Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

These light and fluffy Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes are filled with a marshmallowy creme filling and topped with a sweet orange vanilla cream cheese frosting! It’s like eating an Orange Creamsicle in cupcake form!

Orange Creamsicles are one of those childhood treats that you never outgrow. For me though, it was always those little orange sherbet dixie cups with the cute wooden spoon paddles. They had the perfect balance of cool, creamy vanilla with the smooth, tangy orange sherbet. By far, one of my absolute favorites! Probably because it reminds me of of my Grandma Lil and how her freezer was consistently stocked with these sweet and refreshing treats.

Orange is totally one of those flavors that gets overlooked, even by me, yet it’s a flavor I love. I made an orange cream cake for my cookbook a couple years ago and was reminded of how awesome it is in cake form. Even during pregnancy, my number one craving was orange juice. I’m pretty sure I went through two or three cartons of it a week.

And yet, with the exception of this creamsicle poke cake and creamsicle ice cream cake, there aren’t any orange flavored recipes on the site. Such a shame! Orange is the member of the citrus family that is often overlooked, but not anymore!

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t at least salivate over the mere mention of Orange Creamsicles. In fact, when I mentioned to coworkers that I was planning on making Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes, their eyes lit up like they had just won a date with John Stamos. Whoops–that’s my fantasy…

Now, before you get intimidated by the fact that there are three different components to these cupcakes, don’t. These cupcakes are a lot easier to make than you think. Why? Well for one thing, they start out with a box of white cake mix. Yes, a cake mix!

I added a hefty dose of orange zest along with some freshly-squeezed orange juice. And to up the orange flavor ante, I also added some orange gelatin mix. Not only does it add an orange tanginess, but it also has that subtle vanilla creme flavor that tastes so much like Orange Creamsicles.

Egg whites are used to give the cupcakes rise and structure (whole eggs will not work here) and then the dry ingredients are added, alternating with the wet ingredients which include freshly squeezed orange juice. I use actual oranges here rather than orange juice from a carton/bottle with added sugars and such.

Bake up the cupcakes and then it’s time to make the filling and frosting!

The filling is a whipped cream cheese filling flavored with vanilla. It’s light and easy to make and pairs perfectly with the cupcake. The frosting uses fresh orange juice and orange zest for flavor, plus a bit of gel coloring for color.

The final cupcake is light and delicious! I love a good filling in a cupcake and this one definitely has it! These are a great lightly citrus cupcake that would be great for any occasion – including Easter!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter , softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp finely grated orange zest (from about 1 1/2 oranges)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (if you want a lighter texture use half and half)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium-high speed, blend together butter, granulated sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Mix in eggs one at time, blending until combine after each addition. Measure out cream into a liquid measuring cup, stir in orange juice, orange extract and vanilla extract. With hand mixer set on low speed and working in 3 separate batches, blend in flour mixture alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing just until combine after each addition.
  3. Divide batter among 14 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven 23 – 25, rotating muffin tins once halfway through baking, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and garnish with an small orange slice if desired (just before serving). Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  4. *If you want the pilled high amount of frosting then you will likely want to make about 3/4 of the Vanilla Buttercream recipe. If you don’t want a ton of frosting then 1/2 of the recipe should be enough.

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