I love the combination of chocolate and orange. These simple little cupcakes take these classic flavours, and for a grown-up touch have cinammon and ginger which adds a lingering warmth.
The quantities for the buttercream are enough for 12 small cupcakes if you spread it on with a knife or the back of a spoon like I do. More artistic types who prefer to pipe it on, double up the quantities for perfectly piped peaks.
Are you ready? Apron tied? Hands washed? Ok, here we go.
1) Preheat oven to 180c/ Gas 4/ 360f. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with 12 paper cases.
Ingredients - For the Cake
4 oz butter (softened)
4oz caster sugar
3 ozs cake flour
1oz unsweetened cocoa powder
zest of one orange.
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Some of the juice from the orange (optional, we'll talk more about that in a minute)
First of all, I keep the cocoa and flour in the scale bowl at the same time, and add the spices. That way it can all be sifted in together, in stages.
In a mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Break the eggs into a bowl, and beat lightly with a fork. Add a little to the butter and sugar, and beat well until incorporated.
Sift in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix well. Then a little more egg, little more dry stuff, and so on, until it's all used up.
Add the orange zest, and give it one more good mix.
Now, here's where the orange juice might come in. You're looking for the mix to have a dropping consistency. This basically means that when you spoon up a little of the mix with a metal spoon, it will drop off if you tap the spoon on the side of the bowl. If you're eggs were a little larger, it might have this consistency, so no OJ for you (or you can drink it). If it's a little thick, squeeze in some orange juice, about a 1/4 of the orange should be plenty.
Spoon the mix into the paper cases (about 1 heaped tsp per case) bake in the middle of the oven for about 14 minutes. Like all cakes of this sort, they're done if they spring back when pressed, or when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
When baked, immediately remove from tin, and put on a wire rack to cool.
For the chocolate Butter-Cream
4 oz softened butter
4oz icing/confectioners sugar
1 oz unsweetened cocoa powder.
1/2 a tsp ground ginger
Juice of 1/4 of an orange.
1 tsp of orange zest.
Beat the butter in a mixer for a little bit until it's really light and creamy. Add all the other ingredients, beat well until it's a pile of creamy, chocolatey deliciousness. Spread on top of your cooled cupcakes.
Brew the coffee, invite people to share, or hide the cake tin where no one else can find it. That's entirely up to you. x