Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves: Makes ~9 Cupcakes
Approx cost: €4
Approx calories (per cupcake): ~270
Approx preparation and cooking time: 45 mins

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”] H ave I ever expounded on my addiction to cupcakes? Little paper-clad parcels of joy, guaranteed to brighten your day and tighten your waistband. Well – I love them. A good cupcake is the perfect size to satisfy a sweet craving you might have and a perfect accompaniment to a cup of mid-morning coffee but you know, there are a great many sites out there which like to make you think that the creation of a cupcake is something really difficult. Well – it’s really not. The frosting is hard; decorating one of these little mouth-parties to the standards of some that I’ve seen around the web has the potential of being very difficult, but the basic cake recipe at the bottom? Child’s play!

I recently bought a bottle of orange extract and just couldn’t wait to put it to use (why oh why did I not buy rose water at the same time? :( ) and I figured that this would be as good a time as any to put it into service. Hopefully, you’ll agree that they look a damn sight better than my last cupcake recipe (lol) and the creamy, tangy frosting comes highly recommended! Hope you can give them a try :)


Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 120g Butter
  • 120g Caster Sugar
  • 120g Plain Flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps Baking Powder (Or skip the baking powder if you are using Self-Raising flour instead of Plain)
  • Zest from one Orange

For the frosting

  • 200g Cream Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 0.5  – 1 tsp Orange Extract (adjust to taste)
  • 1 or 2 squares of Plain Chocolate to decorate


  1. Start off by pre-heating your oven to around 160 degrees Celsius and then place the butter and sugar into a large bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon and beat until creamy and pale in colour. Once this is done, crack the eggs and add to the mixture, an egg at a time, beating well after each addition to prevent curdling.
    Creaming the butter and sugar
  2. Sift in the flour and fold in to the mixture until completely blended and then add in the orange zest, again, folding in well to the mixture.
    Adding in the Orange zest
  3. Divide the mixture between 9 – 12 paper cases. I like to use muffin cases. The cake ends up a little larger, but is a much more satisfying treat. Place the cases with the mixture inside into the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until you can stick in a fork and have it come out clean.
    Filling the paper cases
  4. While the cakes are baking, place the cream cheese, orange extract and icing sugar into a small bowl and mix well with a fork or small whisk. Orange extract can be quite strong so you may want to adjust the amount to your personal taste. Personally I like a nice tangy touch in the frosting. Mixing the cream cheese with the orange extract
  5. Cover the bowl of frosting and place in the refrigerator. Allow to chill for an hour or so, and meanwhile remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool. Once the cakes have cooled completely transfer the chilled frosting into a piping bag or, if you don’t have one, I used a food safe bag, such as a freezer or sandwich bag. Place the frosting into one corner and carefully cut off a small corner of the bag. Squeeze the frosting gently down towards the hole and then pipe onto the cakes in whichever pattern you feel like. Once done, shave chocolate from the squares using a sharp knife and sprinkle on top of the cakes. If you’re not planning on eating them immediately, it’s better to leave them un-frosted. This way you can store them in a tin, instead of the refrigerator, and only need frost them when desired. Enjoy!

    Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

    More cupcakes!


  1. says

    Hmmm, I was always wondering – what is the difference between muffins and cupcakes? I thought that it’s about the size, but well, they sell minimuffins here of the same size as cupcakes. Maybe the frosting makes a difference?… Im confused (

    • says

      Muffins are usually more “bread-like”… so a bit more chewy than cupcakes. They usually have no frosting and are less sweet too, although if you look at some “muffins” sold in stores it’s easy to see where the confusion comes from 😀

      • says

        Yeah.. I am terrible at baking, so I only tried the muffins from Dunnes ) But my boss’s gf is very much into cupcakes, she has her own catering service focused on cupcakes, so from time to time we get some of it at work. She does awesome frosting, she even made one with the company’s logo, I can find the photo of it for you if you’d like )

  2. says

    Your photos are more and more beautiful. These cupcakes look quite simple indeed, but to be frank, I have never had a single cupcake in my life. Are they like muffins with a fancy hat?

    Anyway, I have just clicked to see your previous cupcakes. They look luscious with the thick chocolate cream (frosting?) top and as a chocolate freak I would definitely taste first the chocolate ones.

