The Orange Crush, in cocktail form (not to be confused with the cloyingly sweet soda variety), is synonymous with our beaches here on the Eastern Shore. A few simple ingredients are shaken up to create one of the freshest and fruitiest drinks you’ll find. They’ve long been one of my favorites in the summertime. So, I got to thinking – why not in cupcake form?
I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe as my base – with a fruity twist from fresh orange juice and zest. And I gave the buttercream frosting a nice boozy kick with a splash of Triple Sec and vodka, as well as some orange zest for a little brightness. The flecks of orange were pretty in the frosting as well.
You guys, they TOTALLY tasted like the cocktail. But cake. I took one over to one of my early morning beach walks for breakfast, and I couldn’t resist a little photo sesh…
Cake by the ocean, baby! If there ever was a cake deemed worthy of being consumed by the ocean – it’s most certainly these. Make them soon to welcome the warm weather! No regrets.
Orange Crush Cupcakes
3 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
16 Tbsp (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 orange, zested
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. vodka
For the frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 orange, zested
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp Triple Sec (I used Grand Marnier)
3 tsp. vodka
1 tsp vanilla extract
orange slices, for garnish
To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper liners, set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar, and orange zest. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of bowl and beat for 1 more minute.
Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk, the juice from the orange, vanilla, and vodka in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Fill the cupcakes liners 2/3 of the way full with batter (I like to use a large cookie scoop). Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, cream the butter and zest on medium speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low, and carefully add in the confectioners sugar. Add the vanilla extract, Triple Sec, vodka, and a pinch of salt. Increase speed to medium, and beat until smooth and frosting is combined.
Frost cupcakes as desired, and garnish with a slice of orange.
Makes about 28 cupcakes.