My favorite holiday has to be Thanksgiving. My family always ends up making several different types of cranberry sauce or relish. Because it’s hard to pick just one and everyone has to have “their” favorite cranberry dish. Between the several types of cranberry dishes and the number of people who may show up (not to mention leftovers get passed out after the meal), there is always leftover cranberry sauce. Good on turkey sandwiches, but even after sandwiches, there is still some leftover. So, we decided “Hey, why not come up with a small batch of Cranberry Orange Cupcakes filled with the cranberry sauce and topped with white chocolate buttercream? I realize when you think cranberry sauce cupcakes are not the first thing your mind jumps to, but trust me.
And as a bonus, we’ve teamed up with some other bloggers to create a delicious lineup of fall cupcakes. We’ve contributed these Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, but make sure you read all the way to the bottom to see the full lineup of fall cupcakes.
Links to individual fantastic fall cupcake recipes can be found at the bottom of the post after the recipe!
Our Inspiration for Cranberry Orange Cupcakes
Have you ever had the cookies with white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and nuts? Yeah, you know the ones I’m talking about, so good! I always forget about those cookies because we have so many other favorites. It’s hard to beat chocolate chip or toffee nut cookies. But, we all need variety in our lives. Plus, it’s such a good combo. Cranberry and white chocolate go so well together and I also like the combination of cranberry and orange. So…when thinking about the leftovers from Thanksgiving, how to use them up, and daydreaming about the pumpkin cupcakes we made back around Halloween, cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream frosting seemed like the only way to go!
Making Orange Cupcakes
Sometimes it’s best to not overthink things. All we did to add orange flavor to these cupcakes was add a little orange juice and a little orange zest. So simple, right?!!! These are almost certainly 2 ingredients you have in your house right now. And cranberry and orang together…meant to be.
Small Batch Cupcakes
This recipe only makes about 7-8 cupcakes. Not a bad thing for a few reasons:
- Usually there isn’t a whole lot of cranberry sauce leftover and after Thanksgiving
- Desserts are best enjoyed in moderation
- It’s a long holiday season filled with goodies. A huge batch of cranberry orange cupcakes laying around is not a good idea! Trust me, once you try these it’s hard to stop devouring them.
White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
When making the white chocolate butter cream frosting, I used the microwave to melt the white chocolate. The first batch I clearly zapped too long because it turned into a large flaky clump. (palm to forehead). But you learn through trial and error, right? Really, you just need it to change from white chocolate chips to something that is spreadable and no longer chip shaped. So the second time I melted for a minute on 70% power, mixed with a fork, then an additional 15-20 seconds. Then cooled slightly and mixed in with the butter. Mix in your vanilla. Then you sugar and mix until smooth. Not too hard.
A Few Final Tips
If you are not a fan of the orange/cranberry combo, I also recommend just subbing in milk for the orange juice with a teaspoon or vanilla. We tried this version as well and loved it just as much.
And if you are looking for a pretty garnish, I made sugared cranberries after seeing them on Vanilla and Bean’s blog. Check it out, her photos are gorgeous and her food looks amazing! I made enough to garnish a drink. Stay tuned for that in the future.
So….are these Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream calling your name yet? If so please give them a try and let us know in the comments below what you think.
On to the recipe:
White Chocolate Buttercream Cranberry Orange Cupcakes
For the cranberry relish
- 2 c . cranberries
- 1 c . water
- 1 c . sugar
- 1 T . orange juice
- 1 tsp . orange zest
For the cupcakes
- 1 c . flour
- 1 tsp . baking powder
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/2 c . sugar
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp . orange zest
- 4 T . fresh squeezed orange juice
For the buttercream
- 1 stick butter , softened
- 1 c . white chocolate chips , melted and cooled
- 1/2 c . confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp . vanilla
For the cranberry sauce
Bring water and sugar to a boil.
Add cranberries and return to a boil.
Simmer and stir occassionally for about 10 minutes.
For the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Mix in eggs.
Mix in flour, salt, and baking powder.
Mix in orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Fill lined muffin tins approximately 2/3 full (should make 7-8) and cook for approximately 20 minutes.
Cool before frosting.
For the buttercream
Beat butter until fluffy.
Add cooled chocolate and mix.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add sugar and mix until smooth.
To finish cupcakes
Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out a small part of the center of the cupcake (save the bites for another purpose or to fend of swarming children).
Fill with 1/2 T. of cranberry sauce.
Pipe top with buttercream.
Cupcake recipes, clockwise from top left:
- Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (Rosemary – An Italian in My Kitchen)
- Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream (Melissa – My Wife Can Cook)
- Apple Spice Cupcakes (Arlene – Flour on My Face)
- Spicy Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting (Gloria – Homemade and Yummy)
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Frosting (Sarah – The Fit Cookie)
- Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Caramel (Veena – Veena Azmanov)
- Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes (Michelle – The Gracious Wife)