Sunday, October 3, 2010

Orange Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Oh man, here it comes!  I made three kinds of cupcakes for a party this weekend.  And I'm finally at a place where the leftovers don't even appeal to me--maybe I've finally reached my sugar limit.  For a day or two, at least.

This is the first of the three, and it was my least favorite, although it did receive some very positive feedback.  Personally, I would have liked more orange flavor and less sugar.  Nevertheless, the combo of orange and chocolate, though controversial, is a nice one, and a chance to once again use the amazing chocolate frosting from The Joy of Vegan Baking that I used last year on Amanda's cupcakes.  It was also a chance to break down and buy a zester, one of those gadgets that always seemed too specific to be worth buying--up to this point, when I have used "zest" in a recipe, it's actually been grated peel.  This is fine for baking, cooking, etc., but it would not do for decorating.

I used Minneola tangelos rather than oranges.  I think they are the most perfect citrus fruit in the entire world: amazing tangerine flavor, juicy, easy to peel, larger than a tangerine, and shinier, smoother, and oranger than most oranges.

The cooking time for this recipe seemed to be off: as was true with other cupcakes, they were done after about 15 minutes, but the recipe called for over 30.  Curious.  The texture of the cake was a little too soft and dense for my tastes (shouldn't it be like a little cloud of sugar?), and I worried that this was due to the baking time discrepancy.  But if it passes the toothpick test, surely it's time?

Orange Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Orange Cupcakes
(adapted from Holy Cow!)

1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c orange juice
1 tsp grated or zested orange peel (or more?)
1/3 c canola oil
2/3 c sugar (or less?)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350* and line muffin pan with cupcake papers.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.  Do not overmix.
4. Divide the batter equally among 12 cups.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1/2 c Earth Balance
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
3-4 TB nondairy milk
(if needed)

Cream butter and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients.  Beat until fluffy, adding milk or sugar as needed to achieve desired consistency.  Frosts 12-16 cupcakes.

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