Olympic Flame Chocolate Chip and Orange Cupcakes

Tonight, the Games of the XXX Olympiad begin and the Olympic Cauldron will be lit over the city of London. For the next 17 days, it will burn brightly as a symbol of the Olympic movement and its ideals:   "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement.

I've always loved the romanticism of the Olympics, and especially the flame. Who can forget the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics, when an archer fired a flaming arrow over the cauldron, which then ignited? So, when Laura of Laura Loves Cakes and Rachel of Dolly Bakes announced that this month's Calendar Cakes challenge (hosted by Laura) was based on the Olympics, I didn't have to think too long about what I wanted to do.
Inspired by the orange of the flame, I decided to do an orange flavoured and coloured frosting, with a chocolate chip and orange cupcake. I used gold cupcake cases as well, which is the colour of the 2012 Olympic Relay Torch. I tried three different ways of decorating the cupcakes. First was swirling the orange frosting with a deeper shade of orange. This turned out OK, but only on the first cupcake as by the time I piped the second all the orange colouring (which I smeared inside the piping nozzle) had disappeared. Second was using some red, orange, yellow and white coloured sprinkles. This looked cute, but no more so than any other cupcake. I then tried some red glitter dusted over. It didn't really give the effect I was after, but looked pretty anyway!

The cupcakes themselves are flavoured with orange extract, and with a hefty dose of chocolate chips. The frosting is actually made using icing sugar with half butter and half cream cheese, flavoured with orange zest and juice. I love using cream cheese in frosting, as I find the slight tartness helps stop it becoming too sweet. It seems to give a good consistency too and holds up well to piping.

The resulting cupcake was really moist sponge, subtly flavoured with orange and studded with chocolate. The frosting was quite zingy - from the  zest - and I felt it really complemented the sponge. My piping did spark a debate in the house though as to whether there was a little too much frosting to cake (personally, I had no idea what they were talking about ;) ). Anyway, here's what I did.

Chocolate Chip and Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 9)

100g soft unsalted butter
150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
1 tbspn milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tspn orange extract
100g dark chocolate chips

For the frosting
100g soft unsalted butter
100g room temperature cream cheese
3 cups icing sugar
grated zest of one orange
1 tbspn fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven to Fan 160 / Conventional 180 / Gas 4. Prepare a muffin tin with liners.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix to combine. Add the milk and orange extract. Then, add the flour and gently mix until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips until mixed evenly throughout.

Scoop the mixture into the baking tray, filling the cases no more than two thirds full. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes, until risen and golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Remove and allow to cool in the tray for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the zest and orange juice and mix to combine. Add the icing sugar, and starting the mixer slowly, mix until combined. Turn the mixer to high and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy. You can spread this on the cupcakes when they are completely cold or, as I did, use a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip, to pipe swirls on.

The picture above shows the one cake with the shaded frosting. I think if I want to do this again, rather than smear the inside of the nozzle with extra colouring, I'll try the two icing bag method (this involves placing each colour icing into its own bag, and then placing the bags inside a third fitted with a nozzle, then piping as normal).

Anyway, there's my first entry for Calendar Cakes. Hope you like them.

Have a great Games,



  1. These look amazing...a great post! They represent the Olympic flame really well. I love the sound of the flavour combination and the glitter on the top just finishes them off! And I agree...there is no such thing as too much icing...the cream cheese mix sounds so tasty! Thanks for entering Calendar Cakes! :-)

  2. As soon as I saw that first picture, I thought of the flame - great idea and well executed. They also look quite spectacular and sound oh so delicious. I think you need to take some away from your family and send them my way!

    1. Aww, thanks - I was pleased with how they looked against the black background.:)

  3. Too much frosting? Pah! You can never have too much frosting, especially if it has cream cheese in it :)

    They look and sound delicious. Love chocolate and orange together.

    1. Thanks Jo - it's great I'm not alone on that then :D

  4. These look like the perfect dessert for tonight!

    1. Thanks - I thought the opening ceremony was fab, and was definitely impressed by the petal cauldron :)

  5. Ignore the comments from the fam Susie, you can NEVER have too much frosting to cake ratio - that's the best way to have it! and your frosting looks so creamy and dreamy. I love the way you added glitter to recreate the olympic flame - genius!

    1. Thanks Gem - I do love creamy frosting but even I would draw the line at frosting that's so sweet it hurts your teeth (I've had some of that in my time so that's why I love using the cream cheese). :)

  6. Now that's a flame I'd like to carry (in my tummy after eating it!)

  7. They look and sound lovely - just the perfect amount of frosting to cake in my opinion!

  8. Such an inspired idea - I love it!!! Love the flavours and the colour. I can't believe the Olympics is now over - luckily the great british bake off starts next week, yay!

    1. Thanks Ros. I know, life feels a bit less exciting at the moment. But yes, last night's GBBO was fab so now I know what I'll be doing every Tuesday between 8pm and 9pm. Oh, and there are the Paralympics too! Can't wait as we have tickets for the athletics and I'm so looking forward to it! :)


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