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Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

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Simple orange cupcakes topped with swirls of orange and cream cheese frostings.

orange creamsicle cupcake in front of a turquoise kitchen towel and orange slices

Let’s think back to childhood for a second…

Do you have a flavor that instantly comes to mind when you think of a treat you had often? My childhood flavors are cardamom and orange creamsicle. Weird combo, huh?

I know that my mom used to make these cardamom rolls a lot, so that explains that one, but for whatever reason, I know there were almost always orange creamsicle popsicles in our freezer, though I can’t remember if it really was almost always, or if I have a specific memory of one season that I ate them a lot?

orange creamsicle cupcake with a bite taken out of it

I truly have no clue. But I know that I associate the orange creamsicle flavor with my childhood. So these orange creamsicle cupcakes are my childhood taste memory in baked good form.

A few years ago, I shared a triple lemon cupcake recipe with you. That cupcake featured a soft lemon cupcake, filled with my homemade lemon curd, and topped with a lemon buttercream.

I modeled today’s orange creamsicle cupcakes after those rather than converting my orange creamsicle layer cake into cupcakes for a couple reasons.

For starters, that layer cake is dense. It’s supposed to be! It’s a wonderful cake and it always gets fantastic reviews. But dense doesn’t always translate well to cupcake land, but I knew I had a good lighter crumb going on in those lemon cupcakes, so I made the swap there.

orange creamsicle cupcakes on a light blue cupcake stand

While we aren’t filling these cupcakes with any orange curd (I mean, now that I’ve typed that, I want to make some because I think that would be aaaaamazing and I’d put it on allofthethings), we are bringing massive orange flavor to these cupcakes in the form of some fancy(ish) frosting.

Side note: today’s recipe comes with a little something extra.

My husband’s gym’s resident photographer, Lisa, came to do this photoshoot with me. She needed some photos on a specific back drop, and I needed new head shots, so we banned together and came out on the other side with some really great pictures.

Because Lisa was there, we get some pictures to go along with this post that I wouldn’t normally get to have, such as me filling a piping bag (more on that one in a second) and my hand piping frosting onto a cupcake.

piping orange creamsicle frosting onto an orange creamsicle cupcake

Lisa is a wedding photographer by trade, but she really brought her A game to our photoshoot, and I’m so happy to have some of these photos here of me doing my thang!

Big THANKS to Lisa for all she did for us.

Ok, back to cupcakes.

orange creamsicle cupcake sitting in its wrapper

When it comes to the actual breakdown of what’s happening in these easy orange cupcakes, they’re really the best orange cupcake recipe I’ve got. They have moisture without being weighed down, and they have a tight crumb that brings all the orange flavor.

They’re almost like orange buttermilk cupcakes, since we’re putting the fresh squeezed orange juice right into the milk.

If you recall, a few weeks ago I told you that you can make your own homemade buttermilk by putting lemon juice or vinegar into milk.

orange creamsicle cupcakes

Putting orange juice in is exactly the same idea, but since lemons have a little more of a neutral taste, I swapped them for oranges to really bring the orange flavor to these orange cupcakes.

I do have to caution to you though: do not overmix this batter. In order to keep the tight, light crumb, stirring this batter carefully and slowly is the ticket.

If you’re gentle and patient with the batter, you will be rewareded handsomely with a light and creamy vanilla cupcake that is bursting with orange flavor.

Now, about that frosting…

aerial photo of two bowls of frosting (one white and one orange) to swirl together for orange creamsicle frosting

I debated what to top these cupcakes with. Originally, I thought about making an orange cream cheese frosting, much like I did with my orange creamsicle layer cake, but I also wanted a beautiful orange color to go on top, so I opted for a little of both.

On top of these orange cupcakes sits a swirl of classic cream cheese frosting paired with an easy orange frosting recipe.

The orange frosting is really just my basic vanilla buttercream, thinned out with orange juice instead of milk or cream, flavored with orange zest, and colored with just a touch of orange coloring.

a woman piping orange creamsicle frosting onto an orange creamsicle cupcake

For the color, I turned to my favorite brand, AmeriColor. I used “orange” to get this gorgeous orange hue.

I did absolutely nothing fancy to fill my piping bag with these swirled frostings. I simply put one small scoop of each at a time into my piping bag, making sure to alternate which frosting went in next, and the result was a perfectly swirled combo.

woman holding a piping bag and filling it with orange creamsicle frosting

I am so happy with the way these cupcakes turned out, especially since I sort of threw the idea for them together the night before Lisa came over for our shoot.

I had originally planned to photograph something completely different, but was in serious need of some baking therapy, so orange creamsicle cupcakes it was!

