These Terry’s chocolate orange cupcakes with orange buttercream frosting are easy and so delicious! Not a professional baker? No problem, I’m a self-taught home baker too and trust me when I say these cupcakes are a dream to make!
This is one of my favourite flavoured cupcake recipes and they make such an amazing orange chocolate dessert or sweet snack. Chocolate and orange is one of the best ever flavour combinations, and these chocolate orange cupcakes are the perfect treat for your taste buds.
These beautiful cupcakes are so indulgent, bursting with orange flavour and deliciously rich chocolate. The cupcake sponge itself is a moist chocolate orange cake, tasting just like Terry's chocolate orange in cake form.
This is topped with a generous creamy orange buttercream swirl. Stick a piece of Terry’s chocolate orange into each, drizzle some melted chocolate over the top of each cupcake and you’re good to go!
If you've not tried Terry's chocolate orange before, you're in for a treat! It's basically chocolate orange chocolate, shaped like an orange, and they're the perfect decoration for these easy cupcakes.
✏️ Making a tasty and easy recipe
One of the best things about this recipe is that you don’t need to be wasting time grating the zest off of an orange to have a beautifully flavoured cupcake. Using orange extract works super well to give such a delicious flavour, and saves a nice bit of time / grating your fingers.
I did test making the chocolate orange cupcakes and orange buttercream frosting using fresh orange zest, and don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely delicious, but I like the orange extract flavour just as much.
It’s also an ingredient that is readily available in most supermarkets where I am in the UK, and I've also been told it's just as easy to get in most big US grocery stores too.
One of my favourite things about these chocolate orange cupcakes is that they use vegetable oil (or canola oil) to keep the chocolate crumb super soft and moist.
This recipe also uses hot coffee (or hot water with instant coffee dissolved in it) to activate the cocoa powder, giving it a richer dark chocolate flavour whilst helping to keep the sponges from drying out.
🥘 Ingredients notes
- As with many of my baking recipes, I recommend starting with room temperature ingredients for these chocolate orange cupcakes. This will improve the consistency and ease at which your ingredients will mix together.
- Always sieve your flour, confectioners sugar (also called icing sugar) and cocoa powder. I used to be a bit lazy and skip this part, but it really makes such a difference to get you a lump-free mixture.
- When measuring your ingredients, I always recommend using weights rather than cups where possible for greater accuracy. This is especially important for the amount of flour.
🔪 Equipment notes
- I like to use digital scales for weighing my ingredients as it's easier and more accurate than other scales. I'm a fan of KitchenAid or Salter ones!
- It’s good to use measuring spoons for your tsp and tbsp amounts and making sure the scoops filled with your ingredients are levelled before adding them to your mix.
- If you're planning to use a stand mixer, I would recommend using the paddle attachment to make your cupcake batter and / or buttercream frosting.
- When using a stand mixer, I usually use a low speed for this cake batter as it's very liquid. For the buttercream frosting, I use a medium speed.
- For both your cupcake batter and buttercream frosting, I'd recommend that you scrape down the sides of the stand mixer bowl and the bottom of the bowl to ensure a more even mix.
Once decorated and finished, it's best to place cupcakes into an airtight container. These chocolate orange cupcakes should keep for several days in storage at room temperature.
If you want to freeze your cupcakes, you can wrap the unfrosted chocolate orange cupcakes in plastic wrap / cling film and freeze them.
Your buttercream frosting can also be frozen in an airtight container.
Both should keep for 1-2months in the freezer. Defrost and use as normal per recipe. The buttercream may need to be beaten again to whip up to nice and fluffy before use.
💭 Top tips for success
Cupcake making tips:
- I find that the best way to mix your ingredients is to slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. This will help to reduce the lumps in your mixture and means you'll be less likely to overbeat your cupcake batter.
- When pouring your cupcake batter into the cupcake liners in the muffin tin (I quite like the Wilton muffin pans!) you only need to fill each of your cupcake cases to roughly ⅔ full. If you fill it more than this, you might have your cupcakes looking a bit more like muffins as they may spill over!
- When making cupcakes with raising agents (i.e. using self-raising flour, baking powder, baking soda, etc.) such as these chocolate orange cupcakes, try to not over-mix your cake batter. The texture of your cake will be dense rather than a light and airy sponge.
- Don’t open the oven mid-bake. You’ll have probably heard this advice before, but it’s such an important factor that it bears repeating. I’ve been there before and nobody likes a cake with a sinkhole!
- Once your cupcakes have baked, it's best to remove them from the muffin tin and move them to a wire rack to cool. Using a cooling rack prevents moisture from gathering on the outside of your cupcake cases, which I've found can cause them to peel away from the cupcakes as they cool.
- For a gorgeously creamy buttercream frosting, start by beating your butter until it’s light and fluffy. It could just be me, but this always seems to take longer than I think. It should be several minutes of beating the butter if using a stand/electric mixer. This will go a long way in giving you creamy and light frosting.
- When making the orange buttercream, I like to add a few drops of orange coloring to really make them stand out. This is completely optional, but I think it adds an extra touch. I always recommend using food colouring gel instead of the liquid types, as this won’t affect the consistency of your icing.
