I feel like this recipe for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes has been a long time coming, considering how many chocolate orange recipes I already have on my website! Well here it is finally, delicious chocolate orange sponges topped with yummy chocolate orange buttercream, and of course a piece of Terry's Chocolate Orange!
I will never get sick of chocolate orange, it is one of my top favourite flavours. It's such a festive flavour too, even though I eat it all year round, it's especially great for Christmas baking. These cupcakes are an easy and quick way to get your chocolate orange fix, I've made them so many times now and they hit the spot every time!
Ingredient Tips & Equipment Information
- Make sure all your ingredients (particularly the butter and eggs) are at room temperature before you start baking.
- For the best flavour, make sure to use a good quality orange extract and not an essence.
- I used unsalted butter for this recipe.
- Although I provide cup measurements, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients out using digital kitchen scales*. It is the most accurate way to measure ingredients and will ensure the best results. Digital scales are very low cost and can be purchased for around £12 ($16.50) .
- For teaspoon (tsp) and tablespoon (tbsp) measurements, please use measuring spoons* and not the type of spoons you eat with. Again this will ensure accuracy and provide the best results.
For the full recipe with measurements, head to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
Make the cupcake sponge by mixing together butter and sugar, whisking in eggs and orange extract, then whisking in self rasing flour, baking powder and cocoa powder.
Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases and bake them for 25 minutes, then put them on a cooling rack to fully cool.
For the buttercream, mixe together butter, icing sugar, orange extract and milk until smooth. Pipe or spread it onto the cupcakes, then decorate with the chocolate orange segments and sprinkles.
What can you use instead of orange extract?
I get my orange extract from either the supermarket or Amazon, and I do recommend it for this recipe. If you can't find orange extract for the sponge and buttercream, you can use the zest of two oranges for the sponge. Orange juice is not strong enough to get orange flavour in the buttercream, you would have to use a lot and it could make the buttercream sloppy. What I would suggest instead is mixing 100g melted chocolate orange into the buttercream, then adding 1 - 2 tbsp milk to loosen it if it's too thick.
How long do the cupcakes last for and can they be frozen?
The cupcakes will last for 2-3 days in an airtight container in a cool place. You can freeze both the cupcakes and the buttercream. To freeze them separately, wrap the cupcakes well in cling film or put them in an airtight container. The buttercream can be frozen in a sealed tub. To freeze them decorated, freeze the cupcakes on a plate until frozen solid, then carefully wrap in cling film. Remove the clingfilm when you take the cupcakes out of the freezer to defrost, as if they defrost with it still on it could damage the buttercream.
Can you make the cupcakes with plain/all purpose flour?
Self raising flour, which is very commonly used in the UK where I am based, already contains a raising agent and a little salt too. Therefore if you want to swap it for plain or all purpose flour, you will need to add some additional baking powder and also a little salt if you like. Some people like to add salt to cake recipes and some don't, so I'll leave that up to you as it won't affect the bake. The general advice is to add 2 teaspoons baking powder (a measuring teaspoon, not the kind you stir your coffee with) per every 200g plain or all purpose flour. So for this recipe you'd need to add 1 + ½ teaspoons baking powder. Please note, I have not tested this recipe using plain or all purpose flour.
Can the cupcakes be made gluten or dairy free?
Yes! For gluten free you can replace the self raising flour with a gluten free self raising flour blend. If you only have a gluten free plain flour blend, you will need to add baking powder. The general advice is to add 2 tsp baking powder per 200g flour, so for this recipe you'd need to add 1 + ½ teaspoons baking powder. You may also like to add ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum for better texture. Terry's Chocolate Orange is not gluten free, so you will also need to use an alternative orange flavoured chocolate to decorate. For a dairy free version, use a dairy free baking spread for the cupcakes and the buttercream. You will also need to decorate the cupcakes with a dairy free orange flavoured chocolate. If you want to make a vegan or egg free version, check out my Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes recipe for the details.
Can this recipe be made into a larger cake?
Yes! You might like my Chocolate Orange Cake recipe, my Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake recipe or my Chocolate Orange Drip Cake recipe.
More tips for making the Chocolate Orange Cupcakes:
- I used a Jem 1E nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, but you can use any nozzle you prefer or spread it on with a spoon.
- I recommend using a good quality orange extract (not an essence) to get the best orange flavour in these cupcakes. I like to use the brand Nielsen Massey
If you have any questions about this recipe, or if something went wrong and you need help, please use the comment form below and I will get back to you. You can also get in touch with me on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- Cupcake tin
- Mixing bowls
- Cooling rack
- Kitchen scales
- Electric hand mixer
- Piping bags
- Jem 1E Piping nozzle
- Orange extract
- Terry's Chocolate Orange
- Orange cupcake cases
*I earn a small amount of money if you buy the products after clicking on the links. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting The Baking Explorer!
More chocolate orange recipes...
- Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
- Chocolate Orange Fudge
- Vegan Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
- Chocolate Orange Biscotti
- Chocolate Orange Baked Donuts
- Terry's Chocolate Orange Cheesecake (No Bake)
- Chocolate Orange Brownies
- Chocolate Orange Pancakes
- Chocolate Orange Cake
- Chocolate Orange Custard Tart
- Chocolate Orange Cookies
- Chocolate Orange Ice Cream (No Churn)
- Chocolate Orange Drip Cake
- Chocolate Orange Rocky Road
- Chocolate Orange Traybake Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
- Chocolate Orange Yule Log
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
For the sponge
- 175 g Butter or baking spread softened, unsalted
- 175 g Caster sugar
- 3 Eggs large
- 2 tsp Orange extract
- 150 g Self raising flour
- 25 g Cocoa powder
- A pinch of baking powder
For the buttercream
- 200 g Butter softened, unsalted
- 350 g Icing sugar
- 50 g Cocoa powder
- 2 tsp Orange extract
- 1 ½ tsp Milk
- 12 segments of Terry's chocolate orange
- Orange sprinkles optional
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases
- For the cupcake sponge, mix together the butter and caster sugar, ideally using an electric mixer, until smooth and fluffy
- Add the eggs and orange extract and whisk them in well
- Then gently whisk in the self raising flour, baking powder and cocoa powder
- Divide the mixture between the cupcakes cases, and bake them for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. Put them on a rack to cool completely
- Make the buttercream by mixing together the butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar, then add the orange extract and milk, and mix until smooth. You can do this by hand, but an electric whisk are stand mixer with paddle attachment will provide the best results. If the buttercream is too stiff, you can add a little more milk
- Spread or pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcakes
- Decorate with the Terry's chocolate orange segments and orange sprinkles
- Store in an airtight container in a cool place and eat within 3 days
NB. this post is NOT sponsored by Terry's chocolate orange - I just love their product!
Rebecca - Glutarama
Oh Kat, you really know how to get my tastebuds racing! I adore chocolate orange, I have found one brand that do a really good DF chocolate orange but it's just not the same as Terry's hahaha. I reckon I could recreate this gluten free for my family though so at least they get to have a munch on a cupcake.
I don't usually comment on recipies but this was so yummy!! I managed to get 16 cupcakes with this recipe but I did beat the butter for a while so maybe that's why, I am definitely not complaining tho more for me 😂. This is probably my new favourite cupcake and buttercream I just love chocolate orange, thankyou so much.
Thanks so much for commenting Stacey - honestly it means the world to me to get such lovely feedback, it really makes my day and puts a smile on my face! Yes beating the butter for a while will have put lots of air into it and made the mix extra fluffy 😀 So glad you liked the buttercream too, it's one of my favourites as well!
These are delicious! Really quick and easy to make
Made these today, absolutely scrumptious ❤️🤤 we managed to make 15 from the recipe so that was a bonus ❤️
Thanks for yet another yummy recipe x
These look so pretty and delicious, ideal for last-minute gifts or to serve to family at Christmas.
Helen - Cooking with my kids
These look really tasty - I have a little baker who would really love them!
Cat | Curly's Cooking
I absolutely love chocolate orange and these look beautiful.
Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie
Wow - I can't believe you haven't already got these on the blog! Such a 'you' recipe 😀 I could gobble quite a few of these down in one sitting! Eb x
I know, it was a long time coming! Probably because every time I make them they get eaten so fast 😀
These are lovely. Great recipes. Thank you for sharing!
Just a quick question: is the nutrition information based per portion, per 100g or is that all in its entirety. Sorry I only ask for a diabetic who carb counts.
Hi Scott, it's per serving, they are however calculated using an automatic online tool, so if you want exact values based on the ingredients you use then I would advise using an app like MyFitnessPal to work it out. There will be variations depending on if you use butter or baking spread, or with different brands. I hope this helps.
Amazing recipe once again! I’ve been waiting to these for so long, I made half the amount of icing for mine but they still tasted amazing. I’m going to try and add some orange zest into the cupcake next time for some extra zing
I love chocolate orange, it’s so tasty! These cupcakes were so enjoyable to make & taste very yummy! Thank you Kat for another amazing recipe!
Thank you so much for the lovely feedback Leah! I'm so happy you enjoyed the cupcakes 🙂
I made these a few months back and thought they were amazing. Such a great recipe, easy to make and clear instructions. My husband wouldn't let me take any to work as he liked them so much 😂 They didn't last long in our house! I've just chosen to make them for a charity bake to raise some money for our local hospital and have had 2 orders for them already. I can't wait to make them again although am gutted not to be getting any this time! I'm sure I'll come back to this recipe time and time again.
Hi Kelly, I'm so happy these cupcakes have been such a big hit for you!
I made these today and put chocolate orange eggs on top and they’re amazing. I highly recommend these!! X
Thank you Macie!
Yum yum yum!!! Made these for my husband (and me…!) last night. Turned out so light and tasty! My knew favourite! But I think that whenever I try a new one of your recipes! Highly recommend giving these a go!
Made these last week. They tasted really good. Swapped out the cocoa out in the icing for icing sugar and used food colouring to make the icing orange. Tasted like those orange poppet sweets 🙂
Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Easy to follow instructions
Thanks so much Sharon!