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Thanksgiving Cupcakes – Turkey, Cranberry, and Maple

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Everyone expects to see cranberry sauce and turkey at the Thanksgiving meal, but won’t they be surprised to find it back on the table for dessert?  Before you balk at the idea of turkey in a dessert, consider other savory and sweet combinations that work: honey-glazed ham, duck with cherry sauce, and bacon with just about anything.
These cupcakes are baked directly in slices of turkey – no cupcake liners are needed!  When baked, the turkey slices get hard and chewy and become a perfect shell for the small cakes.  The cupcakes themselves are loaded with cranberries and they are topped with a decadent maple buttercream frosting.  For extra maple flavor and an elegant look, the cupcakes may be dusted with maple sugar.

Turkey Cranberry Cupcake Recipe

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Thanksgiving Cupcakes – Turkey, Cranberry, and Maple

Servings 18 cupcakes


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 18 thinly sliced pieces of turkey

Maple Buttercream Frosting Ingredients*

  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar sifted
  • ¼ cup maple syrup


Cupcake Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat eggs, yogurt, and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture until blended.
  5. Mix in cranberry sauce.
  6. Fold in flour mixture until just combined.
  7. Fold in dried cranberries
  8. Place one slice of turkey in each well of the cupcake tin. Often, turkey slices will have small holes in them; make sure that any holes in the slices are not at the bottom or sides of the cupcake tin.
  9. Spoon batter into the turkey, as shown in the photo.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you put this recipe into a normal cupcake liner sans turkey, it will bake in about 30 minutes.

Maple Buttercream Frosting Instructions

  1. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in maple syrup

Recipe Notes

*Depending on how fat a swirl you want on your cupcakes, you may need to double the frosting recipe.

Do You Like The Idea of Baking in Meat?

If you like the idea of baking in meat, be sure to check out my honey baked ham cupcakes.

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6 comments on “Thanksgiving Cupcakes – Turkey, Cranberry, and Maple”

  1. Wow! This sounds amazing… and Congratulations for making the Paula Deen Bake Sale section!!

  2. What kind of cranberry sauce do you use for these — the jelly kind that my family eats or the more traditional, runnier sauce with chunks of cranberry?

  3. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. We don’t have Thanksgiving in Scotland, but i think I’ll make these anyway!

  4. s…and thanks for the continued wealth of info and recipes and talent-sharing!

  5. Stefsays:

    Mary – The runnier kind.

  6. The colours and pleated blinds designs. In fact, there are window blinds that are coated to protect from UV rays and the blinding
    rays of the sun, reduce sunlight glare and add an important touch of decoration to a popular homespace.

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