For the frosting: Whisk the sugar, flour and salt together in a medium saucepan, then stir in the hefeweizen. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes (this cooks out the raw flour taste). Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the frosting base into a shallow bowl. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until chilled and thick, at least 2 hours.
For the cake: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the cups of two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cloves in a bowl until evenly combined. Combine the sugar, butter, vanilla and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until smooth. Alternately, add the flour mixture and the hefeweizen, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter among the muffin cups (about scant 1/4 cup per muffin cup) then bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Remove the frosting base from the refrigerator and let stand for 10 minutes to come to room temperature. Beat the butter for the frosting on medium speed until lightened and creamy, about 3 minutes. Mash the frosting base with the back of a spoon until it is spreadable, then add a third of the frosting base to the butter and beat until evenly incorporated. Add half of the remaining frosting base, beat until smooth, then add the remaining frosting base and the vanilla and beat until the frosting is fluffy and light, about 2 minutes.
Frost the cupcakes with a spoon or transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch-wide fluted tip and pipe mounds onto the top of each cupcake. Garnish each cupcake with an orange wedge before serving.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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