Dark Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes via bakeforcoffee.com

Last 4th of July, we had an amazing beach day with our friends. We ocean kayaked, barbequed burgers, and played frisbee. We talked and took pictures, it was so much fun! As we were packing up to leave, our friends suggested we grab ice cream from one of their favorite ice cream joints… McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream in Ventura, CA! Oh my goodness, the flavor combos were so overwhelming. I tasted about 5 flavors, then made my decision. I chose something coffee flavored, but the flavor “Dark Chocolate Orange” was one I had taste tested and swore next time, that’s what I would get. All I could think of was those Terry’s Chocolate Oranges that always wind up in our house around Christmas time!

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes via bakeforcoffee.com

This last weekend, Ben and I took a drive to Ojai, CA. The drive was so nice and refreshing, and felt so far away without being far away at all. We ended up in Santa Barbara wandering around Downtown  and came across a brand new McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream! Ice cream was totally in the cards that day, and seeing McConnell’s couldn’t have been any more perfect! There were so many amazing flavors I would have loved to have tried, but the Dark Chocolate Orange was still calling my name since last July, so that’s what I ordered! (Sorry no pics of the ice cream, had a dead cell phone and the dslr was at home… of course!)

As I was enjoying my ice cream, savoring the flavor of the rich dark chocolate and the citrusy orange combo, I had the thought that this would be an amazing cupcake flavor! A rich chocolate cupcake with a creamy, orange buttercream, topped of course, a dark chocolate orange slice!

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes via bakeforcoffee.comAll you need is one large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together, then add all the wet ingredients (except for the hot water) and mix until combined. When the ingredients are combined, add the hot water and mix for a minute or two. Batter will be very liquidy. As you can see, I am not pouring hot water into my bowl. Instead I used freshly brewed hot, STRONG coffee. Coffee really brings out the flavor of the chocolate, so I usually sub coffee for water in chocolate cake recipes. Using the water though is perfectly fine!

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes via bakeforcoffee.comFill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes! While cupcakes are cooling is a great time to make the orange frosting.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes via bakeforcoffee.comPipe the frosting, top with a dark chocolate orange slice and an orange peel, and there you have the cupcake version of McConnell’s Dark Chocolate Orange Ice Cream! Yay!

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes via bakeforcoffee.com

Dark Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe

*Makes 20 standard size cupcakes

*You can add a tablespoon of orange zest to the cupcake batter for extra orange/citrus flavor!



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 2/3 cup hot water (I used hot coffee)


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 7 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • Orange food coloring



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. Add the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and milk to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour in the hot water and mix on medium speed with the hand mixer for about 1-2 minutes.  Batter will be very liquidy.
  5. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean.
  6. Remove cupcakes from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes. Then place cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Make frosting.


  1. Cut butter into cubes and put into a stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add 4 cups of the sifted confectioners sugar, the milk, vanilla and orange extracts. Mix on low for 10 seconds so the sugar doesn’t fly everywhere, then turn mixer up to medium speed for 5 minutes.
  3. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl in case any butter stuck to bottom or sides of bowl and didn’t get mixed in. Then add the rest of the confectioners sugar and mix again on low speed for 10 seconds. Add 2 drops of orange food coloring, then up the speed to high for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Prepare your piping bag with a large round tip, fill piping bag with frosting, then pipe large dollops onto each cupcake.
  5. Top each cupcake with a chocolate orange slice and/or some orange peel, then serve!


Chocolate cupcake recipe slightly adapted from bakerella.com


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