Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
Serves: 2 dozen
  • Orange Filling
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbl. cornstarch
  • ½ cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbl. butter
  • 1 tbl. grated orange peel
  • ½ tsp. orange extract

  • Cupcakes
  • ½ cup + 1 tbl. Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup + 1 tbl. hot water
  • 2¼ cup flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbl. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream

  • Frosting
  • 9.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tbl. butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 4 tbl. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • ⅔ cup + 1 tbl. sour cream
  1. Make the orange curd by combining the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Slowly pour in the orange juice and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Place the eggs in a medium sized bowl and briefly whisk them. Slowly pour in the hot juice mixture, stirring constantly, until about half the juice mixture has been incorporated into the eggs. Return the egg-juice mixture to the pan. Stir constantly and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Cook and stir for another 2 minutes before removing from the heat. Stir in the butter, orange peel and extract. Cool for several minutes then press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the orange curd and refrigerate until chilled.
  3. To make the cupcakes, start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water, whisk until smooth. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, whisk to blend.
  5. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is completely melted. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed for about 4-5 minutes until the mixture is cool. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and cocoa mixture until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the 24 cupcake tins. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, core out the center of each cupcake and fill with the chilled orange curd. I find it easiest to put the orange curd in a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes, but a spoon will work also.
  8. When the cupcakes are filled you can make the frosting by melting the chocolate in a double boiler. Set aside the melted chocolate to cool until just slightly warm. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and mix until smooth. Pour in the melted chocolate and sour cream. Continue beating until well-blended. Frost the cupcakes immediately before the chocolate hardens.
Recipe by Annie's Cooking Lab at