These cranberry orange cupcakes were a complete multi-sensory experience. The moment I open the Tupperware containing the cranberry orange cupcakes, the aroma of orange fills the air and makes me feel like I’m back in the orange packing plant that I got to tour last week in California. Can I just say that an orange packing plant is such a happy smelling place to be?
As I move the cupcake closer to my mouth to take a bite, the more subtle smell of the ring of cranberry (it looks kind of like a ring of fire, but I keep resisting calling it that because that just isn’t a good thing) tickles my nose. I can’t help but take a quick lick before biting into the cupcake. Once I bite in, the texture of the nuts and cranberries in the cupcake provides a nice crunch sound and I struggle to not eat the whole thing in one big bite!
The Cranberry Orange Cupcake Recipe
I used Cranberry Orange Tango from Nutorious in this recipe. I’m giving some away this week and it’s not too late to enter. However, if you can’t get your hands on some, you can just as easily make the recipe using any chopped nuts and some dried cranberries.
Cranberry Orange Cupcakes
Cranberry Orange Cupcake Ingredients
- 2/3 C sugar
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 C orange juice concentrate
- 1/2 C sugar for the orange syrup
- 2 C flour
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 3/4 C butter room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 C plain yogurt
- 4 oz of Cranberry Orange Tango or 2 oz chopped nuts of your choice and 2 oz dried cranberries
Cranberry Brown Sugar Frosting* Ingredients
- 1/4 C jellied cranberry sauce This is the kind that you may be subjected to on Turkey day that isn't nearly as good as the homemade stuff, but somehow works on a cupcake. You'll use up the rest of the can if you pipe the ring of cranberry like I did.
- 1/4 C butter
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 2 T milk
- 1 C powdered sugar sifted
Cranberry Orange Cupcake Instructions
A few hours before you are ready to bake, combine the orange zest and the sugar in a bowl. This will let the orange flavor infuse into the sugar.
While you are waiting, prepare an orange syrup by bringing the orange juice concentrate and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Stir continuously until it is thoroughly combined and gets slightly thicker (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and return to room temperature.
With a fork, whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
Beat butter and the sugar with grated orange zest in a large bowl for 1 minute, until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs and yogurt until blended.
Alternately fold in flour mixture and 2/3 cup of the orange syrup (that should be pretty much all of the syrup) in three additions, beginning and ending with flour.
Fold in the Cranberry Orange Tango or nuts and dried cranberries.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.
Cranberry Brown Sugar Frosting Instructions
In a saucepan, melt the butter.
Add the cranberry sauce and brown sugar.
Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Cool to lukewarm.
Gradually add sifted powdered sugar. I would highly recommend sifting this powdered sugar. It's such a pain to sift, but it ensures that the frosting will be extra smooth.
Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water.
Putting It Together
Spread the frosting onto the cupcakes and let it harden just a bit. Then, pipe a ring of cranberry sauce around the edge of the cupcake and sprinkle on some orange zest for some added color.
*The cranberry brown sugar frosting recipe did not taste very cranberry-esque, but it was the perfect compliment to the cupcake.
If you like the idea of a cranberry orange cupcake, you may also like:
- taking this cupcake and frosting it with orange buttercream instead.
- making mimosa cupcakes.
- making muffins instead. For those who may wonder what the difference between a cranberry orange cupcake and a cranberry orange muffin looks like, it just so happens (quite coincidentally) that How to Eat A Cupcake posted some yummy looking cranberry orange muffins yesterday.