If you saw my last post where I mentioned wanting to make green coconut “grass”-topped cupcakes, you probably saw these coming!
Cliché or not, I can’t think of a more perfect springtime dessert.
My Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes were inspired by Orange Chiffon Cake, which is typically light and spongy with a moist, tender crumb thanks to the addition of oil. When I think of Easter, I think of this cake because my mom would make a lamb-shaped Orange Chiffon Cake every year. It was always a special thing for her because she used a mold that had been her grandmother’s to make it.
My mom would frost the cake and coat it in coconut to make it look like lamb’s fur, and I think I remember her using jelly beans for eyes. It was cute, but honestly, it was never my favorite cake. It was a bit too dry for my liking, but mostly, I attribute my dislike of it to the fact that until recently, I was not a fan of any citrus-flavored confection. Times (and my tastes) have changed, friends.
I recently thought of that cake and immediately knew I wanted to come up with my own grain-free, naturally-sweetened version. I wanted a creamsicle-like flavor, so I added vanilla bean paste along with orange zest. It is such a lovely combo.
These cupcakes…oh wow. I know they aren’t the prettiest, but please don’t let my atrocious frosting skills put you off (we’ll call them rustic, lol). They have it where it counts and that’s taste! Other than the orange flavor, they don’t share much in common with the dry Orange Chiffon Cake I remember as a kid. My Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes are light, fluffy, and moist with a soft, tender crumb, and sweetly scented of orange and vanilla.
And I have to say, the texture of these cupcakes is so much like regular cake, you’d be hard-pressed to believe anyone who told you that these cupcakes are gluten-free unless you saw the ingredient list yourself. (I kid you not – try them and see!)
I used my Naturally-Dyed Green Coconut to decorate these!
- 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup (75 g) coconut sugar
- 4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice, strained to remove pulp
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup (115 g) almond meal
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (13.5 oz/400 ml) can unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk, chilled in the fridge overnight
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 packet (about 1/4 teaspoon) powdered stevia (more or less to taste)
- Green coconut, for garnish (optional)
- For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325F. Line a muffin tray with paper liners (I used smallish liners).
- Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until they form stiff peaks, being careful not to over-beat. Set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks, coconut sugar, orange juice, coconut oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste together in a large bowl. Beat in the almond meal, arrowroot starch, tapioca starch, baking powder and salt.
- Use a rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the batter 1/3 at a time, being careful not to over-mix (a few streaks of egg white are fine).
- Pour the batter into the prepared tray (I used about 3 tablespoons of batter per cupcake), and bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes.
- Cool the cupcakes 10 minutes in the tray, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, refrigerate the coconut milk (while still in the can) until fully chilled, at least 8 hours, but overnight is better. Open the can from the bottom and drain off the thinner, liquid-y coconut milk (you can reserve it for use in something else, such as a smoothie, if you want). Transfer the thick, waxy-looking portion to a medium bowl, and beat it with a handheld electric beater until light and fluffy. Beat in the orange zest, vanilla bean paste, and stevia.
- Frost the cupcakes and if desired, sprinkle a little green coconut on top.
- Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge and let sit them at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving so the frosting can soften.