Friday, March 28, 2008

orange cream (creamsicle) cupcakes

Creamsicle Cupcakes ed03

Today is a good day! Or at least as good as any day can be at 5:40 a.m. You see, this morning I conquered my fear of marshmallows -- or, to be more precise, my fear of using a candy thermometer to make marshmallows...or anything else, for that matter. The idea of waiting for a metal stick to tell me when it's time to take a boiling, lava-hot pot of sugar off the stove made me skittish for years, and it wasn't helped by my one experience burning sugar last year (gas range = no good for making caramel). But today was the day, and so dedicated to the task was I that I got up extra early to set to it.

Spatula in shaky hand, I watched the temperature on the thermometer creep up. Finally, after what seemed like many heart-palpitating ages, the mixture hit 235 and I yanked it off the stove. It was, to my great delight, unburnt, and as I slowly poured it into the egg whites, the subtle scent of marshmallow began to waft out of the mixer bowl. Success! I wouldn't have to scrap my plans for these marvelous creamsicle cupcakes -- my entry for the March edition of Cupcake Hero -- after all.

Creamsicle Cupcakes ed01

These cupcakes might be the second biggest baking success I've had so far (coming in a bit ahead of the red wine cupcakes and just behind these). They taste unmistakably like a creamsicle. The cake has a bright orange flavor and the orange frosting has the clever, citrusy bite of an orange popsicle. The marshmallow fluff enhances both, and yet manages not to be overpowered by the orange flavor in the rest of the cupcake. I wouldn't change a single thing about this recipe -- nothing. These cupcakes are completely and utterly fantastic, and worth making over and over and over again. In fact, each of the three components is truly delicious on its own, so I would encourage you to borrow them for other recipes -- birthday cakes, trifles, whatever you see fit. Enjoy!

Note: To frost the cupcakes like I did (big swirls), you will likely need to double both the frosting and the fluff recipe below.

Orange Cream (Creamsicle) Cupcakes

Adapted from a recipe by Cheryl at The Cupcake Bakeshop
Makes a little over 24 cupcakes
2-3 medium oranges
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Orange Frosting
A Dulcedo original
1 cup butter, room temperature
6-8 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)

Marshmallow Fluff
Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup water
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Peel oranges (removing any seeds and as much of the white pith as possible) and puree in a blender or food processor. Measure out 1/2 cup of the liquidy pulp. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine orange pulp, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, orange extract, sugar, and vegetable oil.

With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.

Fill your cupcake containers of choice a scant 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before filling, frosting, or garnishing as desired.

To make the orange frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy. Add half of the sifted sugar, the vanilla, the orange extract, and the orange juice. Beat until combined. Gradually add the remaining sugar until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

To make the marshmallow fluff:
Heat 1 1/2 cups sugar, the corn syrup, and 2/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 235 degrees. [This is what your sugar mixture will look like at 235 degrees F.]

Meanwhile, put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add the hot syrup in a slow, steady stream down sides of bowl. Raise speed to medium-high; beat until stiff peaks begin to form. With the mixer still running, gradually add the vanilla and continue beating until the fluff is smooth and cool, about 7 minutes.

How to pipe two colors of frosting at once:
Place your decorating bag, tip down, in a glass and fold the top of the bag over the rim of the glass. Using long teaspoons, alternate adding each color of frosting to the bag. Though it takes longer, the best results are achieved when you add only small amounts of each color at a time. You'll need to sort of press the frosting up against the side of the bag as you go; it will naturally fall toward the center a bit. (The marshmallow fluff is a great frosting to use for two-color piping because it naturally wants to stick to the side of the decorating bag.)

Creamsicle Cupcakes ed02


  1. Your cupcake has been chosen for ATC’s Weekly Cupcake Collection! Click here for more info. Looking forward to your next cupcake creation!

  2. Beautiful cupcakes. I always wondered how to make the two toned piped icing!

  3. These look beautiful. I've been wanting to make a cupcake in this flavor. How well does the frosting hold up?

  4. CB - Thanks for picking my cupcake!

    Pinky - The frosting is very stable. I did refrigerate my cupcakes right after I piped on the frosting, but it turned out to be unnecessary. They can go unrefrigerated for quite a long time since the frosting is just made up of a standard buttercream and marshmallow.

  5. Adorable! MMmm creamsicle, what a great idea! I will have to try it out.

  6. I love your blog!

    These cupcakes were awesome! I followed your recipe exactly with rave reviews. I also made them into mini cupcakes so they were bite-sized creamsicle perfection. The only problem I had was that my orange frosting had hardly a tint to it. I just added coloring.

  7. Thanks, Amy. I did add a little bit of gel-based food coloring in order to come out with my orange frosting, but I don't normally note that in my recipes. I'm glad you liked the cupcakes as much as I did!

  8. Wow, thank-you so much, I baked them in an ice cream cone and they turned out great. I loved the mixed icing-everyone was talking about them. Thanks

  9. You're welcome. I love them, too -- one of the best cake/frosting combinations I've ever had.

  10. I just tried these. I followed your instructions to the letter and they turned out amazing! Love the marshmallow fluff, what a great twist!

  11. This was a big hit with friends and family. You would not believe how many people asked me for this recipe.

  12. What size pastry bag tip did you use to make it look like ice cream? Thanks!

  13. Hmm...I don't recall the number on the tip, but looking at my picture and then a few examples online, I'm pretty sure it is the Wilton #1M (2110) open star tip. It has to be used with a large coupler. (You won't see the coupler in my pictures because the frosting bag shown is cut to fit that tip exactly.)

