Chocolate Orange Cupcakes topped with a rich whipped chocolate ganache frosting. A combination of orange extract, orange zest and two kinds of chocolate make these cupcakes extra flavorful and delicious!
I’m filing this recipe under: “Desserts I Never Knew Existed and Now Can’t Live Without” because, oh my gosh, friends, these are so good!
My family recently returned from a Disney cruise. During the cruise we had Halloween-themed Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. They were absolutely delicious! I made sure to consume a fair number of those cupcakes because 1) that’s what you do on a cruise, and 2) recipe development! As soon as we got home I started working on creating a similar cupcake that I could share with you.
This chocolate cupcake recipe is my favorite; I also use it for my Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes.
How To Make Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
These cupcakes are fluffy and moist, but sturdy enough to stand up to a generous swirl of frosting. They include a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate chips for a deep chocolate flavor. Orange extract, orange zest and a touch of vanilla complement the chocolate flavor perfectly. Here’s how to make them:
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk cocoa powder, chocolate chips, espresso powder, and boiling water until smooth and combined.
- Add sugar, sour cream, eggs, oil, vanilla extract, orange extract, and orange zest to the chocolate mixture.
- Whisk in the flour mixture.
- Transfer to a 12-cup muffin tin.
How To Make Chocolate Orange Frosting
This is a fudgy, creamy and intensely chocolaty Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting. It is made with only three ingredients: chocolate chips, cream and orange extract.
- Place one cup of chocolate chips in a bowl.
- Heat one cup of cream until simmering.
- Pour the warm cream over the chocolate chips and allow it to sit undisturbed for two minutes.
- Add a few drops of orange extract, then whisk until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the ganache to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until thickened.
- Whip the chilled ganache until fluffy.
I like to think of these as grown-up cupcakes. With the deep, rich frosting and the flavor combo of orange and chocolate, I assume that this recipe will be better received by adults than kids. I will note that my kids devoured these in no time, but my kiddos are serious chocoholics, and also not inclined to turn down baked goods, so maybe not the best test group? Haha!
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of one large orange
Chocolate ganache frosting:
- 1 scant cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
- sprinkles optional garnish
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk cocoa powder, chocolate chips, espresso powder, and boiling water until smooth and combined (the chocolate chips should be completely melted). Add sour cream, oil, eggs, sugar, extracts, and orange zest and whisk until well combined. Add the flour mixture and whisk until combined. If necessary, use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Fill the prepared muffin cups about two-thirds to three-quarters full. Depending on the size of your muffin cups you might have a few tablespoons of batter leftover.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, but no raw batter. Be careful not to overbake. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them directly on the rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, proceed with the frosting.
Chocolate ganache frosting (allow 1-2 hours to chill):
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl, set aside.
- Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium heat (not a rolling boil), bubbles should be forming around the outside of the pan. Immediately pour the warm cream over the chocolate chips and allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes.
- After two minutes, use a whisk to stir the mixture until smooth and glossy. Whisk in orange extract. Place the bowl of ganache in your refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until thickened to a consistency similar to a thin nut butter or Nutella.
- Transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until fluffy and lightened in color - this happens fairly quickly. The frosting will be thick. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with sprinkles.