I’ve just completed a mammoth baking endeavor: 23 dozen miniature cupcakes, of varying flavors. This is the largest single-client baking project I’ve ever completed, and it went very well (as far as I know; the aforementioned cupcakes are likely being consumed right now at a fundraising event). It also left me with two dozen miniature vanilla cupcakes that needed frosting, so I asked Mike to choose a frosting flavor to complement them. He chose orange, for an orange cream-like result.
Rising to the challenge, I did a quick online search for orange frosting. There are many to choose from, ranging from orange cream cheese to orange buttercream to orange drizzle. Because drizzle would have been too glaze-like and cream cheese would have added a tang I didn’t quite want, I chose an orange buttercream and adapted it to my liking, using orange extract, vanilla extract, and orange juice to achieve a delicate orange-vanilla balance. If you don’t have orange extract handy, you can substitute with more orange juice. Mike was very pleased with the outcome, proclaiming the end result “very orange-creamy.”
The recipes below yield 24 miniature cupcakes and 1 cup of frosting, which covered my cupcakes perfectly.
Very Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cake flour
- 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
Note: to double this recipe for 4 dozen miniature or 2 dozen regular-sized cupcakes, use the quantities in St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one 24-cup mini cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Place egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating for another 30 seconds.
Add vanilla and canola oil and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Batter will be very thin.
Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
Orange Cream Frosting
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract*
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- About 3 tablespoons orange juice
- Yellow liquid food coloring
- Red liquid food coloring
*Substitute orange juice if you don’t have orange extract. And, this recipe would be very easily doubled if you wanted to make enough to cover 4 dozen miniature or 2 dozen regular-sized cupcakes.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter on low speed for about 1 minute. Add 1 cup powdered sugar, orange extract, and vanilla; beat on low speed until well-combined. Add second cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon orange juice and beat until well-combined. Add additional orange juice, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, to reach a smooth (but not runny) consistency.
With your mixer running on low, add about 3-4 drops of yellow liquid food coloring, followed by 1 drop of red. Beat on medium speed until color is well-distributed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, to achieve a pale orange color.
Fit a piping bag with a large plain tip and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.