Sunday, 27 October 2013

Orange Cupcakes Filled with Vanilla Choc-Chip Custard and Topped with Chocolate Ganache

Have you ever put chocolate chips in your custard? If you haven't, try it! But make sure the custard is really smooth, cold and creamy (preferably home made) and the chocolate chips are really good quality. The result is totally delicious, but way too moreish.

I made the most delectable custard this week, using a recipe from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Kelli & Peter Bronski, and then folded in a full 70g of Hotel Chocolat milk chocolate Tiddly Pot buttons, which (I confess) I stole from my daughter as I had run out of any suitable alternative........... Shame on me! Technically the recipe was for 'pastry cream', but whatever........ it is still thick custard to me.

It tasted heavenly.................... but me being me, I was not satisfied even with that. No. I had to encase that delicious chocolate chip custard in a soft, moist orange sponge and top the whole lot with chocolate ganache.

The recipe that I used for the sponge and ganache were also adapted from the Bronski's recipe for Boston Crème Cupcakes, which I have made before (without the addition of orange or chocolate chips). They were so delicious on that occasion they needed to be made again.

The first time I made them, I was patient with the cooling of the ganache and got that beautiful silky shine that comes from not being in a rush (and not throwing the cooling chocolate in the fridge to speed up the process).

This time round, I (stupidly) tried to cut corners and chilled the ganache in the fridge to save time, thinking to myself 'can 5 minutes really make that much difference?' Well........ clearly it does. The ganache tastes just as delicious, but is nowhere near as shiny and attractive........... Oh well.......

Looks aside, these little morsels of creamy, orangey, chocolatey pleasure are wonderful and worth all the steps involved to produce them. The sponge is light and fluffy, the custard is rich and decadent and the dark chocolate ganache offsets the vanilla sweetness and orange tang with a slightly bitter, firm, deep cocoa bite. Yum.............

Orange Cupcakes (Makes 12 to 15 cupcakes) - adapted from a recipe by Kelli & Peter Bronski


180g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
finely grated zest 1 orange
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 large egg white (room temperature)
100 ml orange juice
35 ml soured cream
185g gluten free flour blend (I used mix A from this post)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch fine sea salt


  1. Prepare your cake cases.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4.
  3. Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure you break down any lumps. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the vanilla, orange extract and orange zest and beat until fully combined.
  6. Add the egg and then the egg white, beating well between each addition.
  7. Mix the soured cream and orange juice together in a jug.
  8. Add the liquid alternating with the dry ingredients, about a third at a time, gently folding in between each addition, until you have a smooth batter. Be very careful not to over-mix (stop when it is just combined evenly).
  9. Spoon the batter into your cupcake cases, smoothing the top of each.
  10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until springy to the touch and a 'cake tester' inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Chip Custard Crème adapted from a recipe by Kelli & Peter Bronski


80g caster sugar
25g corn flour
3 large egg yolks
375 ml milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
70g good quality milk chocolate chips


  1. Place the sugar and corn flour in a medium sized bowl and blend together.
  2. Add the egg yolks and whisk until they have turned very pale in colour.
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan to bring to the boil (use one which is suitable for using a whisk in later). Once boiling, remove from the heat.
  4. very slowly pour half of the milk onto the egg yolk mixture in the bowl making sure that you are continuously whisking throughout the process.
  5. Once you have a smooth, even batter, pour this onto the remaining milk in the saucepan, whisking in the saucepan as you do so.
  6. Return to a gentle heat and slowly bring to the boil again, whisking in the pan continuously.
  7. Cook for about 1 minute, whilst continuing to whisk.
  8. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until completely blended.
  9. Immediately transfer the custard to a clean bowl or container and place a piece of cling film over the surface, making sure that it touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming as it cools.
  10. Refrigerate until cold.
  11. When ready to use, beat through the custard with a spoon or whisk until smooth.
  12. Add the chocolate chips and fold evenly into the custard.

Chocolate Ganache from a recipe by Kelli & Peter Bronski


230g good quality dark chocolate (cubed or chopped)
190 ml double cream

Sprinkles to decorate


  1. Break the chocolate into a medium glass bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until gently simmering.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and gently stir until the chocolate has fully melted and the ingredients have blended into a thick, even paste.
  4. Leave the ganache to cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally until it has thickened to a spreading consistency.
  5. If you are not using straight away, refrigerate until ready to use and then bring back to room temperature to spread. It will still taste great, but refrigerating will result in a less glossy ganache (as I found out!)

Putting it all together

  1. Once the cupcakes are cool, core a hole out of the centre of each using a sharp knife or cake corer. Trim the top circle from the cut piece and reserve to use as a lid once filled.
  2. Fill each cup cake hole with chocolate chip custard and replace the cake lids to close each cake.
  3. Spread your ganache on the top of each cake and use sprinkles to decorate.
  4. Eat greedily as they are so delicious!

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Oh wow these look sensational. A sort of trifle, eclair cake all in one! I love 'thick custard' and to team it with ganache is amazing. I can almost tatse one of these

    1. Thanks Katie...... I wish I could still taste them ..... but sadly they have all been demolished!

  2. Oh my goodness.. these look MAGICAL Kate! They literally look like they're glowing and sparkling, great photos :-) And with the custard middle and chocolate topping... oh my...

    1. Thanks Aimee. I have to confess, my cake decorating skills are a bit lax.... but it's amazing what a bit of sparkle can do to perk things up!

  3. Chocolate chip custard is pure genius. Plus, chocolate and orange is one of my favourite chocolate flavour combinations so these are doubly delicious!

    1. It was a pretty perfect combination for me too.... And as for chocolate chip custard.... WHY have I not thought of it before???


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