September 22, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with (or without) Orange Frosting: pick the one you like most

Cupcakes! Oh cupcakes! A delight, but also a bit of a challenge for me. Wally loves them. Many people love them. Me? I like them. They are cute, quick to make and I really enjoy eating them from time to time. But I have to admit that, although I find it hard to completely fail a cupcake, I find it even harder to find a cupcake recipe that wows me.

In my quest for wow cupcake recipes I finally found one. Well, of course still my quest is not over. Not being a bit chocolate fan I would rather find a wow vanilla cupcake recipe...I'll let you know when that happens. In the meantime, I'm quite happy with this one. It was given to me by a friend but I twisted it quite a bit because while I was making it the batter did not seem quite right with the ingredients as listed. And, of course, I had to pair chocolate with orange :) yes, one of my obsession.  So I came out with this orange-Grand Marnier frosting that really satisfied me. I actually thought they were good with or without the frosting. Either way, I hope you will like it!

Chocolate Cupcakes
yields 12 cupcakes

170 gr (6 oz or 1 1/3 cup) all purpose flour
2 gr (1/2 tsp) baking soda
1 gr (1/4 tsp) salt
60 gr (2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
150 gr (5.3 oz or 3/4 cup) sugar
60 ml (2 fl oz or 1/4 cup) buttermilk or whipping cream or a combination of the two*
1 egg
60 ml (2 fl oz or 1/4 cup) vegetable oil
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
15 ml (1 tbsp) Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

*I used a combination of the two

Orange frosting

30 gr (2 tbsp) butter, at room temperature
260 gr (9 oz or 2 cups) confectioner's sugar
50 ml (3 tbsp) freshly squeezed orange juice
7 ml (2 tbsp) Grand Mariner or other orange liqueur
pinch of salt
15 gr (1 tbsp) grated orange zest

For the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare the muffin pan with nonstick spray or paper cups.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Add the cocoa and the sugar and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Add the buttermilk, the whipping cream (or whichever of the two you chooses), the egg, the oil, the Grand Marnier, and the vanilla and beat until smooth.

Spoon the batter into the pans, filling at least halfway. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and turn out the cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting and decoration

While the cupcakes are cooling down, place the butter, the orange juice and the Grand Marnier into the bowl of your mixer. 

Cream for about 1 minute and then add in the sugar 1/2 cup at a time and continue to add until you reach the desired consistency (up to 2 cups). Add in the salt and zest and beat at medium-high speed for 1 minute, until creamy.

Pipe frosting over the cooled cupcakes using a star noozle.

Have a sweet day!


  1. My mom loves the chocolate/orange combo as well..I could definitely go for adding some Grand Marnier to the mix. Lovely pic too by the way!

  2. That looks so good. I love the frosting recipe.

  3. I'm on the I love cupcakes side. Those look delicious. I like the idea of adding Grand Marnier - yum.... Voted too!

  4. Yes, my husband SWEARS cupcakes taste better than cake...even if it's the same batter and frosting!

    This does sound wonderful!

  5. @Evan: I still have to ask you for your chocolate cupcakes recipe though. I'm sure they will be ever more amazing!
    @Joy: in my opinion the frosting was the best part. But then, again, I'm not a chocolate lover
    @Eileen: Grand Marnier really gave it a more "grown-up" taste and for me it was good to be able to eat so much chocolate :)
    @ASpicyPerspective: I think every husband swears the same...who knows how their taste sense works. I don't eve try to argue with him anymore. He is just so happy when he eats cupcakes:)

  6. Love this combination - it is such a natural pairing. I would adore it with the Grand Marnier frosting. Nice job!

  7. My vote is definitely for with frosting! I think cupcakes are just a vehicle for frosting :) These look yummy, and although I like the chocolate/orange combo, I never considered the pairing for cupcakes before. Great idea!

  8. My hubby would love these- he's a chocolate and orange fan. I'd love them without, please!

  9. i love chocolate cupcakes and i really like to play around with the frosting. citrus + choco cupcakes is really a great combo! i once tried pairing chocolate cupcakes with calamansi, a local lime from the Philippines. i'm really glad you posted this recipe, it's worth a try :)

  10. Yum!! These cupcakes look so delicious! I really like the combination of chocolate and orange, too.

  11. Chocolate. Dude. If it didn't look so incredibly delicious! I love the idea of the grand marnier frosting. You wouldn't taste the chocolate as much. :)

  12. Hello dear! I am an absolute orange-chocolate fan... so yes on frosting for me....(as long as it is not too sweet)! Have a fantastic Day!

  13. Mmm, I've never tried making an orange frosting before. Thanks for this post!

  14. Only thing that would make these any better would be an extra shot on the side! He He I love chocolate and orange. You didn't even have to dangle these in front of my for my support! Good Luck to you!

  15. Forget about the cupcake (which looks great) but I want that frosting and a spoon!!! Sounds out of this world delicious!

  16. Chocolate and orange is a match made in heaven. Beautiful frosting job!

  17. Oh wow, that frosting looks to die for. I love chocolate and orange together, but haven't had it for years. This would be a great way to get back in the orange-chocolate saddle:)

  18. Thank you all for all the votes! @Christiane: I knew you were not going to approve :) but the grand marnier really makes the chocolate more bearable! And you can even just have the frosting :)
    @Megan @Susi @Sprinkled With Flour @Roxan @Gina: this frosting really is not too sweet. The grand marnier makes it more for grown ups and it really was delicious....I think I will want to try it also for other filling up whoopie pies :)
    @Avanika: really chocolate orange is one of the best matching ever!

  19. I will take one WITH the frosting, please!

  20. Oh how I love Grand Marnier!!! I have used it in biscotti, brownies and even our cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. These cupcakes look divine! However, I'm sort of like you, cupcakes aren't really my thing. That being said, I wouldn't turn one of these away! Nicely done! And yes... I'll take a frosting one as well...

  21. Hmmmm...I just made the cupcake part, and the batter came out incredibly thick. Like cookie dough in fact. I followed the measurements to the letter (I used your cup/tsp. recommendations rather than the weight measurements).

    What did I do wrong?

  22. Hmmm it might be that you overbaked them. Every oven is different, sometimes they over or under-bake. For example, in my previous home I had a terrible oven and I always needed to set it 25 degrees less than what a recipe recommended and bake for a couple of minutes less.

  23. i just made the cupcakes and the batter also came out to thick...its really good i hope they cook well. Is the batter supposed to be thicker than usual?

  24. so they came out of the oven perfectly, probably the best cupcakes ive made since i cook at high altitude they never rise so well...i also added some coffee to the batter and it goes great with the grand marnier

  25. @Anonymous: I was scared by the thick batter as well but once baked they were really good. I'm so glad you liked them. I love to hear from people who try my recipe whether they come out well or not...that gives me additional ideas. I love love love your coffee! And yes, high altitude baking is really hard and the best recipes can come out bad. I'm glad this worked out!


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