Chocolate cupcakes are my go-to thing when I feel the need to bake. This is an easy, virtually foolproof, recipe no matter if you are using wheat flour or gluten-free flour. I think that I actually prefer them gluten-free, just because they seem to stay moist longer. You can dress this recipe up any way you like, just keep the amount of liquid the same. I was inspired by the giant bag of oranges tha has been sitting on my kitchen table for the past week and a half. Normally I would use buttermilk as the main liquid in these cupcakes, in fact I tend to use buttermilk in just about any baked good that calls for milk. In this case I substituted orange juice and milk for the buttermilk, and added a tablespoon of Gran Marnier Liquor for an extra punch of orange flavor. Also, it's very important to use fresh zest when you are baking with citrus, it adds so much! The icing also has a splash of Gran Marnier and a generous dose of orange zest.
For the Cupcakes:
2 Cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 Cup AP flour (or GF AP flour)
3/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 Cup orange juice
1/2 Cup milk/buttermilk/soy etc. . .
1/2 Cup vegetable oil/ coconut oil
1 Tbsp Gran Marnier Liquor or orange extract
zest of one orange
1 Cup hot water
For the Frosting:
3x 8oz cream cheese, room temp
1 cup confectioners sugar
zest of one orange
food coloring if you like
1. preheat your oven to 350˚F, line two muffin pans with papers
2. in mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients, you may need to sift the cocoa to get rid of lumps, stir the orange zest in with the dry ingredients.
3. add the milk, orange juice, Gran Marnier, vegetable oil and eggs, stir until well combined. it's best to use a whisk or the whisk attachment on your mixer.
4. slowly add the hot water, little by little, stirring between additions.
*the batter will be very liquidy, that's completely normal. this recipe makes 24-30 standard sized cupcakes. i find it easier to use cupcake cups that can stand alone rather than flimsy papers because of the consistency of the batter, so that you can hold the cups close to the bowl of batter while filling them.*
5. use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to fill the cups/papers. if there's extra batter, resist the urge to fill the cups fuller; they will overflow all over your pan/oven. expect the cupcakes to almost double in size while they bake.
6. bake at 350˚F for about 30 minutes. cool at least 10 minutes before taking them out of the pan, and cool completely before frosting.
6. make the frosting! using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer or a hand beater, whip the cream cheese on high, until fluffy. Stop the mixer and add the confectioners sugar, orange zest and Gran Marnier. Run the mixer on the slowest speed until the sugar is incorporated, and then increase speed to high again. whip for about three minutes. You can spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes, but I actually find it easier to pipe it on. If you don't have a piping bag you can always resort to a ziplock bag with the corner cut open.
*if you'd like a great tutorial on frosting cupcakes check out Glorious Treats*
Posted 3rd February 2013 by Sarah Posma