Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting // Sweet Laurel

Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

This recipe is a hidden gem in our pink cookbook, and I have to say, it’s absolutely delightful! We were looking for something to bake with our friends Kosterina, who specialize in Greek EVOO and also make dreamy chocolate. Their founder, Katerina Mountanous is actually an Olive Oil Sommelier, which I find fascinating! She was kind enough to share some specialized olive oil info with us (available at the bottom of this blog), but for now, let’s get back to why you’re here, cupcakes! This recipe is the perfect way to showcase the beauty of paleo baking and the wonders of olive oil. Cupcakes usually make me think of classroom birthday parties, but with sophisticated flavors of olive oil, citrus, and dark chocolate, it’s impossible to think of these little cakes as anything but elegant. Enjoy!!

For more delicious paleo recipes, check out our cookbooks!

*Everything we make is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free.


Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes

Bake Time: 25 – 30 minutes


Ingredients for Cupcakes:

Coconut oil, for greasing the pan 

4 cups almond flour 

1+1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt 

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling 

3/4 cup maple syrup 

2 tablespoons grated orange zest 

1/4 cup fresh orange juice 

3 large eggs  

Slices of dried orange peel, for garnish  


Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Frosting:

*makes 1 cup

4 ounces 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped 

1/4cup coconut oil, solid 

1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more as needed 

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup almond milk or full-fat coconut milk, or as needed  


Directions for Frosting:

1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the cacao and coconut oil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Slowly add the maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Allow to cool completely. 

2. Transfer the cacao mixture to a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat in the almond butter until a thick frosting forms. Add the almond milk and stir with spatula until smooth. 

3. For a creamy, almost pourable frosting, use immediately; for fluffy frosting, refrigerate for at least 8 hours, then bring to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until spreadable. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.  

Directions for Cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Grease the top of the pan with coconut oil. 

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, orange zest, orange juice, and eggs until smooth. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms. 

3. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert the cupcakes onto a rack and allow to cool completely. 

4. To serve, smooth 1 tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake. Top with a few thin slices of dried orange peel and a drizzle of olive oil.  


All About Olive Oil with Kosterina

  • What is an olive? It’s a fruit! Like cherries, peaches, and plums, olives are stone fruit. Stone fruits have a fleshy outer covering surrounds a pit or stone, which in turn encases a seed. In the case of the olive, the outer flesh contains up to 30% oil—a concentration so impressive that the English word for “oil” comes from the ancient Greek word for olive, “elaia.” – National Geographic
  • Where do olives come from? Are they native to Greece? Archaeological and scientific evidence indicates that the olive tree (Olea europaea) was most likely first cultivated on the border between Turkey and Syria, spreading from there throughout the Mediterranean, to Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, France, and Spain. (It was Spanish colonists who brought it to the “New World”). People on the eastern side of the Mediterranean have been grinding olives for oil for 6,000-8,000 years. Olive oil has historically been used for cooking, cosmetics, medicine, and lamp fuel. In Ancient Greece, the original Olympic torch burned olive oil and athletes and kings were anointed with it. 
  • What are polyphenols? Polyphenols are naturally-derived compounds with antioxidant properties. Occurring naturally in olive oil, they are proven to help reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, chronic disease and the inflammation in the body that causes cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes. You can read more on our blog post HERE.
  • How is olive oil made? Be sure to check out this great explanation by Olive Oil & Beyond for more details but here’s a quick-ish summary: The best olive oils (like Kosterina 😉 are made from olives that have been carefully handpicked from the tree, early in the harvest season, when the olive is green and unripe. The earlier the olive is harvested and picked, the richer the flavor and the higher the polyphenol content. Once picked, the olives are sorted and crushed (pits included) using stainless steel rollers or millstone crushers, resulting in a thick smooth paste. The olive paste is then slowly mixed to break up the oil and water emulsion, achieving the maximum oil yield. Among the few methods used for extracting the oil, the centrifuge method (known also as the Continuous System), is a more modern day process adopted by artisanal growers. The centrifuge spins the paste at a high velocity and the resulting oil is left to settle for one month in containers, producing an unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, naturally high in nutrients, full of flavor and texture. 
  • What does EVOO stand for? Extra Virgin Olive Oil 🙂
  • What makes an olive oil “Extra Virgin”? Extra virgin olive oils are cold-pressed from the first press of the olive, use a single variety of olives and have at least 55mg/kg of polyphenols. Virgin oils, on the other hand, are from the second press of the olive and “pure” or just “olive oil” is from the third press. These olive oils are made from a blend of olives from different regions and of different varieties, and can include both cold-pressed and processed oils. This results in an olive oil that has much less flavor and less, if any, nutrients.
  • Why does “cold-pressed” mean? This means the oil was extracted (“pressed”) from the olives without heat or chemicals, aka “cold-pressed.” Applying heat or chemicals can alter and destroy the flavors, aromas and nutritional benefits of the olive oil. 
  • Can I use EVOO on my hands? Or face? Absolutely! Dermatologists everywhere agree: EVOO does wonders for your skin. Not only is it great for hydration and glow, but it’s packed with antioxidant properties like squalene that protect your skin from free radicals, environmental damage and more. Generally, it’s safe to use daily – especially as protection against sun damage. 

Curious to learn more? Ask us any question by emailing us at hello@kosterina.com or DMing us on Instagram @kosterina

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