Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes

Keifer Derrin of food blog has a go at making cupcakes without the helpful aid of a food processor.

Out of all the baking I’ve done so far this has been the hardest. I thought cupcakes were meant to be easy. The one thing you definitely need when using this recipe is to own a food processor. If you use a hand blender it gets very messy, in fact when I finished I looked more like a child who had just finished a flour fight. Just a shame I don’t have enough room in my kitchen to have one! Also I’d never made a cupcake, had never made butter cream or knew how to do piping. So I knew it would be a challenge. Can you tell I’ve never had children?


  • 50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken up into pieces
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened and diced
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • 120ml full fat milk (at room temperature)
  • 1 unwaxed orange (although I used waxed and it seemed ok)
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • orange chocolate for decoration

For the butter cream

  • 4 tbsp full fat milk
  • 50g white chocolate broken up into pieces
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened and diced
  • 500g icing sugar, sieved

1×12 hole muffin tray lined with paper muffin or cupcake cases and a piping bag fitted with star tube.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl  set over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water). Once melted remove the bowl from the pan, stir the chocolate until smooth and leave to cool (it’s very important not to have boiling water when melting the chocolate as it will ruin it – trust me I learnt the hard way).

Put the flour, baking powder and caster sugar in a food-processor (you can use a hand blender but be prepared for things to get messy!) and pulse to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture has a ‘sandy’ texture. Mix the egg into the milk and then slowly add to the processor through the feed tube, while the machine is running. Scrape down the sides, add the melted chocolate to the bowl and run the machine until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture among the cup-cake cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just firm to the touch.

Meanwhile pare a long strip of the peel from the orange and reserve for the butter cream. Cut the orange in half and squeeze out the juice. Mix the granulated sugar into the juice.

Take the cakes out of the oven and pierce the hot cakes in several places, with a skewer or cocktail stick. Spoon over the orange syrup. Leave to soak in for 5 minutes, then lift  the cup cakes from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

For the butter cream, heat the milk (in a microwave or in a small pan, but do not boil) Add the strip of orange peel to the hot milk and leave to infuse until the milk is cold, discard the peel. Melt the white chocolate as you did with the dark chocolate (again ensure the water is not boiling or touching the bowl).

Using  an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy and gradually beat in the icing sugar and the cooled milk using a low speed (if you using a hand blender do not have it on high setting as again it gets very messy – again trust me on this). Finally, beat in the cooled melted chocolate.

Finally put the butter cream into the piping bag and pipe onto the cakes. Do not worry if you have gaps, as you can go over them with some more cream, as you can tell by the picture.

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About Keifer Derrin

Having worked in IT for over 20 years, Keifer Derrin quit his job to do something new. Not claiming to be a Gordon, Heston or even a Delia, Keifer’s passion for all kinds of food includes trying out new recipes whether they take 10 minutes or 8 hours to prepare. He also enjoys eating out - anything from The Ledbury to Pizza Express and even a local greasy spoon! Keifer also does voluntary work for the Food Chain, a charity that supplies food, meals & nutritional education to people who are HIV+. Check out his food blog at
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