These gluten free Orange Cupcakes with orange icing are cute and bursting with citrus flavour. Rather than a flour blend this recipe uses sorghum flour and potato starch. With vegetable shortening in the icing, instead of butter, these cupcakes are gluten free, dairy free and rice free. I know this ticks all the boxes for some of you!
During the winter when citrus is in season I try to make as many of my favourite recipes using oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes as I can. That includes this unique grapefruit avocado salad, Arctic Char with citrus sauce, Spicy Thai Meatballs and Hazelnut Lemon Halibut. To see my full list check out this post, 15 Citrus Recipes and How To Use Citrus Zest.
Freshly squeezed orange juice and zest are essential in this recipe. Commit to removing all the zest from the oranges before you squeeze them and freeze it. You will not be disappointed.
- sorghum flour
- potato starch (not the same as potato flour)
- baking powder and baking soda (gluten free bakers often use 2 leaveners to get the light, airy texture we're looking for)
- xanthan gum
- vegetable oil
- dairy free vegetable shortening
- icing sugar
See recipe card for exact amounts.
🧁 Sorghum Flour
When I started gluten free baking more than ten years ago flour blends were not as readily available as they are now. That's when I first heard of sorghum flour and over time I learned to make my own 4-ingredient flour blend with sorghum. I now use that blend for most of my everyday baking but have kept great recipes like this because they work and the cupcakes are delicious.
🍊 Instructions for Zesting Citrus Fruit
Sorghum flour is a whole grain, high protein flour that is an excellent choice for baking. If you don't have sorghum flour the substitute is oat flour. I haven't tried this recipe with oat flour but I certainly would if I had nothing to do but cook all day. 😉
If you can't tolerate oats, now you know sorghum flour is the substitute for oat flour. To learn more about the properties and best uses of sorghum flour check out this post, How to use sorghum flour.
🍊 Dairy Free Substitutions
Most people hear about dairy free as soon as they learn about gluten free. For many of you they go hand in hand. Since a significant percentage of people with celiac disease have some degree of lactose intolerance, especially during the first year as your gut heals, it makes sense to learn a little about dairy free baking.
You'll find my bullet point list of what I needed to learn to start dairy free baking in this post for gluten-free dairy-free brownies.
Baking gluten free cakes can be challenging so smaller cupcakes are the best place to start. Buy the tools you like for the kind of baking you want to do, most of them will last a very long time. I have most of these within easy reach.
- 6 or 12-count regular size muffin tins
- 12-count mini-muffin tins or 24-count
- Colourful paper cupcake liners go with everything so are great to keep on hand.
- Gourmet Tip - Put cooked cupcakes into a new cupcake liner to show off the colour for a gourmet presentation.
- Silicone cupcake liners, available round or square, are the best environmental choice and ideal for everyday muffins and cupcakes. If you decide to use these plan to make the same recipes a few times to learn how to adjust the oven temperature and baking times so your baking browns nicely.
- Portion scoops for both mini and regular size cupcakes ensure a consistent size therefore result in more even baking.
- The cupcake corer is a fun tool for filling cupcakes like I did in these Black Forest Cupcakes.
- A reusable piping bag set or disposable piping bags (12, 24 or 50) are easy to use but a regular freezer zipper type bag works for icing cupcakes too.
- For people who like to take cupcakes to parties cupcake takers come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- At home you can display cupcakes on any flat tray, a pedestal tray or a fancy cupcake display stand.
There are many kitchen tools to juice citrus fruit; a wooden reamer, the juicer that sits on top of a bowl, plus hand and electric juicers. Your hands are perfect to squeeze half a lemon over fish but to juice a bowl of oranges you need something to make the job easier.
This hand held press juicer is really are the best juicer in the world if you buy quality. One or a pair, like these yellow and green ones, would be a fabulous gift. For those of you who like power tools, a small electric juicer is great.
Many thanks to Karina over at the Gluten Free Goddess for her inspiration. She is a goddess in the kitchen, and if you are not familiar with her website you should check it out.
I'd love to hear how your cupcakes turned out in the comments below.
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Gluten Free Orange Cupcakes with Orange Icing
- 4-6 oranges for juice and zest
- ¾ cup sorghum flour
- ¾ cup potato starch
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoon minced orange zest
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon melted honey
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cups dairy free vegetable shortening
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- Zest 2 orange and set aside. Squeeze oranges to measure 1 cup of juice (plus 3 tablespoon more for the icing) and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill cupcake pan with 16-18 paper liners.
- In mixing bowl whisk together sorghum flour, potato starch, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum until evenly combined.
- In a large pyrex measuring cup mix orange juice, zest, oil, honey, eggs and vanilla until combine. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Let the batter sit for 1 minute before scooping into paper-lined cupcake tins.
- Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting. Makes 16-18.
- In medium mixing bowl of an electric mixer beat shortening until smooth.
- Slowly add icing sugar, vanilla and orange juice. Increase speed once all ingredients are combined and beat until desired consistency. Add more juice if icing is too thick and more icing sugar if it is too runny.
- Spoon icing into a plastic freezer bag or pastry bag with a piping tip. Frost cupcakes piping in a circular motion starting on the outer edge and finishing in the center. Swirl up as you finish.