When I was a little girl, a very practical Santa visited our house every Dec. 24th. (Anyone who has read my Bananas Foster Cupcakes post will not be surprised by this.) Each Christmas morning, we’d rush into the living room, pull down our stockings and dump out the contents to see what wonderments Santa left. Without fail, there’d be the new Christmas toothbrush and toothpaste, the new Christmas comb and brush, and maybe some new Christmas underpants. If we were really good that year, there might even be a coloring book and box of nice, new, sharp Crayola crayons. But no matter what, without fail, Santa always left a nice big orange in the toe of the stocking.
As I grew older and Santa got to know me better, the toiletries and coloring books were replaced by lovely little sparkling items that could easily be slipped over a wrist, onto a finger or around the neck. And he still left an orange in the toe of the stocking – but now the orange was a decadent treat made of rich dark chocolate infused with orange essence, wrapped in bright orange foil. One rap on the table and the ball broke into perfectly formed little chocolate orange segments – delicious!
And so the whole chocolate and orange combination is now something I’ve come to associate with the holidays. I’ve put together a yummy little cupcake using my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe (which just happens to be a vegan recipe – but don’t let that throw you, this is one awesome, moist chocolate cupcake), topped with some Grand Marnier-infused buttercream frosting. It’s a perfect holiday cupcake to take to a family gathering or holiday dessert swap…….just be sure to save one for Santa!
Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan)
Adapted from recipe found on Chow.com. Makes approx 12 cupcakes
1 cup soy (or almond) milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
Add sugar, oil, Grand Marnier to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake 18 – 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Grand Marnier Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 – 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
freshly grated orange peel
Cream butter. Add confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla and Grand Marnier. Blend in slowly at first, then beat, adding more sugar or Grand Marnier until desired consistency and flavor is reached.
Frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with grated orange peel.