Orange Frosting

Cupcakes with orange frosting
Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
109 Calories
3g Fat
21g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 109
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 21mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 11mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Orange frosting can complement so many different flavors of cake—you'd be surprised how versatile it is. Use this flavorful orange frosting to frost cupcakes, a Bundt cake, or a simple birthday layer cake. 

For deeper flavor, use orange juice concentrate and omit the orange juice and zest. For a more vivid color, add a few drops of orange food coloring. If you'd like a boozier flavor, add a tablespoon or two of an orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier and use it on this cake.

If you'd like to make a thin icing to drizzle over a cake, cut back on the confectioners' sugar or add a little extra orange juice.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (from 1 orange, finely grated)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the vanilla extract until light and well blended.

  2. Sift the confectioners' sugar and gradually beat it into the butter along with the salt.

  3. Add a few tablespoons of orange juice and the orange zest. Beat until well blended and add more orange juice as needed for a spreadable frosting.


  • It's easy to thin or thicken frosting, depending on how you plan to use it. Add more confectioners' sugar for a thicker frosting or more orange juice for thinner frosting. Another way to thin frosting—especially useful if you're out of confectioners' sugar—is to set the bowl of frosting in a bowl of hot water. Beat it until the heat causes it to become thin enough to spread easily.


You may be surprised how versatile a player orange can be when it's paired with desserts. Consider these cakes and baked goods as possible destinations for this frosting.

Chocolate Cake From Homemade Cake Mix: chocolate and orange are a classic combo

Pumpkin Cupcakes: Bet you never thought to mix a bit of citrus with the flavor of pumpkin. Similarly, orange is great with gingerbread flavors, such as in these gingerbread cupcakes.

Fluffy Homemade Vanilla Cake: Orange and vanilla together tastes like a Creamsicle but in cake form.

Ricotta Cake With Yellow Cake Mix: A thinly layered frosting brings an unexpected sunny sweetness to this simple cake.

Orange also pairs well with other flavors and ingredients, such as cardamom, pistachio, blueberries, strawberries, rum, honey, maple, and figs.