The smell of morning from zesting oranges while you prepare orange creamsicle cupcakes only hints at what’s to come. The scent creeps throughout your home while the cupcakes bake, testing your willpower to wait. The orange creamsicle cupcakes are dense, like a pound cake, but their weight is countered with pillowy orange salted caramel frosting. They take you back to the call of the ice cream truck but surprise you with their grown-up complexity.
Yield: 16 cupcakes
2/3 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2/3 cup full-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup pure orange juice
Salted Caramel Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup pure orange juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup salted caramel (from above), room temperature
30 minutes before baking, mix sugar and orange zest in a small bowl to infuse the orange flavor into the sugar.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and the sugar/orange zest mixture until light and fluffy.
Mix eggs, sour cream, and vanilla into butter/sugar mixture until fully combined.
Alternately mix the flour mixture and orange juice into the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Salted Caramel Directions:
Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat.
Add brown sugar and stir continuously until just boiling.
Add orange juice and salt and stir well.
Stir in heavy whipping cream until just combined.
Remove from heat.
Cool to room temperature.
Set aside ½ cup for the frosting.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter on high speed with an electric mixer for three minutes until light and fluffy.
Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
Mix in salt and orange zest.
Mix in salted caramel.
Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.
Optionally, drizzle any extra salted caramel over the frosting.
Stefani Pollack is the author of the popular cupcake blog, Cupcake Project. While she loves simple chocolate cupcakes, Stefani prefers creative cupcakes inspired by her favorite flavor combinations. She encourages her readers to branch out and experiment in the kitchen. Why cupcakes? They bring out the kid in us! Visit Stefani at www.cupcakeproject.com.
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