March 11, 2012

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Last week I ventured for the first time into the world of homemade cakes. My little boy turned one, so to practice for making his birthday cake, I made some cupcakes for a Relief Society birthday party. Success! People even went to other tables to find more of my cupcakes. I felt like the cupcake queen. And so, brought to you by popular demand (i.e. two people asking for this to be put on the blog), I give you Chocolate Orange Cupcakes.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes 

3/4 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
3 eggs (also at room temperature)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups milk
*Note: I haven't tried it yet myself, but I bet adding just a hint of orange juice in place of some of the milk would make it taste amazing. If anyone tries it, let me know how it goes!

3/4 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
2 lbs powdered sugar (about 8 cups)
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest (finely shredded orange peel)
2 tsp vanilla

1.  Allow the butter and eggs to come to room temperature.  If you need the eggs to warm up more quickly, set them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, and they should warm right up.  Line your cupcake tins with paper liners, and preheat the oven to 350.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until it's light and fluffy (about 30 seconds).  Gradually add the sugar, beating until it's well combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl, then beat it for 2 minutes more.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla and orange juice (if using).  Alternately add the flour mixture and milk until they're just combined.  Beat for 20 seconds more, then pour the batter into the cupcake tins.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup will give you about the right amount to fill each tin 2/3 or 3/4 full.  
3. Bake approximately 16-18 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.  Leave the cupcakes in the tin, and cool the whole tin on a wire rack for about five minutes, then remove the cupcakes and let them finish cooling completely directly on the wire rack.  If you take them out of the pan too quickly, the cupcakes will become indented, and the indentation will remain, making your cupcakes look like they're going to fall over--not a good way for cupcakes to look.
4. While your cupcakes are cooling, whip up some orange frosting.  In a mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well.  Beat in the orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla.  Gradually beat in the rest of the powdered sugar.  If it's really thick, just keep adding orange juice (for more flavor) or milk (for more creaminess) a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired spreading consistency.
5.  When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost them!  If you want to do a cool swirly, just put the frosting in a ziploc bag and snip a little bit of the corner off, then squeeze the bag using constant pressure as you swirl.  If you want a flat swirl, start at the middle and work out.  If you want a tall, luscious pile of swirly frosting, start on the edge and work your way to the middle.
6.  Stand back as your guests ooh and ahh at your marvelous creation.

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