Gluten-Free Vanilla Orange Cupcakes

Browned Butter Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting turn these cupcakes Into a grown up creamsicle!

One of my favorite things to make is cake! If you’ve been around for a while, you know that when it comes to meals, I really love a “blank canvas”. I enjoy creating bowls with a rice or quinoa base where I can add any ingredients I want. I can load it up with veggies, protein, cheese, whatever I’m craving. It’s a great way to meal prep, and a great way to sneak in a variety of veggies.

Well, I’ve got to admit, I’m kind of the same when it comes to cakes and cupcakes. I love my basic vanilla cake recipe because it is SO versatile. It can be made into browned butter vanilla cupcakes, strawberry cake, and can even be turned into a gluten free cake or cupcake, which is what I’ve done with this recipe.

I added orange zest to the sugar, subbed out regular all-purpose flour for gluten free flour, and I added a boat load of vanilla to the cream cheese frosting. The result was pure deliciousness! My kids love when they see me in the kitchen baking, so of course they came running when they smelled the sweet citrus smell coming from the oven as these cupcakes were baking.

They are so delicious, my kids didn’t even realize they were gluten free! So what makes these cupcakes so special???

Orange Zest - I rub the zest of the orange with the sugar to infuse more citrus flavor into the cupcakes. It’s amazing!

All-purpose gluten free flour - seriously, this flour is great! You won’t even miss all the gluten!

Vanilla beans - good quality vanilla extract is great, but there is nothing quite like vanilla beans straight from the pods.

How to make Gluten Free Vanilla Orange Cupcakes:

Make the cupcakes. My secret method to make add extra orange goodness is to rub the orange zest and sugar together until it resembles wet sand. Add the butter, and cream on high speed until it is light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the gluten free all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring cup, mix together the milk, orange juice and vanilla extract.

Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add ⅓ of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined, and add ½ of the milk mixture, mixing until just combined. Repeat with another ⅓ of the flour mixture and remaining milk mixture. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture, and mix until just combined, again scraping down the bowl as needed.

Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Place the cupcakes in the oven, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the muffin springs back when gently pressed in the center (you can also insert a toothpick in the center, and pull the cupcakes from the oven when the toothpick comes out clean). Let the muffins cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan, and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Place 4 oz. of the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Let it melt, and continue cooking, until it becomes lightly browned. AS SOON as you see small browned bits forming in the pan, remove the butter from the what. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until it becomes smooth. Add the remaining butter and the browned butter, and beat on high until well combined and smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think in the comments below and over on Instagram @sugarandsalt_co!

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