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The Big Bake Theory | Bakestarters

RECIPE: Make These Zesty Citrus Cream Cheese Cupcakes If You Have Leftover Oranges and Limes In Your Fridge

Have extra oranges and limes lying around? Make use of them with these fluffy, tangy citrus cupcakes with zesty cream cheese frosting. Watch the recipe video and get the full recipe here.
RECIPE: Make These Zesty Citrus Cream Cheese Cupcakes If You Have Leftover Oranges and Limes In Your Fridge

Is your fridge loaded with citrus fruits, but you have no idea how to use them up? Here’s a recipe from us! The combination of orange and lime creates a fresh burst of flavours in every bite. A smooth and zesty cream cheese frosting is added on the top, which complements these fluffy cupcakes beautifully. [Go straight to recipe]

Citrus Cream Cheese Cupcakes

You probably found out that citrus fruits can be stored for a pretty long time in our recent article on what food items to stock up on during this stay-home period. If you have purchased extra oranges and limes in your recent grocery run, and are looking for alternative ways to use them besides eating or making them into beverages, these cupcakes will be right up your alley. 

citrus twist cupcakes
In this new Citrus Cream Cheese Cupcakes Recipe which is a spin off our Mini Orange Cream Cheese Cupcakes, we’re taking the orange cupcakes up a notch by adding one more ingredient that closely resembles oranges, but has a distinct flavor profile–limes. Don’t pucker your lips; orange and limes make a beautiful combination of citrus flavours! The zesty profile of limes helps to add another dimension to the cupcakes, so you get a burst of citrus flavours in every bite. 

These citrus cream cheese cupcakes are soft and fluffy with subtle orange and lime scents, which will certainly be a refreshing snack to dig into after a full day of digital conferences or online classes. For the citrus flavours to shine through, both the juices and zests of oranges and limes are incorporated into the cupcakes and frosting. For that extra burst of juiciness, finish your cupcakes with orange segments.  

Combining Orange with Lime or Lemon

cupcakesOranges are one of the most versatile fruits to use in cooking, baking, and even mixology. We all have our preferred types and ways to consume them. Some oranges are best eaten directly, while others are better suited for making juices and confectioneries. For this recipe, we recommend using sweeter and juicier oranges.

Limes are a little bit more sour than oranges, but they still have a hint of sweetness, making them a great accompaniment to oranges in these cupcakes. With a 1:1 ratio of orange and lime juice, the orange-lime cream cheese frosting has the right amount of sweetness and tartness; neither one is overpowering. The cupcakes also combine orange and lime zest with similar results. But, if you want something tangier and more refreshing, you’re welcome to replace the lime in this recipe with lemon.

Making The Frosting

citrus cupcakesThe steps to making the orange-lime cream cheese frosting include chilling the finished frosting before piping them onto the cupcakes. To get a cupcake topping that holds its shape well, never skip this step. Chilling the cream cheese frosting for a while helps it firm up so that piping is easier.

You can make the frosting in advance and store it in the fridge while you’re baking the cupcakes. If the frosting is too hard for you to pipe, simply loosen it by beating it until it’s smooth. You can prepare the frosting up to three days in advance to save time, but don’t forget to store it in the fridge in a covered container to prevent it from drying out.

Cool Your Cupcakes Before Frosting

cooling cupcakes on rackBesides chilling the frosting, it is also important to let the cupcakes cool down to room temperature. You don’t want the heat from the freshly-baked cupcakes to melt the cream cheese frosting! After the cupcakes are out from the oven, let them cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. This helps to prevent steam from building up under your cupcakes, preventing your cupcake bases from turning soggy.

Watch video tutorial:

Orange Lime Cream Cheese Cupcakes w/ Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

You may replace the oranges with limes for an all-lime cupcake, or substitute the limes with lemon for a tangier treat. 

yields 10 cupcakes

For citrus cupcakes

90g butter, unsalted

160g granulated sugar

Zest of ½ medium orange

Zest of 1 large lime

2 medium eggs

5g vanilla

100g milk

175g cake flour

9g baking powder

2g salt

For orange-lime cream cheese frosting

150g cream cheese

60g butter, unsalted

75g confectioners' sugar

7g-8g fresh orange juice

7g-8g fresh lime juice

Zest of ½ medium orange

Zest of 1 large lime

Orange flesh (optional - for garnish)


    For Cupcakes
    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    2. Melt butter (for cupcakes) in a heatproof bowl over a double boiler or in 10-20sec intervals using a microwave. Leave aside to cool.
    3. For citrus zest-sugar: In a small bowl, wash and zest half of the orange and one lime, then add sugar. Rub the zests and sugar between your fingers to release the natural oils and aroma of the orange/lime into the sugar. Set aside the sugar for 5-10min. Set aside the orange and lime for use later. 
    4. In another medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine.
    5. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk the citrus zest-sugar and eggs on medium-high speed, gradually increasing the speed of the mixer, till pale in colour and fluffy. Takes about 3-5 mins.
    6. Add in the vanilla, milk and cooled melted butter into the mixture. Whisk until well combined. 
    7. Add in the dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder and salt), fold in with a spatula until just incorporated. If there are visible lumps in the batter, use a whisk to mix and get rid of lumps gently. Do not overmix.
    8. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners and start filling the liners till they're a little more than 1/2 full.
    9. Bake for 17-18 mins using a skewer to check for its doneness. If the skewer comes out clean, that means it's done.
    10. Remove cupcakes and place on a cooling rack to cool. While cupcakes are baking/cooling, make the cream cheese frosting.
    For Cream Cheese Frosting
    1. Leave butter and cream cheese out at room temperature to soften for about 10-15min. Meanwhile, zest the remaining half of the orange and lime. Slice oranges and limes and juice them before setting aside. 
    2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth and combined. 
    3. Carefully add half the confectioners’ sugar and beat until well combined, then add the other half. 
    4. Add orange and lime juice, then both zests, and mix until well combined. 
    5. Chill in the fridge before piping onto cupcakes. If needed, loosen the cream cheese frosting by beating until smooth before piping. 
    6. If using orange flesh as garnish, lightly squeeze out the juice until only a little remains (optional), then place on top of cream cheese frosting.

    Storage: Frosting can be made in advance for up to 3 days. Store and keep in the fridge in an airtight container. Store cupcakes in the fridge, covered, for 3-5 days. Defrost slightly before consuming, otherwise cupcakes will be too hard. 

        A Refreshing Treat To Cool Down In This Heat

        orange lime cream cheese cupcakes recipeThe tanginess of the cupcakes makes them a refreshing treat to have, especially if you’re stuck at home in Singapore’s heat. Rope in your family or significant other to join you on this baking project and get crazy flexing your piping skills! 

        If you’re looking for more fuss-free recipes to try at home, try these Molten Chocolate Lava CakeGhost Meringue Cookies, or Six-Ingredient Milo Lava Cakes.


        Trying this recipe out? Make sure you hashtag #bakestarters on Instagram so we can see your wonderful creations!

        Read Next: Why Did My Bread Fail? Here Are Possible Reasons Why Your Homemade Bread Failed (+ Solutions)


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