Orange : Chocolate : Hazelnut

by Sandra

(2010 edit:  Even though this post is over three years old, it is still the most-visited post on my blog, so if you’ve come in search of chocolatey, hazelnutty, orangey goodness, you have come to the right place. Welcome! Just a note about the photographs that used to accompany this post. I used to keep them hosted at Flickr, but then deleted the majority of my photographs on Flickr. So for the last few months, there have been blank, white placards dotting this post, where the photos should be. I’ve since removed the dead links and re-inserted the two photographs from the baking session that still exist. Sorry they’re not very good! I hope you enjoy making and eating these. They’re still my old boss’s favorite of all time. Cheers!)

And now for the recipe. You may read about the saga of making these things here. These got pretty rave reviews all around, and are extra delicious if you put them in the microwave for about fifteen seconds before you eat them. Yum…one of my favorites.

Orange-Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Ganache Filling and Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting
The cupcake recipe was modified from Ina Garten’s Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake (the recipe for which I actually found on Smitten Kitchen).
1⁄2 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1⁄4 c. grated orange zest (about 4 large oranges)
3 c. all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbs.
1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
3⁄4 c. buttermilk at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then the orange zest.
3. Sift together 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour.
4. Melt the chocolate and add into the orange batter.
5. Pour 2/3 full into the cupcake wrappers, smooth the top, and
bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.


Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
5 c. confectioner’s sugar
6 tsp. Frangelico

Directions
1. Cream butter and shortening with mixer for 3 minutes on high speed.
2. Add Frangelico.
3. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Mix on high speed for 5 minutes.

Nutella Ganache
8 oz. Nutella
1⁄2 c. heavy cream

Directions
Melt the Nutella and heavy cream in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

Assembly
1. After the cupcakes have had a chance to cool, scoop out the tops of the cupcakes with a mellon baller and cut off the “cone” part of the middle.
2. Drizzle in the Nutella ganache and replace the top of the cupcake.
3. Spread with the hazelnut frosting.
4. I decorated a few of them with leftover orange rind, but that’s optional.

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