I got an email in the middle of Saturday afternoon from a grad student in the lab declaring that one of these cupcakes saved his Saturday afternoon. Such things make me smile. In fact, that was precisely the reason why I woke up extra early in the morning to make just this batch of cupcakes earlier this week – to save afternoons.
With the arrival of spring and my bicycle brake cables replaced, I started biking into work again. It’s six miles, one direction, and thanks to the greenway and the general lack of topography in Minneapolis, not all that difficult. But it is six miles and five months since I commuted by bike. So a chocolate cupcake at 4 pm can be a lifesaver. For some reason, it needed to be chocolate + orange + coffee. And a little boozy … Kahlúa in the cupcakes and Grand Marnier in the frosting, which is an added bonus.Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Mocha Frosting Makes 12 cupcakes ********** Chocolate Orange Cupcakes 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice zest from 1 orange
3 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons mocha sauce
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier **********
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 375º. Line muffin pan. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, oil, egg, orange juice, zest, Kahlúa and vanilla. While mixing the dry ingredients, slowly add the wet ingredients until just combined. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
For the Grand Marnier Mocha Frosting:
Beat butter, powdered sugar, mocha sauce, orange juice and Grand Marnier together until light and fluffy. This frosting will be a little loose at room temperature (I think it might have to do with the amount of mocha sauce) but a quick chill (10 – 15 minutes) in the refrigerator makes it perfectly suitable to frost.