Orange Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Orange Poppy Seed Cupcakes are a unique citrus cupcake recipe. They are made with real orange juice and orange zest!

Orange Poppy Seed Cupcake with orange slice on blue background

Orange poppy seed isn’t the most common cupcake flavor. Usually people associate poppy seed with lemon – typically in muffins or quick bread.

But I’m here to show you that this is an amazing cupcake flavor! And it’s memorable because it’s different.

Orange Poppy Seed Cupcake with orange slice on blue background

The 2 key ingredients to these orange poppy seed cupcakes are orange zest and fresh orange juice. Those ingredients add amazing REAL orange flavor. And the orange flavor isn’t overpowering like it can be with fake orange stuff.

I’m usually a chocolate buttercream kind of girl, but you know this orange buttercream is good if I’d swap it for chocolate buttercream on white cake!

I like to add a little bit of orange gel food coloring to the buttercream – it creates a pretty pastel orange color!

Orange Poppy Seed Cupcake with orange slice on blue background

A few notes about the recipe:

-I don’t recommend using an electric mixer when mixing the dry ingredients into the batter. An electric mixer can over mix the batter. Mix in the dry ingredients by hand using a spatula.

-If you are wanting to pipe frosting onto the cupcakes you’ll need a large piping bag, and a large piping tip. I used a Wilton 2D wilton piping tip, it creates beautiful swirls. If you only have access to a large ziploc bag, you can use that instead of a piping bag.

-This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes and enough buttercream to generously frost all the cupcakes.

For a step-by-step of how to make this orange poppy seed cupcake recipe, watch this short video:

Orange Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Orange Poppy Seed Cupcakes are a unique citrus cupcake recipe. They are made with real orange juice and orange zest!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 3 sticks (1 & 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • zest of 3 oranges
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds

Buttercream

  • 3 sticks (1 & 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (can substitute butter)
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp juice from oranges
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • orange gel food coloring

Directions:

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin pan with 24 cupcake liners.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and orange zest, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs, beat again.
  5. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, gently mix with a spoon. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing with a spatula.
  6. Add in the poppy seeds, mix again by hand.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes to until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Add in the fresh orange juice and zest, gently mix by hand with a spatula.
  3. Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 2-3 cups at a time. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting no longer looks wet and tastes good to you.
  4. Add a little bit of orange gel food coloring and mix one last time.
  5. Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fit with a Wilton 1M tip. Pipe buttercream swirls on each cupcake. Top each cupcake with an orange slice.
This recipe turned out great using gluten free flour too! We love King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour.
Orange Poppy Seed Cupcakes are a unique citrus cupcake recipe. They are made with real orange juice and orange zest!
Orange Poppy Seed Cupcakes are a unique citrus cupcake recipe. They are made with real orange juice and orange zest!

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9 comments

  1. They look scrumptious Beth! Do you think they will still be yummy without the poppy seed?
    My mother has diverticulitis and cannot have any seeds at all! Huge miss out on lots of good foods, but her health is much more important of course.

    We are always noting how difficult it can be to eat out these days, especially fast food! I love sesame seeds on rolls and buns, but alas she does not.

    • Oh definitely! You can leave out the poppy seeds and it don’t affect the flavor!

  2. Made these this weekend and they are all but gone! Most comments say it is a wonderful, light flavor and they just want more! They are very easy to make, I did add more zest and juice as when I tasted batter I wanted more flavor. I’ll be making a lot of these in my future!

  3. How many grams in a stick of butter. Im in Australia and we dont bye butter by the stick

  4. Hello,
    I’m Madalena from Portugal 🇵🇹 ( Europe) and I love your blog . Sometimes I have r a lot of trouble in doing your recipes because of yours ( british/american) measures. In this recipe for exemple 1 stick of butter how many butter it is? In grams ( Kg, g ) thank you And keep doing a great job 

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