orange buttercream frosting

The flavoring in this orange buttercream frosting comes from Grand Marnier or orange juice concentrate. Grand Marnier gives a more subtle orange flavor. Orange juice concentrate gives a bolder, sweeter orange flavor. Use this to top chocolate cupcakes, Halloween baked goods, or anything you like.

It’s Halloween and I needed some orange frosting. I thought why not try to make one that is naturally a little orange and has orange flavoring to boot.  Grand Marnier is an orange liquor that is a little sweeter than orange extract. It’s also slightly orange. Two tablespoons may seem like a lot but the orange flavor is still pretty subtle.  Most of my taste testers couldn’t tell there was any alcohol in the frosting at all.

Still, if you’re worried about giving kids alcohol, you can substitute orange juice concentrate for the Grand Marnier.

I adapted this quick buttercream frosting recipe from King Arthur Flour.

I used my frosting on some Jack-o-lantern cupcakes. Since I was piping chocolate ganache on top for the face, I wanted my frosting to be relatively flat on top of the cupcakes.. If you want to pipe and swirl the frosting, you will probably need an additional cup of powdered sugar to stiffen this orange buttercream frosting up.

Yield: 6 cups

orange buttercream frosting

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder (powdered egg whites)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange juice concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • orange food coloring


  1. Cream butter, meringue powder, Grand Marnier (or orange juice concentrate) and powdered sugar together.
  2. Blend in enough milk to get the consistency you want.
  3. If you want a darker shade of orange, add food coloring to get the desired shade.
  4. If you're not using immediately, put plastic wrap directly on top of frosting and leave at room temperature.

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