Chocolate and Orange is a devilish and yet a morish combination. Of all the ways I love my cakes, the refreshing flavor of strong citrus has to be the best.
We had just got back seeing Toy Story 3 in the theaters. The movie was followed by a brief playtime in the fountains at the harbor side – the kids had a blast running around cooling off as the fountains drenched them with gallons of water. A sudden baking urge in the afternoon and a need of some fresh cool flavors in this typical Texas summer, created the cupcakes. These are the cupcakes in the basic form but with robust citrusy flavor. If your inclination is towards a light chocolate free one, use the recipe but omit the chocolate.
The recipe here is the second time I made these, and I added chocolate for the kids. The first time the cupcakes were baked with only plentiful orange zests and no frosting/icing at all, it was an instant hit with A and me; while the kids ate a few once they came out fresh from the oven, they soon remembered to whine that the cupcakes without chocolate or icing are “ugly muffins”!! How dare? I wondered, but I cannot think like a child anymore.
The second time, I scantily topped a few of them with plain melted chocolate (no gooey high icing ), and that seemed to turn the ugly muffins into joyful cupcakes, more so I suppose because of all the chocolate bites that they looted inside. The cupcakes were baked in mini muffin cups, just right for kids.
Both versions were good, tho’ A and me liked the one without the chocolate or the frosting.
I do not usually make up any baked dessert recipes on my own, but this time I did and it worked with stunning effects; perfectly done, fluffy and moist and I cannot speak enough of the fantastic orange flavor. The recipe is uncomplicated – almost like a basic cake recipe, and it barely takes any time to make them.
Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Ingredients:(makes about 24 mini cupcakes)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons orange zest
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces or the chips + flour to dust the chocolate chips
For the frosting/icing/decoration:
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
Pre heat oven to 350 degree F.
Whisk in flour, salt and baking powder; add the zest and rub in to the flour with the finger tips to release the oil in the zest.
Whisk butter and sugar till foamy. Whisk in one egg at a time. Add the vanilla extract and whisk it in.
At low speed beat in the flour, cream and the orange juice a little bit of each at a time.. .kind of like alternating them.Beat/whisk at low speed till well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
Dust the chocolate pieces/chips with flour and gently fold them in right before you fill in the cupcake liners.
Pour the batter in to the cup cake liners till they are 3/4 full. bake for about 15-18 minutes or till the toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden.
Cool completely on wire rack.
To make the frosting/decoration:
Combine the chocolate and the cream/milk in a bowl and melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Combine the orange extract. Quickly pipe it on the cupcakes. I used an ziplock bag, no fancy piping tool.
In their petite size, spongy and full of flavors, they did not last for too long. Cute and irresistible and very easily satisfies a snack time and tea time cravings.