These healthy-ish chocolate orange cupcakes are rich, decadent, perfectly sweet, and have that incredible citrus twist from the orange! They are made with mostly whole-food ingredients and are dairy free and gluten free too.
Delicious and Easy Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
Fall and winter to me brings richer, more decadent meals and treats (in contrast to delicious light spring treats). These chocolate orange cupcakes are bursting with flavour that’s satisfying, and perfect for any celebration that the fall (or winter) season brings. Think Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, any other special occasion.
Whether you are craving a sweet treat, or want to wow a small crowd, these chocolate orange cupcakes are a must try!
These cupcakes are surprisingly healthy (or healthier!) made with mostly whole food ingredients. They do not contain refined flours, and only have a very limited amount of refined sugars compared to traditional chocolate cupcakes.
The sweetness comes mostly from pure maple syrup and melted dark chocolate and the icing can be homemade or you can opt for a store-bought icing (a little more indulgent) and add in the neutral orange flavour yourself.
Do chocolate orange cupcakes contain real orange?
These ones definitely do! While some varieties or orange chocolate cupcakes contain orange extract, orange flavouring, or pieces of Terry’s chocolate orange, these cupcakes contain actual orange juice and orange zest.
I find using real, whole oranges for the recipe creates a really subtle and natural orange taste rather than one that is overpowering or artificial tasting.
The fresh orange and the dark chocolate go so well together to create a natural, bright, and vibrant flavour combo.
Ingredients for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
These delicious and easy chocolate orange cupcakes are made with just a handful of ingredients and the icing can be made the lazy way (use store-bought and make a small adjustment to get that orange twist) or you can do a homemade version.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Cupcakes:
- Almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill is great!)***
- Tapioca flour***
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Sea salt
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Maple syrup
- Dark chocolate chunks or chips
- Olive oil
- Pure vanilla extract
***A note about flours:
If you do not want to use almond flour, or do not have any, you can use all purpose flour as well. However, you will need to omit both the almond flour and the tapioca flour, then use 1 3/4 cup regular cake flour (or gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour) then reduce the bake time to 10-12 minutes.
I do not like this version as much to be honest, as when I was testing the recipe I found the regular and gluten-free flours to make the cupcakes less moist and they did not rise as nicely.
For the Icing:
- Option 1: Storebought chocolate icing of your choice + orange zest (this is what I opted for as I was going for a balance between healthy and indulgent with these cupcakes)
- Option 2: Homemade Chocolate coconut milk icing + orange zest
Whichever you choose, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the rich chocolate flavour cut with the bright citrusy orange. Such a lovely combo!
How To Make Orange Chocolate Cupcakes
Making these delicious cupcakes is a really easy process. While the homemade icing (if using) needs some time to chill, the actual time to prepare the cupcakes is less than 30 minutes.
Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
3. In a small pan over low heat combine the chocolate chunks and orange juice and stir until melted.
4. Combine the wet ingredients and the melted chocolate mixture in another bowl, and whisk.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined.
6. Fold the orange zest into the batter.
7. Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake liners.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick pulls clean from the centre of the cupcakes.
9. Let the muffins cool completely then pipe with icing as desired
10. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings/orange zest and enjoy!
Have you ever made chocolate orange cupcakes? Tell me about it in the comments and be sure to pin the photo below the recipe to save it for later!
More Chocolate Recipes You’ll Love:
- Healthy Chocolate Overnight Oats
- Soft Chewy Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Healthy Chocolate Cookies
- Healthy Dark Chocolate Turtles
Have a great weekend!