~Sweet Lab~

sweet & accessible recipes, collected or designed by myself

Dark Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes

Just in time for Halloween!


  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp Water (a bit more than 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt (no buttermilk?)
  • 1 small beaten egg (or 4 Tbsp beaten egg)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 cup flour

Notes: Dark cocoa powder or normal cocoa powder both work. The recipe this was adapted from called for dark but when made with regular they were still very chocolately.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Using a wire whisk, whisk in cocoa until smooth, then add water and whisk again until smooth and incorporated. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in orange extract, sugar, buttermilk (or yogurt or substitute) and egg. Stir in soda, powder, salt and flour. Slightly lumpy batter is ok, I used the whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients and got a good smooth texture.

Line cupcake tins, I prefer to do 6 at a time but 12 should be fine. Fill tins about 3/4 full of batter so for 12 beautiful, rounded cupcakes, or a little less for 13-14 smaller cupcakes. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Make the recipe for Orange Flavored Cream Cheese Frosting while these bake and frost! 

Make sure your cupcakes are COOL before frosting them! Otherwise your frosting won’t spread easily and will melt.