Chocolate orange ganache cupcakes

by Juliet Sear

Rich, gooey sponge cakes from baker extraordinaire Juliet Sear


For the sponge:
200g softened butter, unsalted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Zest of 2 oranges
200g golden caster sugar
4 x medium free range eggs, beaten lightly
200g self-raising flour

For the chocolate ganache:
200g plain dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
75ml double cream
2 tsp orange extract
1 shot (25 cl) of Grand Marnier (optional)


Preheat your oven to 180C.

Beat your butter, vanilla, orange zest and sugar together until smooth, creamy and pale white. It should be fluffy in texture.

Slowly add your eggs into the mix, about 1 egg's worth at a time, beating until combined. Don't worry if it looks a bit curdled. Gently mix in the flour on slow with a food mixer, or fold in with a spoon.

Pop in your muffin cases, fill just over half way and bake for approx 12-15 mins—check after 10, all ovens vary. To check they are cooked, test with a metal skewer or sharp knife, it should come out clean. Once cooked, turn out on a wire rack.

Now for the fun part, the chocolate topping! Melt your chocolate, butter, golden syrup and cream in for 1 min at a time on a low setting in the microwave so the chocolate doesn't burn, stir each time until your pouring ganache is smooth and silky. You can also do this the conventional way on the hob over a pan of simmering water of course. Once it’s all melted, stir in the orange extract and Grand Marnier if using.

The easiest way to top the cakes is to pour your chocolate into a jug with a lip and slowly trickle the chocolate on to the sponge, taking care not to over fill. Once you have what looks like almost enough, gently tap the cake case on to your surface by picking up and banging carefully, so the chocolate icing ganache neatly covers the top.

Once set for a couple of hours, you can go crazy with your toppings. There are loads of options in the including gold chocolate buttons, readymade iced flowers glitters, sprinkles or if you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own decoration, like a gold sugar snowflake.

Recipe: Juliet Sear