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Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

When you put chocolate and orange together, something magical happens.
Introducing the Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcake. 

One of the most famous flavour combinations has joined forces to create these absolutely delicious, rich and zesty cupcakes with smooth swiss meringue buttercream.

Only 1 day to go until New Year’s eve and 2 days until we enter 2021, so now is the perfect time to get your special cupcakes at the ready. Let the countdown commence. 

This makes for the most spectacular, festive dessert with it’s rich chocolate and a citrus burst.

Moist and extremely rich vegan chocolate sponge with a core of my 3 ingredient chocolate orange ganache, topped with the most luxurious and silky smooth chocolate orange flavored swiss meringue buttercream.

I decorated these dashing cupcakes with a homemade orange segment and some freshly zested orange.  Details on the method.

You could go all out and make some candied orange slices, but I think these cupcakes have enough ‘wow’ factor as they already are. 

Looking for more chocolaty desserts?

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Prep: 10 minutes

Makes approximately 8-10 cupcakes

Baking time- 25 minutes

Level- Medium


Ingredients for the cupcakes

  • 160g of plain flour
  • 30g of cocoa powder
  • 120g of caster sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 70ml of vegetable oil
  • 200ml of hot water
  • 2 teaspoons of orange extract/flavouring
  • 2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Ingredients for the core

  • 200g of dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 100ml of dairy-free cream (I use Elmlea plant-based cream alternative, you can use coconut cream)
  • 1 teaspoon of orange extract/flavouring

Ingredients for the swiss meringue buttercream

  • 250g of dairy-free butter (I use Naturli)
  • 300g of icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract
  • 70ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine)



Method (cupcakes)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees c, fan and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases. 

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add in the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, add in the hot water, apple cider vinegar, oil, and orange extract and whisk to combine.

4. Pour the wet into the dry and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine. 

Distribute batter evenly between the cupcake cases. Tap the tin on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.

5. Place the tin into the middle of the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool fully before filling.

Method (ganache core)

1. Place the dairy-free cream into a medium-sized saucepan, and heat on medium until it comes to a low boil.

2. Place the dairy-free chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour over the hot cream and orange extract/flavouring.

Allow to sit for a few minutes then stir together.

The cream will melt the chocolate.

3. Add the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a round tip nozzle or snip the tip off your piping bag.

Core and fill each cupcake with the ganache.

Set aside whilst you make the buttercream.

Method (swiss meringue buttercream

1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.

2. Add in the icing sugar, cocoa powder and orange extract/flavouring and whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.

3. Add in the aquafaba and whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don’t over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add in more icing sugar until its thick and creamy. 

4. Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip nozzle and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.

Decorate with any leftover ganache ontop, orange zest and a chocolate orange chocolate (optional).

I melted some vegan dark chocolate, mixed in orange extract and added it in into orange segment moulds.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge, best eaten within 3 days of making.

The swiss meringue will harden when chilled, so allow 20 minutes before serving to start at room temperature. 

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  1. Stefanie
    June 2, 2022 / 2:16 pm

    Hi Holly
    Isn’t the Swiss meringue too sweet?
    Can I reduce the sugar?

  2. Alana
    July 15, 2022 / 3:18 pm

    These cupcakes we so fluffy and light but also chocolatey and decadent! They weren’t that sweet in my opinion but the frosting balanced that out so nicely. However, the frosting sort of separated and had little holes in it. I’m not sure if that just because I didn’t whip it enough? I just covered that up with some decorations on top. Regardless it tasted amazing!

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