This recipe from Cupcake Project/Paula Dean totes the cupcakes as being Creamsicle Cupcakes. My husband and I didn't get that, so I changed the name as to not overpromise and underdeliver. These are still a flavorful orange cupcake topped with a delicious frosting that I could eat by the spoonful. (I'm speaking from experience here.) This is one of my new favorite frostings, and I'm thinking some of the other recipes I have flagged with salted caramel need to move higher on my list of projects.
Orange Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup pure orange juice
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup pure orange juice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup salted caramel (from above), room temperature
To make cupcakes, 30 minutes before baking, mix sugar and orange zest in a small bowl to infuse the orange flavor into the sugar.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and the sugar/orange zest mixture until light and fluffy.
Mix eggs, sour cream and vanilla into butter/sugar mixture until fully combined.
Alternately mix the flour mixture and orange juice into the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
To make the salted caramel, melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat.
Add brown sugar, and stir continuously until just boiling.
Add orange juice and salt, and stir well.
Stir in heavy whipping cream until just combined.
Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.
To make the frosting, beat butter on high speed with an electric mixer for three minutes until light and fluffy.
Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Mix in salt, orange zest and salted caramel.
Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.
Drizzle any extra salted caramel over the frosting immediately prior to serving. Makes 18 cupcakes.