Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes with Ginger-Cream Cheese Icing

I decided to make another cupcake for the Iron Cupcake: Chocolate With a Twist contest. This time, it’s a chocolate cupcake with hints of orange flavoring, and it’s topped with a bold, fresh ginger-cream cheese icing! Here’s the recipe:

Your favorite from-scratch or box Devil’s Food Cake
3 tsp. orange extract
zest of 1 orange

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
3 c. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the cake according to your recipe or the box, adding the zest and extract. Pour into paper cupcake liners and bake for approximately 14 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool on wire racks. When cupcakes are completely cool, make the icing by mixing all ingredients together. Spread over the cupcakes and serve!

To give your cupcakes a little bit of flare, you can stripe your piping bag with orange gel colors to make this swirl pattern in your icing. It’s easy to do! You’ll need: a pastry bag (10-inch is plenty big enough), orange gel food colors (sold at Michael’s and made by Wilton), a new paint brush. Using the paint brush, paint a line of orange inside the bag from the tip about halfway up the bag. The more color you put, the more color your icing will have! Load the piping bag half full with your icing. Cut the tip off the bag (or use couplers if you’re familiar with them) so that you have about a 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch hole at the end. Pipe the icing onto the cupcake in the same manner as you would to create an ice cream cone! The icing will magically pick up the color that you painted on the inside of the bag.

Voting for Iron Cupcake starts soon! Please vote for my cupcakes! Don’t worry, I’ll remind you again when the time comes. Have a great holiday!