Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting are reminiscent of those 50/50 ice cream bars I remember eating as a kid. This delicious treat has flavors of orange and vanilla perfectly paired together in this easy and delicious dessert. The cupcake is moist, light, and fluffy flavored with fresh oranges and gelatin. The frosting is a creamy and smooth vanilla buttercream perfect for piping. Top them off with a wedge of fresh orange or fun sugar crystals. 

Frosted cupcakes decorated with orange sugar crystals and popsicle sticks reminiscent of Creamsicles.

As we doctor a white cake mix with some additional ingredients, we also increase how many cupcakes we make. Not the usual 24, we actually end up with about 34 cupcakes.

How great is that when baking for a crowd? 

In addition, they freeze well in a tightly sealed container for up to about 3 months. That is, if you don’t need all 34 at once, but oh, they go fast.

Unfrosted orange cupcakes.

Making Orange Cupcakes

Using a white cake mix, you’ll need some additional ingredients. The box calls for eggs and oil, but you’ll also need some milk, orange extract, orange juice, the rind from a fresh orange, and a small box of orange gelatin.

One thing you won’t need is orange food coloring. These cupcakes orange-up beautifully with the orange juice and orange gelatin, plus they keep their color as they bake. Check out the picture above.

Divide the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for about 18 minutes in a preheated 350° oven. You’ll know they’re done baking when you tap your finger gently on top of one of the cupcakes and it springs back. If the dent stays, bake for another couple minutes, then re-test.

Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Let me know what you think, but I think the aftertaste from these cupcakes tastes just like those gummy orange candies in the first picture. 

If you’re an orange lover, I think you’ll love these cupcakes.

Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Making Vanilla Frosting for your Orange Cupcakes

I love this buttercream recipe. It’s easy to make, plus it’s wonderful for piping. It holds its shape and tastes fantastic.

In the recipe, I call for 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening. The reason I do this is because of the great buttery taste from the butter, but I want the white color and consistency from the shortening.

Flexibility: if you don’t have one or the other, you can simply use 1 cup of either.

Using all butter will make the frosting ever-so slightly more yellow, but it’s going to taste great and buttery.

Using all shortening will make for a brighter white frosting and a greater piping consistency, plus it will taste great, just without the buttery flavor.

Just my opinion, but you can see why I go half/half.

Cupcakes decorated with flat rose frosting.

Further, when you add the vanilla extract to the frosting, you can choose between pure vanilla, or go for a clear imitation vanilla extract. The clear is just that, it’s clear, but the pure vanilla is dark brown and can tint the frosting just a bit.

Having said that, the frosting in all these pictures was made with half butter, half shortening, and pure vanilla extract (the dark brown one). 

So, to finish up the frosting, whip up the butter/shortening and add the extract. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time scraping the sides as you go. Use the milk to smooth out the consistency a tablespoon at a time, and give yourself a little taste. Add a pinch of salt, which helps to balance the sweetness. 

Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Fill your piping bag and have at it. I used my standard Wilton 2D tip for the swirls and flat roses, and I’m happy to say I had just enough frosting. 

Well…actually, I did eat those first 2 cupcakes without frosting, so let’s say it’s close. I tend to start with a swirl, but as I start running out of frosting, I switch to flat roses.

Flat roses use less frosting, but look just as beautiful. 

If your goal is to have them all look the same, you can still do the swirls, just don’t go too close to the edge. You’ll use less frosting that way, plus the pretty orange cupcake will show just a little.

Swirls are fun because of how the sprinkles get caught in all the nooks and crannies.

Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

For more dessert recipes:

With a name like “Sweet Ordeal,” you know I have to have other dessert recipes. Ha!

Here are a few of my favorites, plus a few fan favorites:

Or, you can just go to the dessert menu on my site to check them all out. There’s quite a few…desserts are fun to make.

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5 from 2 votes

Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

A light and fluffy orange cupcake paired with a smooth vanilla buttercream.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
Total Time38 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake mix, fresh orange, gelatin
Servings: 34 cupcakes
Calories: 143kcal
Author: Sweet Ordeal



  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • zest from one fresh orange
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, (or regular milk)
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 oz. box orange gelatin
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange extract


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. milk, or heavy cream
  • pinch of salt



  • Preheat oven to 350° and place 34 cupcake liners in muffin pans.
  • In large bowl, mix eggs, oil, zest and milk. Add cake mix and gelatin.
  • Add orange juice and extract. Scrape sides and beat just until thoroughly mixed, do not overmix.
  • Divide evenly into liners. Bake approx. 18 minutes or until cupcake springs back when your finger touches it.
  • Cool 5 minutes in muffin pans, then remove to wire rack. Allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.


  • Using a mixer, beat butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
  • Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Scrape sides. Add pinch of salt.
  • Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.
  • Spread or pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Enjoy!


Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @sweetordeal or tag #sweetordeal!

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You can leave on comment here, or if you like, leave a comment on Pinterest. After that, you can post a picture of your Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting on Pinterest. So, share your creation, we’d all love to see them.

Happy baking and have a blessed day.

Frosted cupcake decorated with sugar crystals and straw reminiscent of a creamsicle soda.Frosted cupcake decorated with popsicle stick and orange sugar crystals.Copyright © Sweet Ordeal. All content and images are copyright protected. Do not use any images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, make sure to re-write the recipe in your own words and only list ingredients making sure to link back to this post for the original recipe and directions.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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