Chocolate Spiced Cupcakes with Clementine Cream Cheese Frosting*

Do you ever wonder why we eat or drink certain things or think about who did it first? Or am I the only one? Sometimes also known as all the time I let my brain run off on little tangents. Like why are we the only species that drinks milk from another animal? Or for that matter, why are we the only ones that drink milk all our lives? But then again, I’m really not looking to start going to the store and buying human milk…so I guess I’ll let that one go. But what about coffee? Who took the coffee bean off the tree and thought, Hey! If you boil this in some water, it will make a delicious drink! Or who reached into the earth, pulled out a potato, and ate it? Because you know there is no way they knew to boil it before eating it. And, seriously, who got stuck with the job of taste testing things? Someone had to be in charge of figuring out what you had to cook and what you ate raw. Or what, like a coconut, you had to break into before you could actually eat it? I’m pretty sure if we were all a caveman tribe and it were up to me to figure out what we could eat, we would probably die of starvation.

I usually straw away from subbing odd ingredients into cake mixes. And when I first made these cupcakes, I followed the recipe step for step. The original recipe calls for pumpkin and actually calls them Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Orange Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting. But everyone agreed…they tasted nothing like pumpkin. Not even a little bit. Despite not being what I expected, they were however delicious! The pumpkin made for a really moist cake and combined with the orange frosting…well lets just say I wasn’t able to just have one. The second time I made them, I figured I would skip the pumpkin and use applesauce instead. I have seen many times where people have used applesauce to reduce the fat/calorie content of a cake and to create a extra most cake, so I figured why not? It was perfect! I also used clementine zest instead of a regular orange zest for the frosting and found them to give it a better flavor. If you are a chocolate/orange fan these are definitely the cupcakes for you!

 

 

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Chocolate Spiced Cupcakes with Clementine Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Recipe Note: You may substitute back in the pumpkin puree instead of the applesauce if you have it on hand. Both ways are truly delicious...but do not expect the cupcakes to taste like pumpkin. It will just make for a very moist cupcake!

Ingredients:

Chocolate Spiced Cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
a pinch of cardamom
1/3 cup buttermilk
12 ounces applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup grandulated sugar
3 large eggs

Clementine Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated clementine zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
4 cups confectioners' sugar
orange food coloring if desired

Directions:

For the cupcake:
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, applesauce, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer, set on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.

Divide the batter among the cupcake liners (about 1/4 cup batter per cupcake) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean -- about 18-22 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 7 minutes. Remove cupcakes and allow to cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

For the frosting:
Blend the cream cheese, butter, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium speed, until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy -- about 3 more minutes.

Add the food coloring and gently stir until the color is uniform. Then refrigerate frosting for at 30 minutes to an hour. You want the frosting to be pretty stiff to actually pipe onto the cupcakes. Then using your favorite piping bag and tip, work fast to frost each cupcake. Store cupcakes in refrigerator until serving time. Allow cupcakes to warm up for about 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from: Country Living, as seen on Good Life Eats

 

 

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18 Responses to “Chocolate Spiced Cupcakes with Clementine Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. 1

    The Blue-Eyed Bakers — October 26, 2010 @ 8:59 am

    These look delicious! Even if they don’t taste like pumpkin, it’s such a great ingredient for making cakes perfectly moist – we will definitely be giving these a try!

  2. 2

    Jenna — October 26, 2010 @ 10:11 am

    Both beautiful and delicious! Great job.

  3. 3

    Jessica — October 26, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    I like that you used applesauce because you can make it year round. Using pumpkin or applesauce. That orange frosting sounds so good!

  4. 4

    ErinsFoodFiles — October 26, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    Yet again your photos of cupcakes have blown me away. C’magnifique!

  5. 5

    Kerri — October 26, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    they look amazing!

    ps – what is cardamom? i realize that i am on the internet and could google it… but i want to learn something from jessica! ;)

  6. 6

    Nicole — October 26, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

    You didn’t include pumpkin puree in your ingredient list for the frosting, but it is mentioned in the directions! Is there pumpkin in the frosting? And if so, how much?

    Thanks!! I will definitely be trying these!

    • Jessica replied: — October 26th, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

      Nicole,

      Oops! Meant to remove the pumpkin completely! I did not put it in the frosting and will go right now and remove it from the post!

      Thanks for letting me know!
      Jess

  7. 7

    Nicole — October 26, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    Oh ok! Have you tried the frosting with the pumpkin as well? Is it delicious both ways?

    • Jessica replied: — October 26th, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

      Nicole,

      Yes the first time I tried the recipe with pumpkin. But I do not think you could actually taste the pumpkin in the icing (or cake). But you can definitely still add it back in!

  8. 8

    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — October 26, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

    There are so many flavors that I love in these cupcakes, and yet they’re so simple! They’re absolutely adorable and perfect for Halloween! Thanks for sharing, Jessica.

  9. 9

    Jennifer — October 26, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    Your cupcakes are gorgeous, and I love the clementine frosting. What a flavour combination.

  10. 10

    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) — October 26, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

    Those cupcakes are beautiful!! I’ve sometimes thought of stuff like that….where did people get the idea to eat some of this stuff?

  11. 11

    Josie — October 27, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

    I love the color of the frosting – so pretty and vibrant! And I love orange and chocolate together, so yummy!

  12. 12

    jenna laughs — October 28, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    Clementine cream cheese frosting? That is so clever and sounds so delicious. Great recipe!

  13. 13

    Eliana — October 28, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

    This is one fine mighty cupcake! With so many incredible flavors, I know I could not be trusted around a batch of them.

  14. 14

    Sharlene — October 28, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

    I adore chocolate and orange together! I’ll definitely be making these!

  15. 15

    Chocolate Spiced Cupcakes with Clementine Cream Cheese Frosting — September 9, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

    […] Find the recipe at :  http://www.thenovicechefblog.com […]

  16. 16

    Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden — September 9, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

    Chocolate and orange is my favorite flavor combo whether it’s about store bought treat or bake goods, but I’ve never try to add clementine in the dessert. It sounds great, i have to try it.
    I’ve featured this recipe on my blog, hoping that you don’t mind, but if you do, please contact me and I’ll remove it. All the best.

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