Chocolate Orange Cupcakes + South Naples Citrus Grove

This dessert recipe for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes is made healthier by using whole grain flour and old fashioned oats. The cupcakes are naturally sweetened with honey and include an Orange Glaze made with the zest from Honeybell oranges.

K and I traveled to southwestern Florida in February for a long weekend to visit his family. This was baby C’s first flight and he could not have been a better traveler. It is so true that 3 months old is a great age to travel. He’s very portable right now and like our pediatrician told me, don’t worry about the flight because the baby is too young to lick the airplane seats. 🙂

We visited the South Naples Citrus Grove on our trip, located outside Naples, and ordered a box of baby honeybell oranges to be shipped home. The citrus smell at the grove was unreal – like a whiff of fresh squeezed orange juice, times ten.

Honeybell oranges {also called Tangelos} are very sweet and juicy and the most popular fruit at the South Naples grove. We ordered the “baby” version which are slightly smaller in size than regular Honeybells.

Our box arrived a few weeks ago and it’s almost gone. I sacrificed one of the last oranges to create a new dessert recipe: Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. These cupcakes are made healthier by using whole grain flour {white whole wheat flour} and old fashioned oats. The cupcakes are sweetened with honey and contain applesauce and coconut oil in place of vegetable oil.

The orange flavor comes through by adding orange juice, lots of orange zest, and orange extract to the cupcake batter.

Any orange will work in this recipe, but find a Honeybell if you can!

I added an Orange Glaze and sugar sprinkles, but these cupcakes are healthy enough for breakfast if you leave them plain. I might even call them “muffins” without the frosting.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
Yields: 12 cupcakes

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats, ground into flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
2 Tablespoons orange zest

Optional: 1 teaspoon espresso powder

Orange Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon orange zest
3 Tablespoons milk

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Make oat flour by processing 1 cup of old fashioned oats in a food processor.
*Mix wet ingredients in a bowl: egg, orange juice, applesauce, coconut oil, and honey.
*Add dry ingredients: cocoa powder, white whole wheat flour, oat flour, and baking soda.
*Stir in vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest, and espresso powder.
*Add batter to a muffin tin. Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes.
*When the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk and orange zest to make the Orange Glaze.

{Cupcake recipe adapted from allrecipes recipe for Moist Chocolate Muffins. Glaze recipe adapted from the epicurious recipe for a Basic Sugar Glaze.}

Looking for more Chocolate Orange recipes? Try my:

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