Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes aren’t just for kids — grown-ups are especially fond of these orange-scented little cakes, which sport a luscious orange cream cheese frosting. They are also rather good topped with chocolate frosting.–Judith Sutton

Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes 24 cupcakes


  • For the cupcakes
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure orange extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • For the frosting
  • One 8-ounce package cold cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  • Make the cupcakes
  • 1. Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 24 muffin cups with foil or paper cupcake liners.
  • 2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • 3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange extract and zest. On low speed, beat in the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions and beating just until incorporated.
  • 4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. (The cupcakes can be baked up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.)
  • Make the frosting
  • 5. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and creamy. Beat in the orange zest and extract. On low speed beat in the confectioners’ sugar in two additions, beating until smooth.
  • 6. Spread the frosting generously over the cupcakes. Or, transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe a generous swirl of frosting onto each cupcake. (The frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.)
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Donna Hollis

Jun 23, 2005

These were very easy to make. My 10-year-old nephew ate 4 1/2 the day I made them! The kids loved them. These were very light and fluffy cupcakes. The orange flavor was subtle, not overpowering. The cupcakes are a great dessert for both adults and kids. They disappeared very quickly.

I was surprised at how yummy the cakes were. In my opinion, they were just orangey enough. Lovely with a cup of tea. I will do them again, no doubt. They are quick and pretty straightforward to make.

Testers Choice
Kim Walker

Jun 23, 2005

These are nice little cakes. I wish they had more orange flavor, but the texture was perfect–not too crumbly or dense—and the cupcakes stayed moist for at least four days. I’d use this recipe as a base for other kinds of cupcakes. I love cream cheese frosting and this was a good one.

  1. Jenny V says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe! My cousin had some water damage to her kitchen and has been eating out for four weeks while its being redone. She was saying yesterday that what she missed most was craving something and just being able to bake it. She was craving orange cream cupcakes with orange cream icing. She said she didn’t even know if they existed but that first thing she would do when she got her kitchen back was make some! I found your recipe and I’m going to make them for her this weekend :) THANK YOU for helping me bless her through this stressful remodel.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      You’re very welcome, Jenny. Glad to hear that we could be of help. Your cousin is quite fortunate to have a fairy recipe godmother…

  2. Julie Czarnecki says:

    Loved these cupcakes the first time I baked them, but wanted just a bit more orange, pop!!! While on vactaion I found a shop that carried orange oil. It made all the difference using three teaspoons in place of the extract in the cupcake recipe and one teaspoon orange oil and one teaspoon vanilla in the frosting recipe. Wow!!! I also made 1 1/2 times the frosting recipe with 4 cups confectioners sugar; since the original recipe did not quite go far enough and seemed a bit too soft/wet.

    • Beth Price, LC Recipe Testing Director says:

      What a great idea! Thanks for sharing your tips.

      Beth Price
      Director of Recipe Testing

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