Summer Citrus Cupcakes

Nothing says summer like the fresh flavors of citrus. Tart lemons and oranges bursting with flavor are delicious and refreshing. We capture the essence of summer in these summer citrus cupcakes. Lemon would be an obvious choice for these, but we like the understated and delicious flavor of orange in this recipe. Incorporating both orange juice and orange zest keeps the star ingredient front and center with delicious results. You can interchange lemons, grapefruits, limes or oranges here with a variety of flavorful results.

Begin by zesting and juicing two large oranges. Set aside, and then follow this recipe.

citrus cupcake


1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, separated

Zest grated from 2 oranges

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar, adding egg yolks one at a time. Add orange zest. Sift dry ingredients together, and then add them to the butter mixture, alternating adding orange juice as well. Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold them into the batter. Pour batter into a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners (or well greased), and bake 18-22 minute until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before icing.

Orange Buttercream Frosting

3/4 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 box (16 ounces) powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Combine butter and orange zest in a mixer then add the powdered sugar gradually, beating until well blended. Add the orange juice until frosting is the desired consistency. For stronger flavor, use orange extract instead of juice. You’ll only need about 1/8 of a teaspoon, so thin the frosting with a little milk as needed.

Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with candied orange peel, a curl of fresh peel, or a mint leaf.

Capture the taste of summer in this delicious treat. It’s perfect for summer birthdays, office parties, barbecues, potlucks and more. The orange flavor is sweet and just a little tart and the buttercream intensifies the flavor in every bite. Try this recipe for summer citrus cupcakes today!