    Have you ever tried baking with orange flower water? I have never tested it.

    • says

      Thank you Sissi :) I can’t believe you’ve never had a single cupcake! There was a company in England which used to make incredible cupcakes many years ago… on a commercial scale I mean, and I used to love them. I bought them again recently on a trip to England a few months ago and they were disgusting – they’d decided that it was appropriate to replace the “chocolate frosting” with “chocolate flavour frosting” (not even chocolate flavoureD – there’s some very subtle rules like this regarding food labelling in England, I learned all about them in home economics! 😀 ) and they were really bad.

      I’ll definitely “re-visit” the chocolate cupcakes again and make them better. I made double chocolate cupcakes once and they were just amazing :) My mother has used orange flower water before I think, but it’s not something I’ve ever tried either – I should investigate it!

  3. says

    Charles… you’re killing me here with your desserts!! I just love orange in cakes, loaves,… come to think of it, everything. I find zest works particularly well at piercing through flavour wise. Interesting about the orange extract in the frosting – is it colourless? Just curious, I would have guessed it would tint the cream cheese an orange hue. These cupcakes look fantastic and your frosting application, wow, wow – pas mal parfait. Look forward to your rose water recipe next :)

    • says

      Hi Kelly – checking the side of the orange extract bottle, it says the ingredients are vegetable oil and orange oil – checking the colour it seems a very faint orange hue, but really mostly colourless. I think you'd have to add a *lot* to get any noticeable colour change! :) I would like to get a piping bag at some point… though for now a plastic bag will suffice 😉

      • says

        Wow, you got that frosting on with a baggie? I'm totally impressed. I don't have a piping bag either but am not nearly as coordinated with a plastic bag.

        • says

          Haha, it's not as hard as it looks, although you can't get "fancy" with it. No little swirly bits, just a simple "sausage" shape :)

        • says

          I don't seem to be able to snip a uniform cut in the bag because even the sausage swirl is a challenge for me – ha-ha – you'll see my version in a post coming up in the next week or so…

    • says

      Hi Greg – not sure what orange flower water is like… I think it's less strong, but I'm sure it would definitely impart a lovely flavour still!

  4. says

    I just love cupcakes. And these cupcakes with the tangy orange cream on top looks utterly delicious. Of course, if these cupcakes were chocolate I would love it even more but you know I'm just a choco-aholic lol.

    • says

      Thanks Sadhana – I guess it didn't turn out so bad for just a quick frosting job using a plastic bag! I'd love to get a real icing bag though – you can do so much with them. Hope you're having a good day :)

  5. says

    Charles, What lovely little cupcakes. I love orange and lemon in desserts. It's that sweet tart combination that goes so well together. I have a piping bag but you have the job of cleaning it, whereas with a food bag you just toss it. You did a great job without one.

    • says

      Thanks Karen – I can imagine it would be a real pain to clean, for sure. I might get one of these things which looks a bit like a putty gun. You put the frosting in and then just put the plunger thing in and pull the trigger and it comes out the end. Guess it might be a little easier to clean maybe… just dump it in hot water hopefully :)

  6. says

    Charles, when I saw your comment on another blogger's cookie post that they needed "a nice cup of tea," I immediately had to check out your blog! That's how I judge every baked good–how well it goes with a cup of tea! And these cupcakes would definitely fill the bill!

    • says

      Hi Jean, thanks for visiting my site! I'm glad you liked the look of these cakes – I have to say they didn't last very long at all… hence why I don't make too many cakes like this. It's just so easy to sit down and start eating – before you know it you'ved wolfed down 4 😀

  7. Fara says

    I just made a batch of these!! They are delicious. Everybody loved them! The cakes are very light and moist. I added a little orange juice to the cake batter. And the frosting- I don’t really like cream cheese frosting- but this one…. YUM! I didn’t have orange essence- so I used the zest of an orange and a little bit of orange juice. Did have to add quite a bit more icing sugar for it to be icing consistency though! But delicious! Loveeeeeee these cupcakes!!!! :)

    • says

      Hi Fara, thanks so much for letting me know. Orange essence is fantastic if you can get it… SO strong, but you made a good substitution in its place, although you’d definitely need to “dry out” the frosting a bit with extra sugar.

      Glad they worked out ok – thanks so much for stopping by :)

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