Frosted Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Moist chocolate cake infused with orange topped with super creamy rich chocolate buttercream frosting…. happy birthday to me!

Another stellar recipe from my Williams-Sonoma Baking book. I can’t say enough good things about this cookbook. Every recipe is great. In addition to being great recipes, they are also great bases to build from or tinker with. For my birthday, I had narrowed down my celebratory dessert to three chocolate wonders from this cookbook. The combination of chocolate and orange is my all-time favorite, so the chocolate orange cupcakes won. The picture says it all – these delicious little cakes will start a party just by showing up.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes


  • 3 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ unsalted butter, melted, at room temperature


  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. In a small bowl, stir cocoa with hot water until it is dissolved. Set aside.
  4. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl.
  5. Mix orange zest into flour mixture. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and granulated sugar together.
  7. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla.
  8. Whisk in cocoa.
  9. Whisk in melted butter.
  10. Stir in flour mixture.
  11. Spoon batter into each muffin cup. Fill each cup about ½ full.
  12. Bake cupcakes until puffed and a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 15 – 20 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely on wire rack. Remove cupcakes when pan is cool.
  14. Make frosting. Put chocolate chips in top of double boiler. Melt chocolate over simmering water. Let cool to room temperature.
  15. Beat butter and confectioner’s sugar until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  16. Beat in melted chocolate until well-mixed.
  17. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 12mm star tip (1/2 inch) with frosting.
  18. Pipe a spiral on top of each cupcake.
  19. Refrigerate the cupcakes until 30 minutes before serving to set the frosting.

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