Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Hot dogs and sauerkraut. Cold beer, hot pizza. Some matches are classics not to be tampered with.

Yet most people just can't leave well enough alone. Hot dogs have to be all-beef from free ranging cows who roamed the foothills of the Rockies nibbling on Edelweiss while listening to "The Sound of Music" soundtrack. Sauerkraut has to be made from Amish-grown organic shredded cabbage immersed in a brine of French sea salt dredged and dried from the tidal flats of Normandy.

Some recipes drive me nuts. The requests are so precise that it's virtually impossible to find all the right ingredients. Of course when it turns out lousy the natural reaction is to blame yourself for using all-purpose flour instead of tracking down that Peruvian stone ground lotus root flour recommended in the recipe. That's why I always loved Giada DeLaurentiis' recipes. She makes liberal use of easily findable ingredients. The resulting meals are always flavorful and amazingly easy to recreate.

Until today.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. Sounds like the perfect combo. Sounds like a winning dessert. Well all I know is that there was a lot of cursing coming out of the kitchen, primarily directed at the candied orange peel ingredient. SSSal went "store bought" and I can attest from eating the final product that this was a mistake. Gummy, flavorless. I spent more time tearing apart the cupcakes removing the orange rind than I spent eating the final product.

So this recipe is like a television movie, it's "Based on actual events". That's true if by "based of actual events" you mean that the title and some of the main ingredients are the same. After that, any resemblance to recipes living or dead is purely coincidental. Here's SSSal's highly adjusted and doctored recipe, enjoy...

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
by SSSal and inspired by Giada DeLaurentiis' recipe

1 box chocolate cake mix (preferably Duncan Hines Devil's Food)
Orange Juice (replacing the water in the cake mix)
1 cup chocolate chips (mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate)
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 cup diced candied orange peel (DON'T use the store bought stuff - leave it out otherwise)


1 teaspoon each of orange and vanilla extracts
1 pound (1 box) powdered sugar
8 TBSP butter, (1 stick), softened to room temperature
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice OR 1 TBSP 1/2 and 1/2
2 teaspoons orange juice
Zest of 1 orange


Cupcake liners
2 muffin pans

For the Cupcakes:

Prepare the chocolate cake mix according to the package instructions, substituting the orange juice for the water.

Toss the chocolate chips with the flour.

Fold the chocolate chips and candied orange peel into the chocolate mixture (if you haven't made your own candied orange peel - and who hasn't - it is better to skip this ingredient rather than use the vile stuff you can buy at the supermarket).

Line the muffin pans with the cupcake liners. Fill each liner and bake the cupcakes according to the package instructions.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for at least 1 hour on a cooling rack prior to frosting.

For the Frosting:

Combine all the ingredients into a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Using the a small spatula, place about a tablespoon of frosting atop each cupcake.


OK. It's a baking recipe so I have no particular insights into why you do certain things a certain way. Next time I'll be back cooking things; until then, remember you can do it, you can cook.

1 comment:

WineWizardBob said...

Fresh out of South Africa, Jam Jar, a sweet shiraz. About 12 a bottle. Any wine that promotes itself as being delicious with a double bacon cheeseburger and chocolate desserts can't be all bad. Serve chilled with these cupcakes and keep the insulin close by.