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SugarCraft at Home: Chocolate Orange Cupcakes



When I asked Kainaz for a recipe of hers that I could recreate at home, I was wondering if she will share a brownie recipe. Or maybe the recipe for her unique orange loaf cake. Instead, she sent me something that's better than both - an orange chocolate cupcake with a spiced chocolate ganache. The cupcakes, with very little cocoa and loads of orange - both zest and orange juice - come out the color of brown sugar and taste quite distinctly of citrus. And while I make ganache regularly, this is one of the best versions I have come across. Kainaz not only adds more orange to the dark chocolate but also add spices like nutmeg and star anise that pop up as little flavour notes as you bite into the cupcake.

The batter is pretty easy to put together. Don't worry if it feels thinner than your regular cupcake batter; the cupcakes rise quite nicely in the oven. The only trouble I had was that my chocolate chips all sank to the bottom and stuck to the wrappers but if you are willing to get your hands on the last crumbs - as the tasters in my office were - it's not entirely a bad thing. So if you are looking for a little citrus kick to your chocolate, here goes the recipe for a dozen cupcakes (but it's easily halved).

Ingredients
For Cupcake base
Sugar- 125 gms
Butter- 125 gms
Flour- 115gms
Cocoa- 10 gms
Baking powder- 5 gms
Eggs- 4 (55gms each)
Chocolate chips- 50 gms
Orange zest- from 2 oranges
Orange juice- 1 orange (approx 40ml of juice)

For Spiced Orange Ganache
Dark chocolate -180gms (Kainaz says 55% but I used 70%)
Fresh dairy cream- 120gms
Cinnamon sticks- 1 noz
Star anise- 1/2 noz
Nutmeg powder- 1/2 tsp
Butter- 30 gms
Orange zest- from 2 oranges
Orange essence - 1/2 tsp

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line 12 cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers. Cream butter and sugar till smooth. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Beat eggs and orange juice together till homogeneous, slowly add it to the beaten butter mixture. Fold in flour mixture and chocolate chips and zest. Pour into lined cupcake moulds and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool while you make the ganache.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Heat the cream along with the spices except the nutmeg powder. Bring to the boil and turn off the gas. Cling wrap the vessel and leave the cream to infuse for about 2 hours. Strain the cream, then weigh it. Cream should weigh a little less than 120 grams, add
more cream to make up for any loss during heating. Bring back to boil and pour over the chopped chocolate along with the nutmeg powder. Leave for 15 minutes. Whisk the mixture from the middle towards the outside of the vessel to get a smooth chocolate ganache. Add the butter and blend it in. Add zest of one orange and the orange essence. Leave to cool.

Once cooled, ice the cupcake bases with chocolate ganache and sprinkle remaining zest to decorate.

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