Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

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This is a belated post as I originally made these a couple of weeks ago. One of my previous headteacher’s has just retired and the school held an afternoon tea as a celebration. I was asked to make some cakes (as it turned out they weren’t required much to the delight of the staff at my current school – they went down well on the last day of term when chocolate and sugar were very much needed!)

These were made in a rush on a Tuesday night so I haven’t got step-by-step photos but I will post the recipe should anyone be interested in making them. I openly admit that I find cupcakes tricky. I never seem to be able to get them light and fluffy enough – one day I’m sure I’ll succeed! If anyone has any tips I’d be very grateful! I used a Primrose Bakery recipe from the Cupcakes From the Primrose Bakery book.

Ingredients (Makes about 12-16 cupcakes depending on how much you fill your cases):

For the chocolate orange cupcakes:
115g good-quality dark chocolate
90g unsalted butter (I used Stork)
175g caster sugar (I used golden)
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange (75ml of juice)
2 large eggs
185g plain flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk (room temperature)

For the chocolate buttercream:
175g good-quality dark chocolate
225g unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar, sifted

For decoration:
1 Terry’s Chocolate Orange (Milk or dark chocolate – you decide!)

Method:
Begin by making your cupcakes first

1) Preheat the oven to 160C(fan)/180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

2) Break the chocolate into pieces and melt using your preferred method (30-second bursts in a microwave or a heatproof bowl over simmering water – I always prefer to melt chocolate over simmering water). Once melted set the bowl aside to cool.

3) In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until the mixture is pale and smooth (this should take 3-5 minutes using an electric whisk). Add the eggs and beat again briefly.

4) Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix the milk and orange juice in a jug.

5) Add the chocolate to the creamed mixture and beat on a low speed until the mixture is just combined. Add one-third of the flour mix and beat until it all just comes together. Add half the juice/milk mix and beat again until the mixture just comes together  Repeat until all the ingredients are mixed together (I found the mix to be quite heavy – not runny).

6) Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake in the over for 28-30 mins (check after about 25). Check they are cooked by inserting a cocktail stick or skewer into the centre – it should come out clean.

7) Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the chocolate buttercream icing.

8) To make the icing begin by melting the chocolate (using the method of your choice as described above). Once melted leave it to cool slightly.

9) In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar until smooth – this can take a while using an electric hand mixer and can also cover your kitchen in a cloud of icing sugar! Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy.

10) Pipe or swirl onto your cupcakes (I went for 99/Mr Whippy style icing) and decorate with a segment of Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

11) Enjoy!

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