These orange cupcakes taste like creamsicles, one of our childhood favorite treats! A moist and flavorful sour cream cupcake is studded with orange zest and topped with orange buttercream for an refreshing dessert.
Orange Cupcake Recipe
Whether you are hosting a party or just want to make a fun treat to bring to the office, cupcakes are a hit with just about everyone. While I love these classic vanilla birthday cupcakes that are hugely popular, sometimes it’s nice to change up the flavors.
From Rhubarb Honey Cupcakes to Fall Spiced Cupcakes, you can add lots of different flavor to the base sour cream cupcake recipe that is amazing. I actually made these these Orange Cupcakes for a bake sale recently and they were a hit. Orange is a pretty universally loved flavor, so they are a great crowd pleaser.
Orange Creamsicle Cake
For many of us, Creamsicle Popsicles were a staple during summers as a kids. The combination of orange and vanilla cream is incredibly refreshing and tastes so good. Much like this Orange Creamsicle Sheet Cake, these Orange Cupcakes are a great way to enjoy the classic flavor combo as adults!
Orange Cupcake Ingredients
These sour cream cupcakes are divinely moist with an amazing crumb. Most everything you need will already be in your pantry or refrigerator. The only special ingredient you will want to add to your grocery list is cake flour. Here is what you will need,
- salted butter
- granulated sugar
- sour cream
- vanilla extract
- cake flour
- baking soda
- baking powder
- powdered sugar
What is Cake Flour
Cake flour has a lower protein (gluten) content and that makes a difference in the texture of the cake crumb.
I was skeptical that it wouldn’t make a difference, but I am here to tell you that I was SO wrong. My family can tell you that I don’t often admit I am wrong, so please know this is a very serious deal!
Can I substitute All-Purpose Flour for Cake Flour?
For every cup of cake flour, replace it with the following,
- One cup of all-purpose flour with two tablespoons removed
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch.
While cake flour is the ideal ingredient for the best cupcakes, it’s not in everyone’s pantry. I have made these cupcakes both ways and they are delicious with both options. If I have the option, I will always choose cake flour though.
How to make Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Once your ingredients are compiled, it’s time to preheat the oven and get to work baking. To a large bowl add the butter and granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream, milk, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. Mix just until well combined.
In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients together and add them to the wet ingredients. Mix just until well combined. It is fine if there are a few small lumps. You don’t want to overwork the batter.
Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full. I like to use an ice cream scoop to fill the liners so I don’t spill as much on my cupcake pan. It also helps me fill each cupcake liner with the same amount of batter so they bake evenly.
Bake the cupcakes at 350F for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. The edges of the tops should just be lightly golden brown. You don’t want to overbake your cake or it will dry it out.
Set aside the baked orange cupcakes and allow them to cool completely.
How to make orange frosting for cupcakes
Whether you make these easy sour cream cupcakes for scratch, or you decide to take a shortcut and make box mix cupcakes, the addition of homemade buttercream will put them over the top. The addition of orange flavor is a great compliment to both vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. You really can’t go wrong!
While your orange cupcakes are baking, grab your simple mix of common ingredients. Here is what you will need,
- vanilla extract
- orange zest
- fresh orange juice
- powdered sugar
The key to a great buttercream is whipping the butter until it is super light and fluffy. This will give you an amazing texture that compliments the orange creamsicle cupcakes so well.
Buttercream can also be made in advance and refrigerated for a few days. Just be sure to bring the buttercream back to room temperature before using it to decorate cake or cupcakes.
Decorating Orange Cupcakes
When the orange cupcakes are cooled completely, add the orange buttercream with a butter knife or piping bag. Whether you let the kids slap on some frosting or make beautiful swirls, they will taste great regardless!
If you really want to go above and beyond, you can grab an orange and make some peels with a cocktail zester. Take a 3 inch long peel of orange and twist it tightly into a coil for a few seconds.
This will make a nice little orange twist that you can top your buttercream with. Everyone will instantly know they are orange flavored cupcakes and be impressed with your presentation!
Orange Dessert Recipes
Orange desserts are fantastic for a light and refreshing treat in the summer or in the winter when oranges are in season. Here are so more great orange recipes you will love!
- Sweet Orange Roll Knots – These orange rolls made with frozen dough are an amazing breakfast to sweet treat.
- Cranberry Orange Cheesecake Bars – This recipe uses a sugar cookie mix to make it super simple but is so rich and delicious.
- Dark Chocolate & Orange Scones – These are some of the easiest scones to make but are so tender and flavorful.
- Bhapa Doi with Spiced Orange Syrup – This Indian style cheesecake looks absolutely phenomenal and would be such a unique and impressive dessert to serve guests.
- Orange Chocolate Fudge – Oranges and chocolate are a classic flavor combination and great in traditional fudge.
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sour cream*
- 2 Tablespoons orange zest
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 c. cake flour**
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 3 Tablespoons orange juice
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg, extracts, orange zest, milk, orange juice and sour cream. Blend until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to a separate bowl and mix. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat slowly until well combined and only a few lumps remain.
- In lined cupcake pans, fill each cup ¾ full. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, orange juice and orange zest and mix until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar 1-2 cups at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat the frosting for an additional 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Top each cupcake with buttercream and a optional orange peel twist.
*Use full fat sour cream. You can substitute full fat plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream.
**You can substitute 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour & 1/4 cup cornstarch for the 2 1/2 cups cake flour. You will achieve a better crumb with cake flour though.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 292mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 0gSugar: 34gProtein: 1g
Provided nutrition data is only an estimate. If you are tracking these nutrients for medical purposes, please consult an outside, trusted source.