Homemade Hostess Orange Cupcakes

Bring back those childhood memories with a taste from the past. This homemade version of your favorite Hostess Orange cupcakes tastes even better than the original and without all the artificial ingredients!

Homemade Hostess Orange Cupcakes Sitting on a marble counter top with orange zest.

Remember those delicious hostess orange cupcakes from your childhood? They were delicious and such a treat! But as adults, we know that some of those ingredients are best avoided as often as possible. Who wants artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, calcium sulphate and disodium phosphate in their baked goods? Not me!

So I took it upon myself to recreate the recipe for these orange cupcake, much like I recently recreated my favorite Panera Lemon Drop Cookies.

After many rounds of recipe testing, the result is a light and fluffy cupcake filled with a delicious orange cream and topped with a perfectly sweet glaze. You may actually prefer this version once you’ve tried it!

Why This Recipe Works

Homemade hostess orange cupcakes on a pie plate server.
  • All of the orange flavors mesh together perfectly.
  • It is a great way to use up oranges from the fridge for their zest and juice.
  • They have the perfect amount of orange flavor!
  • The glaze, buttercream and cupcakes come together really quickly.

Ingredients

ingredients needed for the homemade hostess orange cupcakes

These cupcakes come together quickly with all purpose flour as the base. Then adding the essentials such as: baking powder, salt, unsalted butter, sugar, eggs and buttermilk to create a delicious cupcake base. You finish off the batter with orange zest, orange juice and orange extract to really jam pack the batter full of orange flavor.

The glaze whips up with simple ingredients like confectioners sugar, orange extract, orange juice and melted butter. There is no lack of orange flavor in this glaze.

The buttercream filling is made up like a traditional buttercream with confectioners sugar, unsalted butter, orange extract, orange juice and orange zest.

a homemade hostess orange cupcake cut in half showing the filling on a marble countertop.

Variations

  • For all the orange and chocolate lovers out there, you could add a few chocolate mini chips into the batter for your tastebuds.
  • You could also replace all the orange with lemon for a lemon flavored version!

Instructions

For the Cupcakes:

dry ingredients together in a glass bowl

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

creaming butter and sugar in a mixing bowl

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed for about 5 minutes, until light in color and thick and fluffy.

adding eggs to the mixture

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition.

orange extract added to cupcake batter

Add the orange extract and beat to combine.

flour and buttermilk being added to the mix

Reduce speed to medium and the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, make sure they are well incorporated between each addition.  Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth.

orange zest added to the mixture

Add in the Orange zest, mix well.

mixing bowl filled with cupcake batter

You should have a nice thick batter for these cupcakes.

muffin pan filled with paper liners and cupcake batter

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 – 23 minutes or until the tops spring back or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully before filling with buttercream and frosting.

For the Glaze

confectioner's sugar sifted in a bowl

In a large bowl, sift the confectioners sugar.

sugar in the bowl with orange juice and orange extract

Add the orange juice, orange extract and mix till smooth with a whisk.

adding butter to the sugar mix

Once smooth, add in melted butter. Mix well and use on completely cooled cupcakes.

adding food coloring to the glaze

Add in equal parts of yellow and red food coloring to create an orange colored glaze.

Buttercream Filling:

sifted powdered sugar

Sift the confectioners’ sugar to assure there are no lumps

butter and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl

With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy (approx. 2 mins.) Gradually add the sifted sugar alternating with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition.

creamy orange filling on the end of paddle attachment

Add in orange zest and mix well.

center cut out of cupcake

Once your cupcakes are cooled, cut out a small portion of the top with a knife, to make a space for the buttercream filling. You could also use a cupcake filling tip if you own one, but I like this method.

cupcake filled with the orange cream filling

Fill the cupcakes and replace the top.

cupcake dipped into orange glaze

With the top in place, dip each cupcake into the orange glaze up to 3 times, depending on how much of a glazed top you prefer.

glazed cupcakes on a wire rack

Let the cupcakes sit until the glaze has hardened.

cupcakes with the signature Hostess swirls on top

With the leftover buttercream, make the signature swirls on top of the cupcakes.

TIP

Make sure these homemade hostess orange cupcakes are completely cool before you fill them with the buttercream filling and dip them into the icing glaze or everything will melt and slide off!

Storage

You can store these homemade hostess orange cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, these are best when consumed fresh on day 1.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make orange flavored cupcakes?

You can make orange flavored cupcakes by adding in orange juice, orange zest and also orange extract.

What is orange extract?

Orange Extract is a highly concentrated flavor, extracted from oranges onto an alcohol base. The industry minimum is 33% alcohol for all extracts, which is burned off in the cooking or baking process, leaving a rich flavor in baked goods.

How do you make orange frosting?

By adding in equal amounts of red and yellow food coloring and any orange flavor (zest or extract) that you may wish.

A homemade hostess orange cupcakes on a plate next to a towel and other cupcakes.

Everyone loves a good hostess cupcake and these hostess orange cupcakes definitely compare. These are made with simple ingredients from your pantry and packed full of orange flavors. If you want a taste of your childhood, then you’re going to love this recipe!

Homemade Hostess Orange Cupcakes

homemade hostess orange cupcakes
A fun homemade version of the Hostess Orange Cupcakes. These are delicious and always a crowd pleaser.
Jenna Shaughnessy
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Serving Size 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the orange cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs large, room temperature
  • zest of one orange
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • ½ cup buttermilk room temperature

For the orange buttercream filling

  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract

For the Orange glaze

  • cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 4-6 tablespoons orange juice depending on how thick you want your glaze to be.
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Instructions

For the Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until light in color and thick and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. 
  • Reduce speed to medium and the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, make sure they are well incorporated between each addition.  Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth. 
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 20 – 23 minutes or until the tops spring back or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully before frosting.

For the Orange Buttercream Filling

  • Sift the confectioners' sugar to assure there are no lumps.
  • With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy (approx. 2 mins.) Gradually add the sifted sugar alternating with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Stop adding cream when the desired consistency has been reached.
  • Once Cupcakes are completely cool, cut out the top center of each one with a knife.
  • Pipe the buttercream filling into the hole and then place the top back on.

For the Orange Glaze

  • Sift the confectioners sugar to assure there are no lumps.
  • With a whisk gently mix the confectioners sugar with the orange juice and orange extract until smooth.
  • Add in melted butter.  Mix well. 
  • Once Cupcakes are cool and stuffed with the buttercream filling, hand dip each cupcake into the glaze. You can dip each one up to 3 times until you reach the desired glaze amount on top.
  • Once the glaze is dry/hardened, using the leftover buttercream filling, pipe the signature loops on top of each cupcake.

Notes

You can store these homemade hostess orange cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but they taste best when eaten fresh on day 1.

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