  14. Mine didn't turn out at all. :( I didn't have orange extract though, and this was my first time making cupcakes from scratch. :( It was my fault though, I bet if I woulda done them right they would be amazing!

  15. I'm sorry these didn't turn out for you. The orange extract is key. I hope you'll try them again sometime when you have all the ingredients on hand.

  16. if you were to put a filling in these, what would you use? OR....are they better without? thanks, sue

  17. If you make both of the frostings, I would not use a filling. It would be flavor overload, in my opinion. You could, however, use the orange frosting on top of the cupcakes use the marshmallow fluff as a filling if you didn't want to swirl the frosting together like above.

    If you only use one of the frostings, then I would pick a filling that goes well with orange. Chocolate, maybe.

  18. Could you use th marshmallow fluff that comes in a jar at the store? I feel like making it would be a pretty daring feat for me at my skill level. They look delicious though!

  19. Allison -- You should be able to, though I have never tried to pipe store-bought marshmallow fluff through a piping tip.

  20. Loved how fun these cupcakes were. The only problem I had was that I only cooked them for 15 minutes and yet they still came out a little bit hard, and when I frosted them the next day they were extremely dry. I did substitute the vegetable oil for applesauce but for me that usually helps keep it moist. Any suggestions?

  21. Hmm...the cupcakes should definitely not be dry or hard. If the only change you made was replacing the vegetable oil with applesauce, that must be it. Perhaps the applesauce didn't mix particularly well with the buttermilk? I hope you'll try the recipe as written sometime -- it really is a good one!

  22. I made the icing and followed the directions exactly for the marshmallow cream. I boiled the water, sugar and corn syrup until my candy thermometer reached 235 and then slowly poured it into the beaten egg whites while beating the mix. I let it cool completely but after I put it in a piping bag with the buttercream the icing just oozed off the cupcake. I could not use it. Any suggestions as to what to try differently? I thought of adding plain gelatin to make it keep it's shape.

  23. Anon - I'm not sure what went wrong there. I would suggest trying one more time before making alterations to the recipe. It should turn out great as is.

  24. These look amazing! I want to make this my next Adventure in Bakeland!

  25. I baked this just a few minutes ago and the cupcakes are very moist and tasted good, but they didn't taste very much like orange to myself or my mom. After the first batch cooked I added more orange extract and they were a little more flavorful, but still not the "bright orange flavor" I was expecting. I followed the recipe exactly, and did use fresh squeezed orange juice. I did not, however, use any of the pulp in my batch, just the orange juice itself. Would this change the flavor level? They were still delicious, but I am wondering if there is anything else that would give me more of an orange flavor?

  26. RachelRad -- If you omitted the orange pulp, you did not follow the recipe exactly. It's the key ingredient for providing the orange flavor.

  27. I absolutely love those baking cups- where did you get them?

  28. Hey, I am looking forward to baking these for someone on saturday. I saw a simular recipe that calls for orange flavored gelatin and cheescake pudding mix. do you think this would be a flavor overload?

  29. Anon #1 - I bought them online, but I bought them in bulk about 4 years ago and I don't recall the name of the store. If you search for souffle cups or nut 'n party cups that should bring up some results.

    Anon #2 - I would not recommend adding pudding or jello mixes to this recipe. It really works just the way it is, and you can't add a mix without adjusting the amounts of other ingredients accordingly.

  30. I am the person Anon#2: If I increase the amount of orange flavoring do you think I would get a wow! pow! punch of orange. That is what I am looking for in these cupcakes? I only ask because another person said it was slightly orange and I really want a really orange cream flavor?

    Thanks again

  31. The butter you used, was it unsalted?

  32. Also, if your pressed for time can you use a orange flavored cake mix? Do you have any suggestions for making a chocolate twisted frosting?

  33. Anon #2 - I would really suggest that you try the recipe the way it appears before making any alterations. Only one person who commented here said that the cupcakes lacked flavor, and that person left out 50% of the ingredients that provide the orange flavor.

    Anon # 3 (regarding butter) - The butter in the frosting is salted butter.

  34. How did you get that nice orange color frosting? I don't see on the frosting ingredients any food coloring.


  35. I tried these twice, only to have them sink in the middle twice.... what am I doing wrong? I followed the recipe to the letter... no substiutions. Help!

  36. I used orange emulsion; the orange flavor really popped. The buttercream is really sweet, but I think I just prefer a buttercream made with granulated sugar... Anyway, it was good and a fun experiment :) Thanks!

  37. Great cupcakes! DO NOT use jarred marshmellow cream for the homemade marshmellow cream. It looked great at first, but then started reacting with the orange frosting and melted and ran off the cupcakes. Disaster. Follow the recipe to the letter. I will next time. :-)

  38. Mine fell in the middle, too :( all that work for crappy cakes....followed the recipe exactly as well.

  39. I had an absolute blast making these cupcakes. My bridesmaids and I are all over the country so we are bonding by testing recipes for wedding cake flavors. This one definitely won for my summer wedding! I got rave reviews on them from my test subjects. The only issue anyone had was one of my bridesmaids used marshmallow fluff from the store instead of making it from scratch. Apparently her icing melted everywhere. I think that convinced her to run out and get a candy thermometer for the next batch! Thanks again for the fantastic recipe!