Orange Crush Cupcakes

Now and then my Facebook feed lights up with recipes people want me to bake. This week my dear friend Stefanie tagged me in a post for orange creamsicle cupcakes with Orange Crush buttercream; Mike jumped on the bandwagon, and there I was yesterday, whipping up said cupcakes in my kitchen.

Granted, my recipe is different than the one in the post that Stef shared, which used a box mix and orange Jell-O for the cupcakes. I adapted a tried-and-true cupcake recipe to include fiori di Sicilia, a wonderful extract that tastes like vanilla and citrus, then whipped up a buttercream using – you guessed it – Orange Crush pop. The end result is a delicious orange cream cupcake, more intense in flavor than the orange cream cupcakes I’ve made in the past. Thanks for the idea, Stef!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fiori di Sicilia, to taste (this is powerful extract!)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

For the frosting

  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Orange Crush
  • 1/4 teaspoon fiori di Sicilia
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • Orange food coloring

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners; my recipe made 7 cupcakes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, 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 to beat 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 quarter-cup measuring cup, scoop batter into prepared regular-sized cupcake liners, filling half full.

Bake for 13-16 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting, in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add powdered sugar all at once and beat on low speed until all the sugar is incorporated into the butter. Add Orange Crush, fiori di Sicilia, and orange extract and beat for 2-3 minutes, until frosting is very light and fluffy. Add enough orange food coloring to reach your desired shade.

Fit a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe generous swirls of frosting onto each cupcake.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Makes 7.

Orange Cream Mini Cupcakes

orange cream cupcakeI’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

Ingredients

  • 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.

Preparation

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

Ingredients

  • 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.

Preparation

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.