- Another buttercream colouring tip is to only add the food coloring a drop at a time, and to note that your colour will develop and strengthen over time. This means that you should stop adding more colouring a shade lighter than you’d like your final colour to be.
If you’ve got any specific questions on making these chocolate orange cupcakes, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help out!
♻️ Alternatives and substitutions
Don’t have orange food colouring? Go back to your primary school colour wheel and mix a few drops of red and yellow food colouring together. That’s what I did for the batch in the photos here!
Can you substitute orange extract?
Yes, you can substitute every 1 tsp of orange extract for 2 tsp of orange zest.
For these easy chocolate orange cupcakes, I like how simple it is to use these orange extract, but they'd definitely taste even more citrussy substituting this for zest instead.
If you'd like to add more orange flavor to your chocolate orange cupcakes, you can also swap 1 tbsp of milk in the orange buttercream frosting for 1 tbsp of fresh orange juice.
Cupcake decorating ideas:
In the photos here I’ve used a Wilton 1M piping tip and piping bag to pipe a large swirl of orange buttercream over the top of my cupcake. I’ve then added half of a Terry’s chocolate orange slice into the side and drizzled melted milk chocolate over the top.
Instead of this, you can practise your piping skills and create fun designs such as buttercream roses or cover the top of your cupcake in buttercream stars to give a sort of flower effect.
Alternatively, you can use a large round tip to pipe a nice big swirl for a big whip effect.
Or, if you don't have a piping bag / pastry bag, you can use a plastic sandwich or freezer bag with the corner cut off to pipe a big round buttercream swirl on top of your cupcakes. I usually find this looks like a big ice-cream top! Alternatively, you can go back to basics and use a spatula, spoon or knife to spread a generous portion of frosting on your cupcakes.
Instead of the chocolate drizzle and chocolate orange piece, you can top your orange buttercream with sprinkles, orange zest, small pieces of orange peel (candied or fresh), orange slices or grated chocolate. So many fun decorating ideas for one cupcake!
Other tasty alternative ideas:
These cupcakes would be even more decadent with the addition of chocolate chips! You can even make them double or triple chocolate chip chocolate orange cupcakes by using a mixture of milk chocolate, dark chocolate and / or white chocolate.
🧁 Other goodies
So, I definitely recommend that you whip up a batch of these easy Terry’s chocolate orange cupcakes with a simple orange buttercream frosting! But as an avid home baker, I’m sure you’re asking yourself “what next?”.
Well, if you're a big Terry's chocolate orange fan, then why not check out my recipe for a white chocolate orange no-bake cheesecake? I love topping it with slices of limited edition Terry's white chocolate orange when I can get my hands on it. When it's not available though, the taste of this creamy cheesecake is just as good!
Terry’s chocolate orange cupcakes are one of my all-time best ever chocolate cupcake flavour ideas, but if you’re looking for more tasty chocolate cake recipes, check out my recipe for a delicious Oreo drip cake. It's perfect for your next big celebration or as an impressive birthday cake!
If you love chocolate as much as I do, then check out my recipe for slutty brownies – cookie dough, Oreos and brownies all in one! Or how about a grown-up treat in these Bailey's Irish cream Oreo brownies.
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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes:
- 125 ml (½ cups) vegetable oil (or sunflower or canola oil)
- 2 eggs
- 325 g (1 ½ cups) caster sugar (golden or white)
- 200 ml (¾ cups) milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 85 g (1 cups) cocoa powder
- 200 g (1 ⅔ cups) plain / all-purpose flour (see notes for self-raising flour swap)
- 3 ½ tsp baking powder
- 125 ml (½ cups) hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 125ml hot water)
- 140 g (⅔ cups) unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 280 g (2 ⅓ cups) icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1 tbsp milk (optional depending on consistency)
- 1 tsp orange extract
- A few drops orange food colouring (optional)
- 7 slices Terry’s chocolate orange (optional, half a slice per cupcake)
- 75 g (½ cups) milk chocolate (optional, melted to drizzle)
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes:
- Pre-heat oven: 190°C / 170°C (fan) / Gas Mark 5 / 375°F
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, oil, sugar, milk and orange extract together until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, sieve in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder and whisk them together.
- Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring together as you pour until just combined. There may be a few small lumps left, but that’s ok.
- Gradually add the hot coffee to the mixture, stirring as you pour until just combined. The sponge mix will be quite liquid.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases in the muffin tin and bake for 15-20mins until risen and springy to the touch. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack while you make the buttercream.
- Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
- Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
- Add in the milk, orange extract and a few drops of orange food colouring (optional), mixing until smooth.
Assembly and Decoration:
- Once your cupcakes have fully cooled, add your buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe large swirls onto each cupcake.
- If using, break the Terry’s chocolate orange slices in half before placing one half into the side of the buttercream swirl for each cupcake.
- If using a chocolate drizzle to decorate, melt your chocolate in the microwave (30 secs at a time) and add this to a piping bag with a small round nozzle (or a food bag and cut off the bottom corner). Drizzle this over your cupcakes then enjoy!
- You can swap the plain / all-purpose flour in this recipe for the same amount of self-raising flour and reduce the baking powder by 2 tsp. Scale this up as needed for a larger batch size.
* The nutrition information provided is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator and actual values may vary.