Yeah, I went there. Last Friday evening, as Nemo started gearing up, I needed to do something beside stare at a screen or out the window. We had killed off most of our dessert options so I knew I wanted to make something sweet. I tend to favor muffins and cupcakes as I like cake but not frosting. I know, I’m strange, but frosting doesn’t do it for me.
So I decided to do a twist on our wedding cake which was chocolate with orange. I had some bits of dark chocolate left over in the cupboards, and I CANNOT get over blood oranges at the moment so I had my two key ingredients.
I used a combination of plain dark chocolate and a disk of Trader Joe’s Mexican dark chocolate with salt and pepper. I like pepper and citrus so I gave it a shot. I think the salt and pepper kept it from being too sweet, but if you don’t like the texture of Mexican chocolate, feel free to experiment with your preferred style of dark chocolate. I think a 99% dark would be amazing with the orange flavor.
The hubs loved them so much that he requested this as his birthday cake for Sunday. I’ll probably double the recipe to make a cake as this recipe made 12 small (like the kind you probably had growing up before cupcakes became trendy) cupcakes. I adapted the recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, where you can see on the cover that their cupcakes are on the smaller side. I’m saying it makes 10 in the recipe to have taller cupcakes for the people who like frosting. The cake is more orange than chocolate, so I think a ganache or Nutella frosting might be a good pairing.
Dark Chocolate Chip and Blood Orange Cupcakes
Yield: 10 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. These are more orangey with bursts of dark chocolate, but feel free to play around to hit the ratio of orange to chocolate that you want.
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp salted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
juice of two blood oranges plus enough milk to get 1/2 cup total of liquid
zest of two blood oranges
1/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
small chunks of dark chocolate to garnish (optional)
Preheat your oven to 325F.
Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Put the first five ingredients in a freestanding electric mixer and beat on slow until it has a crumbly texture.
Add the milk/juice combination, egg, and vanilla to the dry ingredients while the mixer is on low. Turn it up to high for a few minutes to ensure that everything has mixed together and smooth.
Add in the zest and chocolate and fold them into the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. The batter will be pink, but will be just slightly pink after baking.
Pour the batter about 3/4 full in each cup and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. When completely cool, dust with cocoa powder and garnish with chocolate chunks or frost them with your preferred frosting.
If you want a pinker cupcake, try the juice of 3 blood oranges or a drop of red food coloring.