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Orange Spice Cupcakes

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These Orange Spice Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting are the sweetest way to celebrate the arrival of of the holiday season. The fresh citrus flavor of orange combined with warm spices including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves make these the most decadent cupcakes you’ll ever taste. They are the perfect sweet treat in fall and winter. Honestly though, Orange Spice Cupcakes are so good you’ll want to make them all year round.

Orange Spice Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting sprinkled with ground cinnamon.

Find the full recipe including ingredient list and instructions at the end of the post.

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

Oranges in a white pedestal bowl, flour, brown sugar, and spices on a wood board.

There are a few (not so secret) ingredients in this Orange Spice Cupcake recipe that make them extra special. First, I only use dark brown sugar in the cupcakes. If light brown sugar is all you have on hand, that’s okay, go ahead and use it. However, dark brown sugar adds an incredible depth of flavor and richness to these cupcakes that is totally worth it if you have it in your pantry. 

Next, while creating this recipe I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect combination and amounts of warm spices to enhance these cupcakes. I think I nailed it and hopefully you like them too. Here is the all-star spice lineup:

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves

Finally, the cake flour and sour cream in this recipe are ideal for making incredibly light, cakey, and fluffy cupcakes. And, who doesn’t want that?! 

Now that you know the (not so secret) ingredients that make this cupcake recipe extra special, let’s start baking!

How to Make Orange Spice Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl. Set them aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the softened butter and brown sugar together until creamy- about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, store-bought or homemade vanilla extract, and orange extract until they are light and fluffy. Then beat in the sour cream and orange zest on medium-high speed until they are well combined.

Orange spice cupcake batter in a bowl.

On low speed, beat in half of the dry mixture and then add in the milk. Add in the other half of the dry ingredients and beater them until they are all combined. Do not over-mix the batter.

Orange Spice Cupcakes ready to go into the oven to bake.

Pour or spoon the batter into the cupcake liners – fill them only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

The Icing on The (Cup)Cake

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting for the Orange Spice Cupcakes

This homemade Orange Cream Cheese Frosting is the pièce de résistance to these Orange Spice Cupcakes. In a large bowl, beat the room temperature butter until creamy. Add in the cream cheese until it’s well combined and smooth. Beat in the vanilla and orange extracts, salt, and about a teaspoon of orange zest. Slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar a cup at a time until the frosting is smooth. Spread the frosting on each cupcake using a knife or pipe it on with a pastry bag and frosting tip.

No Cake Flour? No Problem.

To get the most perfect version of these Orange Spice Cupcakes, I highly recommend using cake flour over all-purpose flour. If you don’t have any cake flour in the pantry, here is a DIY version:

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch

Instructions:

Measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons. Then, mix in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. This equals 1 cup of cake flour.

A hand holding a piece of cupcake to show the cakey inside.

I hope you love these Orange Spice Cupcakes as much as we do here on the farm. If you try the recipe, I’d love to know what you think. Please leave me a comment below.

Pinterest Pin for Orange Spice Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.

Orange Spice Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting sprinkled with ground cinnamon.
Yield: 10-12 Cupcakes

Orange Spice Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

These Orange Spice Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting are the sweetest way to celebrate the arrival of of the holiday season. The fresh citrus flavor of orange combined with warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves make the most decadent cupcakes you’ll ever taste. You’ll want to enjoy them all year round.

Ingredients

Orange Spice Cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Zest of an orange, divided

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Cinnamon for dusting

Instructions

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the softened butter and brown sugar together until creamy- about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and orange extract until they are light and fluffy. Then beat in the sour cream and a tablespoon of orange zest on medium-high speed until they are well combined.
  4. On low speed, beat in half of the dry mixture and then add in the milk. Add in the other half of the dry ingredients until they are all combined. Do not over-mix the batter.
  5. Pour or spoon the batter into the cupcake liners – fill them only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the room temperature butter until creamy. Add in the cream cheese until well combined and smooth.
  2. Beat in the vanilla and orange extracts, salt, and about a teaspoon of orange zest. Slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar a cup at a time until the frosting is smooth. 
  3. Spread the frosting on each cupcake using a knife or pipe it on with a pastry bag using a frosting tip.
  4. Sprinkle each cupcake with ground cinnamon.
Looking for more delicious fall sweet treats? You may want to check out these recipes too:

Delicious Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Perfect Pumpkin Parfaits

Come follow me on Pinterest and Instagram too! I can’t wait to share more farmhouse inspiration, delicious recipes, easy and beautiful DIYs with you there.

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