Dark Chocolate Orange Cupcakes topped with Orange Spice Buttercream and Candied Orange Peel

Latest Posts

Christiana George
Christiana Georgehttps://www.thetarttart.com/
Welcome to The Tart Tart, my not-so-tart take on food, writing, and photography. I decided to start up this sucker after repeated nagging from Chris, my fiance, who cannot understand why the sight of a farmer’s market would send me into ecstatic convulsions (okay, total overstatement. I can be quite the histrionic at times).With that said, my interests, though chiefly in food, also span fashion, design, literature, and photography. So don’t mind the seemingly non sequitur odds and ends I toss in posts at times.

It has come to my attention that I need a new clock.  My current one simply doesn’t have enough hours on it to allow me to do everything I want to do in a day.  If anyone know of one that does, please tell me where they got it from.  I need to find more time to blog and more time to bake!

The other night I came home from work and just had to make cupcakes.  Of course, I didn’t go to the store, so I had to work with what I had in the pantry.  I did find a recipe for dark chocolate cake on he back of my Hershey’s Cocoa box.  That sounded good, but needed a little umph.   I have noticed some food bloggers adding pudding to their cake mixes lately and thought, well why not try Jello.  I had some orange flavored jello on hand and some orange marmalade.  Mmmmm….dark chocolate and orange, how can I go wrong?  Time to experiment.

Dark Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
(adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens)


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) orange flavored Jello
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) Smucker’s Sweet Orange Marmalade (reserve 3 tbsp. for frosting)

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and orange marmalade. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in boiling water and Jello (batter will be thin).
  5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins using a small ladle. If you use a regular scoop like I did, you will make a mess.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. Makes about 36 cupcakes.

OH. MY. GOD.  The cupcakes came out delicious.  They were moist and dark chocolaty, with a hint of orange.  Just perfect symmetry.  So next I had to come up with a frosting. Although, hubby and I did eat a few cupcakes just as they were.  I thought about a cream cheese frosting, but hubby doesn’t like cream cheese, so I made a buttercream frosting instead, inspired by the orange in the cupcakes.

Orange Spice Buttercream

by The Sweet Chick


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp. reserves orange marmalade
  • 1/4 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. or more milk


  1. Using an electric or stand mixer, mix together butter, 3 tbsp. marmalade and pumpkin spice on high until well blended.
  2. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until mixture is thick and creamy.
  3. Add orange juice and milk. If needed add more milk until consistency is fluffy.

I wanted to add just one more element to the cupcake, something fun and different.  So I tried my hand at candied orange peels.  I found a basic recipe online and went with it.  They are actually not hard to make.

Candied Orange Peel


  • 3 medium oranges
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar (plus extra to roll peels in)

Cooking Directions

  1. Remove peel from oranges with an orange peeler or a spoon. Also remove most of the pith or white membrane from the peel.
  2. Add salt to 2 cups water. Soak peels in the salty water overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse peels thoroughly. In a pot, cover peels with cold water and heat to boiling. Then drain and repeat process 3 times to remove any bitter taste.
  4. Cut peels into strips. In a sauce pan, combine peel, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until peel is translucent.
  5. When done, drain any extra liquid and roll peel in granulated sugar and allow to dry completely.

I chopped up the strips and added them to the tops of the cupcakes.  Perfect texture and taste.  Now I need to get back to looking for a new clock.

Latest Recipes

More Recipes Like This