JOIN MY ONLINE COURSE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CUPCAKE DECORATING TECHNIQUES

If you love making cupcakes, but aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to decorating them, join my e-course so you can learn right alongside me. I’ll be instructing you the entire journey from start to finish!

cover photo for mastering the basics of cupcake decorating course

Easy, adorable, bright, spring/summery, and perfect for what we hope is warmer weather in not too many weeks away. They’d also make a beautiful Easter dessert.

orange creamsicle cupcakes

I can’t wait for you to try them and I’m looking forward to seeing your orange swirl cupcakes!

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes: Simple orange cupcakes topped with swirls of orange and cream cheese frostings.
4.84 from 6 votes
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Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Simple orange cupcakes topped with swirls of orange and cream cheese frostings.
Prep Time15 mins
Bake Time18 mins
Total Time33 mins
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

ORANGE CUPCAKES

  • 1 and ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • 2 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature1
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest of one whole orange
  • ¼ cup (60mL) orange juice
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons (75mL) milk any

ORANGE BUTTERCREAM

  • ¼ cup (58g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of half of an orange
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (22mL) orange juice

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 4 ounces (112g) full fat block cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup (58g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cup (210g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

ORANGE CUPCAKES

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line a 12 count cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium size bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add each egg, one at a time, beating on medium-high speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the vanilla extract and orange zest and beat again until combined.
  • Stir the orange juice into the milk. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl and turn the mixer speed to low. Add the flour in 2 additions, alternating with the milk/orange juice. Remove bowl from mixer and stir with a spatula until everything is completely combined.
  • Spoon batter evenly into prepared cupcake liners (I prefer to use an ice cream scoop with a trigger) and bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling.

ORANGE BUTTERCREAM

  • In a medium size bowl with a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. If frosting is too stiff, add more orange juice. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • In a large bowl with a handheld or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  • Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes.

DECORATE CUPCAKES

  • Fill a large zip top bag with the corner snipped off or a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 2D piping tip. Scoop alternating frostings into the bag. There does not have to be a perfect method to filling the bag, as long as there are alternating scoops of each frosting going into the bag.
  • Frost the cupcakes and garnish with sliced orange, if desired.
  • Store cupcakes in the refrigerator up to 5 days. If you need to travel with and serve them, it's ok if they are at room temperature for awhile. Just be sure to refrigerate them to store them.

Notes

  1. Room temperature eggs: these incorporate into batter much more easily than cold eggs. Allow to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes. If you don’t have time, place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes or until ready to use.
  2. Nutritional information: all nutritional values are approximate.
 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!
Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 291mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 540IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 1mg

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I also have fond memories of orange creamsicles. These sound absolutely dreamy, Gorgeous photos as always. I now will be thinking of orange scented things the rest of the day. 🙂

Mmmm, these look delicious!I love creamsicles, especially the orange ones♡ The flavors that most come to mind for me are probably chocolate, marmite, mint, and vanilla. My siblings and I went to our grandma’s house almost every day of our childhood, and she would let us help her bake something in the kitchen, most often chocolate cake, scones, or a South African bar-dessert called crunchies (my favorites! They’re like crunchy & chewy oatmeal cookies in bar form with chocolate icing on top).

For this recipe is it fresh squeezed OJ or store bought OJ that you would drink?

At the end of the buttercream instructions, it says to add LEMON curd if needed? It’s confusing. Why would you add lemon to a orange frosting? I don’t see it listed with the ingredients. Did I miss something?

5 stars
I didn’t make the frostings but I filled the cupcakes with cheesecake filling and they are amazing!

5 stars
These were tasty. I had left over vanilla buttercream frosting that I used. I will make again trying the orange frosting in this recipe. The edges of the cupcakes were a little crusty so next time I will divide into 14 cupcakes instead of 12 in an effort to not have any overflow/crusting. Great orange cupcake!

5 stars
These turned out nice, will them make again.

how full do you fill the liners 1/2 or 3/4?

5 stars
This recipe was user friendly and super delicious!! Actually one of the yummiest cupcakes I’ve ever made. I went with the cream cheese frosting with a grate of zest and everyone loved them ….. only a couple left 😋🧡 Highly recommend you try

5 stars
I love them. It reminds me of the sarah Lee orange cake they stop making. I will make it again & again!

4 stars
Overall this is a good recipe. I didn’t like the orange cake as much as the frosting. I think a measurement of the zest would help since oranges come in different sizes. I had issues with the buttercream so I ended up combing them and added heavy cream to balance out the sweetness and it came out perfect. Next time I’m going to make vanilla cake because I thought the orange cake overpowered the yummy frosting.