This article will guide you through creating a delightful batch of Orange Frosting that is fresh, fluffy, and bursting with REAL orange flavor. Unlike other recipes, this one doesn’t rely on artificial extracts to achieve that orange taste. Instead, it uses the zest and juice of fresh oranges. This natural fruit-flavored frosting is perfect for topping various cakes and cupcakes!
As a skilled pastry chef, I thoroughly enjoy experimenting with different cupcake and cake combinations, especially when it comes to matching them with complementing frosting flavors. This particular orange buttercream frosting is incredibly versatile. It pairs well with a wide array of sweet treats, including cupcakes, cakes, and even cookies.
To make this easy frosting, we start with a base of vanilla frosting and enhance it with the invigorating taste of fresh oranges. By using both the zest and juice of the orange, you can maximize the flavor profile. The beauty of this recipe is that you can adjust the thickness of the buttercream to your liking. If you prefer a thinner consistency, simply follow our quick tips for thinning frosting. But if you prefer it thicker, we’ve got you covered too!
There are endless possibilities for utilizing this delectable icing! You can spread it on top of classic vanilla cupcakes, sandwich it between crispy orange cookies or chocolate orange shortbread, or fill and frost a 6-inch chocolate cake for the ultimate chocolate orange combination (a personal favorite!).
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- This is a FIVE-minute frosting made completely from scratch using basic pantry and refrigerator staples that you may already have on hand.
- This frosting is free from extracts and artificial flavoring agents. Instead, it derives its delightful taste from natural fruit flavor.
- The versatility of this orange buttercream frosting is exceptional! It harmonizes perfectly with various cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.
- If you’re looking for a frosting that is ideal for almost any dessert, this orange-flavored delight is an absolute winner!
- Powdered sugar – This superfine sugar sweetens the frosting without altering its texture.
- Unsalted butter – It is essential to use room temperature butter that has been softened to ensure it creams properly with the powdered sugar. In case you forget to leave the butter out, we’ve got you covered with a quick method to soften butter.
- Oranges – Both the zest and juice of the orange are used to infuse the frosting with a burst of delicious flavor. Any type of orange, be it navel, valencia, care cara, tangerine, mandarin, clementine, or blood orange, will work beautifully.
- Milk – This ingredient helps achieve a creamy and fluffy texture by loosening the consistency of the frosting. Alternatively, you can use heavy cream.
- Kosher salt – Although optional, a pinch of salt refines the overall flavor, enhancing the sweetness and tanginess.
HOW TO MAKE ORANGE FROSTING
- Cream sugar and butter: In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to mix the confectioners sugar and unsalted butter. Start on low speed and gradually increase to medium, allowing the sugar to combine with the butter. Mix for approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Blend in real orange flavor: Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the orange zest and juice. Continue mixing on low speed, progressively increasing to medium. Finally, add the milk and mix for an additional 3 minutes.
- You don’t need to worry about measuring out the juice precisely. This frosting is forgiving, so if it becomes too thin, simply add 1/4 more powdered sugar. Conversely, if it’s too thick, add 1 teaspoon of juice at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.
As for piping this orange frosting, I highly recommend using piping bags and a 1M tip from Wilton.
This frosting recipe yields enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes. If you’re using a piping technique, you’ll have enough for about 12 cupcakes. However, if you prefer frosting with a knife, you can frost approximately 16 cupcakes.
For cakes, this recipe will provide enough frosting to fill and frost a two-layer 8-inch cake.
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Gradually increase speed: When creaming the butter and sugar, it is important to start on low speed and gradually increase it. This prevents the powdered sugar from creating a mess by blowing out of the bowl.
- Thin or thicken frosting: If your frosting is too thick, you can add a splash of milk or extra orange juice to loosen it. Conversely, if the frosting is not thick enough, incorporate more confectioners sugar (1/4 cup at a time) until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Enhance the color: To intensify the pale orange hue naturally, add a few drops of orange food coloring or a small amount of gel food coloring.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
- Storing: Transfer the orange icing to an airtight container and cover it tightly with a layer of plastic wrap. This prevents the frosting from hardening on the top. The container can be kept at room temperature for one day or refrigerated for 5-7 days. Alternatively, you can dump the frosting onto plastic wrap and wrap it tightly. Before using the frosting, let it sit at room temperature for approximately 1 hour. You may need to rewhip it using a mixer.
- Freezing: Spoon the frosting onto a piece of plastic wrap and fold it over the top, securely bundling the frosting. Place the bundled frosting in the freezer until it is almost solid. Afterward, transfer it to a freezer-safe container. When stored correctly, the frosting can be frozen for 2-3 months.
Can I use store-bought orange juice to add flavor to this frosting?
Yes, you can! If you choose to use store-bought orange juice instead of fresh oranges, I recommend opting for 100% fruit juice or 100% fruit juice concentrate. However, keep in mind that using fresh orange zest will give the frosting a more intense orange flavor.
Can I make orange frosting without food coloring?
Absolutely! The natural pale orange hue of this frosting comes from the addition of orange juice and zest. If you prefer a deeper color, you can incorporate a small amount of 100% carrot juice concentrate or powder, or even sweet potato flour. Alternatively, if you don’t mind using artificial flavoring, prepared Tang is an excellent option for achieving both a vibrant orange color and enhanced flavor.
Is it better to use milk or heavy cream for buttercream frosting?
Both milk and heavy cream are suitable options for frosting, and your choice depends on the desired texture. Milk creates a light and fluffy frosting, while cream yields a smoother and richer consistency.
WAYS TO ENJOY
This delightful orange-flavored frosting pairs perfectly with a variety of treats, including:
- Pumpkin cupcakes
- Chocolate cupcakes
- Coconut cupcakes
- Chocolate loaf cake
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