These cupcakes are made with all-natural, fresh oranges for flavour. A tender cake base meets fluffy, creamy, and zesty cream cheese frosting, finished with juicy orange segments for that burst of flavour. We reduced the sugar in these cupcakes so they aren’t cloyingly sweet as most cupcakes are! [Go straight to recipe]
Orange Cream Cheese Cupcakes
Still can’t decide what to bake this weekend? Here’s another fruity treat from us! Although orange and cream cheese isn’t a common flavor combination, we’re pretty sure you’ll love the tangy and creamy taste of these Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.
Pairing Cream Cheese With A Bit Of Tang
I’m pretty sure most of you are familiar with the taste of slightly tangy cheesecakes, which usually contain a small amount of lemon zest. Now try to imagine those kinds of cheesecakes, but with a mellower and slightly sweeter tang, paired with tender, buttery cupcakes.
That pretty much illustrates what you’ll get from this recipe. We made these orange cupcakes smaller than the regular-sized cupcakes so you can pop them into your mouths easily! These orange cupcakes will surely excite your taste buds with their unique and surprising flavor combination.
How To Get The Best Cupcake Base
Without a properly-made cupcake base, these cupcakes will not be as delicious as you expect them to be. A good cupcake base is one that is light, tender, flavourful, and not overly dense, so be sure to follow the baking tips below to achieve the results you are looking for!
Remember to incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ones by gently folding them in, not stirring or vigorously mixing. Using the proper folding technique prevents overmixing, which will make your cupcakes too dense and not soft or fluffy enough.
Most of the time, you’ll find some flour or sugar lumps in your batter. You can use a whisk to break these lumps and create a smoother batter, but stop when the lumps are no longer visible, or when most are gone. If a couple of small lumps remain, don’t sweat it, your baked good will still turn out fine.
How To Maximise Citrus Flavours In Your Baked Goods
If you love the citrusy taste of oranges, you’ll love these cupcakes for sure! Freshly grated orange zest is used in both the frosting and the cake base for maximum flavour. The orange zest in the batter gives it a strong fragrance, which is further intensified by rubbing the zest into the sugar.
This is a method we like to use to intensify the citrus flavours in our baked goods. This helps to release the natural flavours and essential oils in the oranges, and yields a noticeably tastier and more aromatic mixture. This technique is also widely used by bakers when they are incorporating citrus into their baked goods!
After you’re done making the cupcake batter, it’s time to fill the cupcake liners. Fill them until they are a little more than half of the liner. Never fill them until the brim because the batter will overflow when the cupcakes are baking, and you’ll get deformed cupcakes as a result.
Creating the Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting
To get the best cream cheese frosting possible, make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature. While seemingly small, bringing ingredients to room temperature is a key step that many home bakers tend to overlook. By using room temperature butter and cream cheese, the cream cheese you make will reach its maximum volume. It will also be smoother, tastier, and easier to incorporate with the other ingredients.
When making the cream cheese frosting, add the confectioners’ sugar in two additions to prevent clumps. Here’s a little tip from us: after adding the confectioners' sugar into the butter and cream cheese mixture, mix it using a whisk or spatula into the butter-cream cheese mixture before running the mixer. Remember that your mixer generates a lot of air – you don’t want the sugar to get blown everywhere!
It's important to chill the cream cheese frosting before piping them onto your cupcakes. Without refrigerating it for a while, the cream cheese frosting will be too runny to hold its shape. If the frosting gets too firm due to the refrigeration, simply leave it out at room temperature for a bit before loosening it up with a spatula or whisk!
Don’t worry about the frosting being too sweet. The combination of freshly squeezed orange juice, orange zest, and the fresh orange pulp will add a zing to it. We’ve tested and tweaked this cream cheese frosting recipe multiple times to ensure that it’s not cloyingly sweet like the stuff you find outside.
Adding little bits of orange flesh on the top of your cupcakes will complement the cream cheese frosting and prevent it from being too heavy.
Mini Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
yields ~14 to 16 mini cupcakes
For the orange cupcakes
94g unsalted butter
163g granulated sugar
zest of 1 medium orange
175g cake flour
9g baking powder
2 small to medium eggs
100g full cream milk
For the cream cheese frosting
200g cream cheese
80g unsalted butter
100g confectioners' sugar
20g orange juice, freshly squeezed
zest of 1 medium orange
orange pulp, fresh (optional, for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Melt butter for cupcakes in a heatproof bowl over a double boiler or in 10-20 sec intervals using a microwave, until liquid. Leave aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, add granulated sugar. Wash, dry, and zest the orange into the sugar. Rub the zest and sugar between your fingers to release the natural oils and aroma of the orange into the sugar. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk the orange-sugar and eggs on medium-high speed, gradually increasing the speed of the mixer, till pale in color and fluffy. Takes about 3-5 mins.
- Add in the vanilla, milk and cooled melted butter into the mixture. Whisk until well combined.
- 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.
- Line your baking sheet with paper cupcake liners and fill liners till they're a little more than 1/2 full.
- Bake at 180°C for 20-25 mins (timing will depend on the actual size of the cupcakes and material of cupcake liners/pan), using a skewer to check for its doneness. If the skewer comes out clean, that means it’s done.
- While cupcakes are baking/cooling, make the cream cheese frosting.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- Leave butter and cream cheese out at room temperature to soften for about 10-15 min.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together until fluffy and well combined.
- Add half the confectioners’ sugar and mix/beat until well combined, then add the other half, and beat till smooth.
- Add orange juice and orange zest and mix until well combined.
- Chill in the fridge to firm up slightly before piping onto cooled cupcakes.
- 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.
A Refreshing Sweet Treat for Breakfast, Afternoon Snack, or Dessert
Have these cupcakes in any way you like, at room temperature or chilled. They’re perfect to enjoy at any time of the day – as a breakfast on the go, or as a sweet treat before having a good night’s sleep! If you’re into desserts with a hint of citrus, try our Orange Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. You won’t regret it.
Trying this recipe out? Make sure you hashtag #bakestarters on Instagram so we can see your wonderful creations!