Orange chocolate chunk cupcakes with chocolate frosting

A delightful citrus combination, that can be taken to the next level with the addition of orange liqueur to the cupcake batter and/or the chocolate ganache frosting! These cupcakes (which I often make into bundt cakes or mini bundt cakes with the ganache draped over, or round cakes filled with the frosting) are one of my most frequent bakes all year round – turns out many of my friends dig the chocolate and citrus combination!

Since I was making these in February, I made them with Blood Oranges this time around, and boy are they pretty to look at! Blood Oranges don’t have much of a taste impact here, and neither do they affect the appearance, so regular navel oranges work fine too. But in the defense of blood oranges…

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes with Whipped Ganache Frosting

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

1/2 pound (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
Finely grated zest from 4 large oranges
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chunks

Whipped Ganache frosting
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (optional)
1/4–1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Make the cupcakes
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

Place sugar and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; use fingertips to rub them together (this abrasion helps get the maximum flavor from the zest). Cream the butter and zested sugar together for about 5 minutes, or until light and very fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions.

Sift or whisk together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chips:chunks with remaining 2 tablespoons flour and add to the batter. Pour batter into the muffin tins, about 1/3 cup in each tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the muffin pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

For the ganache
Melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee (if using) in heat safe bowl (or the work bowl of a stand mixer) over simmering water (double boiler) until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. The bottom of the bowl should not be touching the simmering water. Once completely melted, chill the mixture on the counter or in the fridge.

Using an electric beater or stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the chilled ganache with 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar, until ganache is light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup more confectioners sugar for a sweeter frosting.

Spread or pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.

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