Cranberry Orange Cupcakes | Cupcake Project

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

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

Yield: 18-20 cupcakes

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. With a fork, whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
  4. Beat butter and the sugar with grated orange zest in a large bowl for 1 minute, until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in eggs and yogurt until blended.
  6. 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.
  7. Fold in the Cranberry Orange Tango or nuts and dried cranberries.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  9. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.
  10. Cranberry Brown Sugar Frosting Instructions
  11. In a saucepan, melt the butter.
  12. Add the cranberry sauce and brown sugar.
  13. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  14. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  15. Cool to lukewarm.
  16. 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.
  17. Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water.
  18. Putting It Together
  19. 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.


Other Options

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5 Responses to Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

  1. kamailesfood January 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    These are some beautiful cupcakes! I love the combo of cranberry and orange, but I’ve only had it in muffin form.

  2. veggievixen January 31, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    that is some serious tastiness!

  3. Eliana January 31, 2009 at 6:22 am #

    I’m sure these taste as good as they look. I wish I could have these for breakfast right now.

  4. twopartssugar January 31, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    Ok…SERIOUSLY…..My mouth is watering!

  5. Lori January 31, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    Wow, I love cranberry and orange together. Add in the fact that it’s a cupcake, and I wish I was in town right now so I could stop by and try one..

  6. Happy cook February 1, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Wowo they look beautful and delicious.

  7. Kate February 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    Those are just beautiful! They also sound delicious, Cranberry orange together is very tasty….can only imagine in a cupcake!

  8. Lisa February 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Wow! Those definitely pop! You do some great things with citrus so I’m sure they are delicious. That center shot, in partucular, looks very yummy.

  9. anna February 2, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    Ooh, I love the ring of cranberry sauce! I once made a cranberry orange cupcake, too – it’s definitely a favorite flavor pairing of mine.

  10. chuck February 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    Love the color on the top picture. They look like some amazing muffins!

  11. Manger La Ville February 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    Not only do these look beautiful, they look scrumptious. I love it.

  12. Lauren February 3, 2009 at 4:59 am #

    These look so beautiful I just had to come take a peek. What a great flavor combo! Well done.

  13. veron February 3, 2009 at 5:28 am #

    perfect flavor combination. I love the crumb on this one too!

  14. Michelle H February 3, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    Oo my heart just fluttered! This is my absolute favorite combination of flavors. I can’t wait to try this!

  15. pleasurepalate February 4, 2009 at 1:06 am #

    The colors alone are beautiful, but I bet the tart and sweet flavors are probably out of this world. :)

  16. Hayley February 4, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Your photos are amazing. That cranberry color is something else. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Anonymous March 16, 2009 at 6:25 am #

    I tried this recipe this weekend and it was a huge hit! Thanks so much! I changed it up a bit by increasing the cranberry sauce to 1/2 cup and adding a bit of extra powdered sugar to fluff up the icing. I couldn’t pipe the rings because I had no piping bags and my sandwich baggies were cheap. But everyone loved them regardless! It was time consuming but I will make them again for special occasions.

  18. Anonymous November 14, 2011 at 2:04 am #

    You have sugar twice, no? Is it 1/2 or 2/3 cup?Thanks. Love this whole site.

  19. Stef November 14, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    Anon – You need both. I added a note in the recipe to indicate that the second sugar listing is for the orange syrup. Sorry for the confusion.


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