Easy and Fresh Orange Buttercream Frosting Recipe Post Preview: The recipe and directions for how to make this light and airy orange icing that pairs perfectly a variety of cupcakes and cakes. This post contains a printable recipe for easy reference later.
Even though my family and friends all love my light and airy vanilla frosting, my husband still isn’t 100% on the frosting train. I think he’s crazy, but the frosting isn’t his favorite part of cakes and cupcakes. What’s up with that?
Since Eric loves fruity flavors, especially citrus, I knew that I just might win him over with some orange buttercream frosting on chocolate cupcakes. The classic orange and chocolate flavor combination is delicious in a cupcake!
One of the things that we both really loved about this orange icing recipe is the orange zest in the frosting. The addition of the orange zest gives it not only a lovely appearance but a fresh and zesty taste as well.
I was afraid that the orange flavor or addition of zest might make my kids turn up their noses at it. However, I was pleasantly surprised that even the kids loved this orange buttercream frosting.
Related Reading: Easy Homemade Almond Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Easy and Fresh Orange Buttercream Frosting Recipe
If you want a printable version of the recipe, just scroll farther down in the post until you see the heading for the printable recipe.
Ingredients for the Orange Icing
- 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, soft and at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of orange extract
- 3 tablespoons of milk (see note below about milk amount)
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of fresh orange zest
- Orange food coloring (optional, I did not use it in the cupcakes shown)
Note on milk amount: This measurement is approximate. You’ll decide on how much exactly based on the consistency you want, so start with slightly less and keep adding more until you hit your desired consistency. I often end up with slightly over three tablespoons, but it is best to start under three tablespoons.
Directions: How to Make Orange Buttercream Frosting
1. Put the softened butter in a bowl first. I love my handy dandy Kitchen Aid mixer, and I beat the butter well after adding it to the bowl to make sure it is nice and creamy. You can do this with a hand mixer as well, of course, though too.
2. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time to the butter, and cream them together.
3. Stir in the vanilla extract, orange extract, and milk.
4. Then, beat the mixture well. If it is not thick enough, add some more powdered sugar.
However, if you’re like me, you are always apt to add in just a bit more milk to make it slightly thinner.
You’ll just need to use your best judgment on this to find the consistency that is most to your personal liking.
5. Add in orange zest.
6. If you want to add in food coloring, this is the time to do it!
When I use food coloring, I always use this food coloring for easy-to-achieve, vibrant colors.
However, for this orange icing recipe, I don’t use food coloring. I feel that the orange zest and extract give the frosting a slight coloring all on their own. Also, I like how much more fresh and natural it looks to be able to see the pieces of zest within the orange buttercream frosting on the cupcake.
7. At this point, I beat the frosting for several more minutes to give the frosting a light, fluffy texture.
8. Frost your cupcakes or cake shortly after the frosting is done.
This recipe usually makes enough for me to be able to frost 24 cupcakes, sometimes with some leftover, depending on your frosting method. If you are putting a large amount of frosting on each cupcake, you may end up with slightly less than 24 cupcakes worth.
Like orange zest in your desserts? You might want to check out these Orange Sugar and Spice Cookies!
More Information and Tips for Making Light and Fluffy Frosting
I didn’t always beat the frosting for so long to get that light and fluffy frosting texture that everyone seems to love so much.
However, one time, I was trying to make the frosting orange, and I had a horrible time making it happen. I just kept having to add more yellow, then more of the red, then more yellow, then more red, and so on.
All that time, of course, I was mixing it in my Kitchen Aid. I was then rewarded with not only orange frosting, but light, airy, and delicious orange frosting. I got so many compliments, and people even asked how it was so light. So, that became my frosting mixing method from there on out, even though I now use a more reliable food coloring method.
Easy and Fresh Orange Buttercream Frosting Printable Recipe
Easy and Fresh Orange Buttercream Frosting Recipe
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter soft and at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 ½ teaspoons orange extract
- 3 tablespoons milk see note below about milk amount
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh orange zest
- Orange food coloring optional
- Put the softened butter in a bowl first. I love my handy dandy Kitchen Aid mixer, and I beat the butter well after adding it to the bowl to make sure it is nice and creamy. You can do this with a hand mixer as well, of course, though too.
- Add the powdered sugar a little at a time to the butter, and cream them together.
- Stir in the vanilla extract, orange extract, and milk.
- Then, beat the mixture well. If it is not thick enough, add some more powdered sugar. However, if you’re like me, you are always apt to add in just a bit more milk to make it slightly thinner. You'll just need to use your best judgment on this to find the consistency that is most to your personal liking.
- Add in orange zest.
- If you want to add in food coloring, this is the time to do it! (I don't feel this recipe needs it, but this is the time to do it if you want it.)
- At this point, I beat the frosting for several more minutes to give the frosting a light, fluffy texture.
- Frost cupcakes or cake shortly after frosting is done.
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Erica A. says
We made an orange vanilla cake and topped it with your frosting. It was amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Angie Kauffman says
That sounds delicious! What a perfect summertime dessert!