Chocolate Blood Orange Cupcakes

So you're probably wondering why I love blood oranges so much right? (Even if you're not, I'm going to tell you.)

The first week I was studying abroad in Italy, my roommates took a trip to the local grocery store. Now I didn't speak much Italian at that point so the whole experience was a little bit overwhelming. Fortunately we went during an off-peak time so there weren't people everywhere to make it even worse.

But the store was tiny and I couldn't read any of the labels so I stuck with fruits and vegetables and other such easily identifiable things... or so I thought.

Well I got home that night and went to eat an orange from the 5lb bag I bought. I started to peel it, and started to break apart the wedges, and then I notice that the orange was a weird color. Being in a different country and not knowing how fresh food was, etc., I figured the orange had gone bad. So I started to peel a new one... same problem.

It took me about 4 oranges before I realized that these weren't the same oranges I was used to. After giving one a try, I fell in love, and proceeded to buy one of those massive bags every few days.

Since they're so hard to find in the Northeast US, I gradually forgot how good they were. But when I saw a recipe on another blog about a year ago that used blood oranges, I knew I needed to find some and get baking. It took me a year, but here we are...

Chocolate & Blood Orange Cupcakes

1c coconut milk
1/3c pure olive oil
1t vanilla extract
1t blood orange zest
3/4c sugar
1c flour
1T almond meal
1/3c cocoa
3/4t baking soda
1/2t baking powder
1/4t salt
1/2c butter, at room temperature
2-3c confectioners' sugar
1/2t vanilla extract
3T blood orange juice
1t blood orange zest
1-2T heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract (1t), and orange zest.

Note: For this recipe, you'll need about one large orange for both the zest and juice.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and almond meal.
(I didn't have any almond meal on hand, and couldn't find it at the store, so I substituted corn meal.)

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Divide the batter between 12 cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes, then let cool.

While the cupcakes are baking/cooling, make the icing.
Cream the butter until fluffy. Beat in 1c confectioners' sugar.
Mix in orange juice, zest, and vanilla extract.
Gradually add more confectioners' sugar and heavy cream until desired consistency.

Can't find blood oranges? This recipe would work equally as well with any type of orange, but the frosting would obviously be orange instead of such a pretty pink color.


  1. Definitely making this upon my return to the US, since about the only ingredients I can actually get in Italy are the blood oranges, butter and olive oil.

  2. @Kate Greenburg just wait for the next post of the week... definitely something you can get all the ingredients and SO worth trying. posting it just for you!