I make snarky comments just about every time I pass a cupcake shop. So, when I found that this month’s Avid Baker’s Challenge is a cupcake recipe, I had to give myself a serious talking to. “No bad attitude about the concept,” I told myself. “Just bake the most enticing version you can imagine. Enjoy the experience and then write a post.” The tone of my sermonette-to-self was pleasant but firm, and expectations were modest.
The afternoon spent playing with chocolate was, in fact, a whole lot of fun. The aromas in the kitchen are unbelievably wonderful and I can attest that the resulting cupcakes are tender and delicious. Now I’m more interested in eating these than making fun of them – or the craze.
The cupcakes were a breeze to make. (I’ve linked to the basic recipe as it appears online, but I hope you’ll buy the book it is from, Abby Dodge’s The Weekend Baker.) I added an orange twist. That changed some of the ingredients, so I listed the ones for my adaptation below. I’m bringing these to a party tomorrow and the hosts asked me to make bite-sized treats, so I turned the recipe into not quite 36 mini-cupcakes. that changed the baking time from about 20 minutes for regular sized cupcakes, to 14-18 minutes for these.
Instead of Abby’s frosting, I opted for a chocolate-orange glaze, adapted from an Alton Brown recipe. I had to move the glaze from the pot I made it in to a low-sided dish to make it easier to dip the cupcakes upside down in the glaze and did have to keep warming up the glaze by microwaving it for 30 seconds on medium. Those minor adjustments did add to the time and dirty dishes, but the final result was worth the extra effort.
Glazed Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
Cupcakes adapted from Abby Dodge’s Emergency Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
- ¼ cup orange juice, heated with water
- ½ cup water, heated by microwaving for about 1 minute on high
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
See Abby Dodge’s basic recipe. The orange rind is added with the liquid ingredients.
Chocolate Orange Glaze
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoon light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2+ tablespoons milk (I used skim)
- 2 ounces dark (bittersweet or similar chocolate) chopped into pieces not much bigger than your fingernail
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- Melt the butter, orange zest, corn syrup and vanilla in a small pot on medium heat.
Microwave the orange juice and milk (start with 2 tablespoons) on high for about 30 seconds. Whisk the juice and milk into the butter mixture.
- Lower the heat and add the chocolate.
Whisk until the chocolate melts.
- Take the mixture off the heat and whisk in the sugar.
- The glaze should fall off a spoon in a slow stream. If it is too gloppy, heat another tablespoon of milk (microwaving for 15-20 seconds on medium-high) and add it until you get to the right consistency
Repeat, adding heated milk by tablespoons, until the glaze is the right consistency. If the glaze starts to get too dry while you are glazing cupcakes, heat it in the microwave on a medium-low setting for 15-30 seconds, which should bring it back to the right consistency.
- To glaze – Dip a cupcake in the glaze, top side down, lift and twist slightly (to stop glaze from dripping) as you turn it top right side up.
- Leave the cupcakes on a wire rack to dry the glaze before serving or packing them up.