blood orange chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting



For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup | 5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 cup | 7 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche *
  • 2 tablespoons warm whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated blood orange zest

For the buttercream frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon blood orange extract* (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)


To make the cupcakes:

  1. Position rack in middle and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with greaseproof liners (these are my favorite)
  2. In a stainless saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Cook until it becomes golden in color and has a nutty smell. Swirl the pan to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Stir in sugar and salt and mix on low to combine.  Add the browned butter, water, and egg. Beat on low speed until smooth.  Add the creme fraiche, whole milk, extract, and blood orange zest. Mix until just combined.
  4. Divide batter between the 12 cupcake liners, filling about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and a pinch of salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat until smooth.
  2. Add in 3 tablespoons of the heavy cream and the extract and beat until smooth. 
  3. Add in an additional tablespoon of cream for a thinner consistency. 
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip and pipe frosting in a circle, starting on the outer edge of cupcake. If you wish to spread frosting on cupcake, use an offset spatula to swirl it on top. 


To make your own creme fraiche: place 2 cups heavy whipping cream and stir in 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass jar (I use a large Weck jar), fitted with a non-reactive lid. Let stand at room temperature for 8-24 hours until thickened. Stir and place in refrigerator and use over the next 3 to 4 days. 

If you are using a blood orange extract, be sure it is for culinary use and not essential oil. Not all oils are safe for consumption. I buy my food-grade extracts at OliveNation.

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