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Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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I have a thing for cranberries. I wait all year for them to be available in stores so that I can bake with them, and my husband thinks it’s excessive that I currently have four bags of them in our fridge. I like to stock up just in case some other cranberry-lover out there decides to buy them all on the same day that I need them. I love them because they are gorgeous, but also because they are so tart and tangy that they make just about any dessert perfectly balanced.

These cupcakes would be so super sweet on their own, but when you add the cranberries, you get just the right amount of sweetness and tangy tartness with each bite. I knew that I wanted to make some form of cranberry cupcakes so I did a little bit of googling to see what types of recipes are out there. I came across the one in this link from thecakeblog.com that involves the use of candied cranberries, and I was sold on looks alone. I used the same candied cranberry recipe from the cake blog but changed up the cupcake recipe a little bit to make it a brown sugar-based cupcake with some extra orange flavour. These will definitely be a holiday staple for me from now on because I love them so much. We also have a bunch of leftover candied cranberries, and I also saved the cranberry-orange syrup so I am excited to make holiday cocktails with it next weekend!

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Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Candied Cranberries:
3 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 orange
12 oz. fresh cranberries

Combine 2 1/2 cups sugar, water, vanilla and orange zest in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

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Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries. Once the pot is cooled, use a small plate to push down the cranberries into the syrup and refrigerate for several hours. The recipe I used said that they should be left overnight, but I did not have the foresight to start this a day in advance. I let mine sit for about 3 hours and was happy with the results.

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Strain the cranberries (save some of the syrup for the cupcakes, and keep the rest for holiday cocktails!).

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Toss the cranberries in the remaining cup of sugar, shaking off any excess. Spread them out on a foil-lined sheet pan and let dry for an hour.

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Cranberry Orange Cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of 1 orange
1 Tablespoon syrup from the candied cranberry recipe above
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line cupcake trays with paper liners.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar (white and brown sugar). 

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Add the eggs, beating after each addition until smooth.

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Add the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest and cranberry syrup and beat with a mixer until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating so there are 3 additions of the flour mixture and 2 of the milk. 

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Add the cranberries and fold in.

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Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake at 350 for 15 to 17 minutes or until at toothpick comes out clean. I ended up with 34 cupcakes.

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White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. package of cream cheese
4 oz. white chocolate, melted
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons half & half

Combine all ingredients with a mixer until smooth.

Pipe onto cupcakes and top with candied cranberries.

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Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Total time: 
Serves: 34
 
Ingredients
  • Candied Cranberries:
  • 3½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • Cranberry Orange Cupcakes:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Tablespoon syrup from the candied cranberry recipe above
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 4 oz. white chocolate, melted
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons half & half
Instructions
  1. Candied Cranberries:
  2. Combine 2½ cups sugar, water, vanilla and orange zest in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries. Once the pot is cooled, use a small plate to push down the cranberries into the syrup and refrigerate for several hours. The recipe I used said that they should be left overnight, but I did not have the foresight to start this a day in advance. I let mine sit for about 3 hours and was happy with the results.
  4. Strain the cranberries (save some of the syrup for the cupcakes, and keep the rest for holiday cocktails!).
  5. Toss the cranberries in the remaining cup of sugar, shaking off any excess. Spread them out on a foil-lined sheet pan and let dry for an hour.
  6. Cranberry Orange Cupcakes:
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line cupcake trays with paper liners.
  8. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  9. Cream together the butter and sugar (white and brown sugar).
  10. Add the eggs, beating after each addition until smooth.
  11. Add the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest and cranberry syrup and beat with a mixer until smooth.
  12. Add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating so there are 3 additions of the flour mixture and 2 of the milk.
  13. Add the cranberries and fold in.
  14. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake at 350 for 15 to 17 minutes or until at toothpick comes out clean. I ended up with 34 cupcakes.
  15. White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
  16. Combine all ingredients with a mixer until smooth.
  17. Pipe onto cupcakes and top with candied cranberries.

 

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