Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching…seriously, where did November go?  I wasn’t planning on necessarily making any Thanksgiving cupcakes but we were having a potluck at work so of course I was going to bring cupcakes.  Knowing that someone was already bringing a pumpkin dessert…pumpkin cheesecake which was amazing!…I started racking my brain for something that would be Thanksgivingish.  Cranberries!  And orange with cranberry is a match mead in heaven!

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For Cupcakes

Makes 24

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries tossed with 1 Tbsp. flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake tins with 24 liners.
  2. Beat eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add in sugar and mix until well incorporated and light yellow in color.
  3. Add in oil and make sure to mix until well incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Slowly add into the egg, sugar, and oil mixture and alternate with the milk until well combined.  Then add in orange juice and zest and mix well.
  5. Gently fold in fresh cranberries.
  6. Divide batter among the cupcake liners and bake for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown and the tops are springy to the touch.

Cranberry orange

For Frosting

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz. of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Mix together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer
  2. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed
  3. Mix in vanilla extract until smooth

Cranberry orange

The bitterness of the cranberries mostly cooks out but gives it enough flavor to pair nicely with the sweetness of the batter and the orange.  This cupcake pairs very nicely with the  mostly neutral flavor of the cream cheese frosting.  But I did consider making a spiced version of the frosting with cinnamon and a bit of ginger which would probably go well.  Whatever you choose for the frosting, these will make a great end to a Thanksgiving or holiday meal.

St. Paddy’s Day: Green Velvet

Happy St. Patty’s Day!  Okay, about two months too late.  I apparently wrote out the entire recipe for these cupcakes but never finished the post or published it, so here are my St. Patty’s Day cupcakes.  

Since I’ve done the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, I wanted to bring a different kind of cupcake to the Southie St. Patty’s Day parade.  Why not a green velvet cupcake in honor of the day?  Lots of people are all about the red velvet and all you have to do is change up the color for a different kind of cake, so why not?

[Inspired by The Cupcake Project]

For Cupcakes (Makes about 24)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. green food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 250 and line cupcake tins with 24 liners
  2. Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl
  3. Beat eggs and sugar together until light and golden
  4. Mix in food coloring and cocoa powder until well combined
  5. Alternate mixing in flour mixture and butter milk until just combined
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes

For Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. whiskey
  • Green food coloring
  1. Cream together butter and cream cheese until well combined
  2. Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time
  3. Add in whiskey and mix until just combined
  4. Mix in green food coloring for desired color

The verdict on these cupcakes?  Well even though people told me that they liked them, I wasn’t really a fan of these.  They had a really strange color pattern in the cake with the mixture of the cocoa and the green food coloring.  I just didn’t find the color appealing.  Maybe less cocoa next time?  Also, I wasn’t a fan of the flavor.  Everyone at the parade ate them and when I brought the leftovers to work, they went like hot cakes.  I was actually surprised because I thought they almost had a bitter taste to the cake.  But some people are just into cupcakes and will eat any kind.  I think I tend to be a little pickier than the average cupcake eater.  I did have a drunk Southie woman stop me while we were walking back to the car and offer my money for a cupcake.  I gave her free cupcakes and for some reason my phone number because she wanted to buy cupcakes but I didn’t have business cards, stupid, I know (on a side note I am working on business cards, so if anyone wants to make me a cupcake logo, that all that’s holding me back).

Would I make these again?  I think I would with a few tweeks to the cupcake part.  I would probably use gel food coloring so that I could use less coloring.  I tend to think that that could possibly eliminate the taste I didn’t like because I had to use almost an entire bottle of green food coloring to get the color.  I might also use a little less cocoa powder if I wanted to make sure the color was better in the cake.  I wouldn’t call these cupcakes a failure by any means since they did have some good parts to them.  Try them for yourself, maybe you’ll like them a little more than I did.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Peppermintyness

It seems like I’ve been on a cupcake making hiatus lately…the last cupcakes that I’ve actually made were the caramel apple ones waaaay back in September.  That’s pretty sad huh?  I’ve made a lot of cupcake promises to people lately but haven’t lived up to them at all.  I promise all of you that you will get your moving cupcakes, engagement cupcakes, and those just because I love you cupcakes.  They really will get to you, I swear!

I got one foot wet getting back into the world of cupcakes when Lenny, Susical, and I had a roommate bonding and holiday decorating night last Friday night.  There’s nothing better than snuggling with your roomies after work and putting up a ridiculously sparkly Christmas tree, right?  Yeah, we clearly have a special roommate relationship.  Anyway, I wanted to make the roomies a little treaty for our holiday decoration celebration and what says winter and holidays more than peppermint?  When I think of peppermint, I see chocolate…these two are a match made in heaven (almost as good as chocolate and peanut butter, but not quite there).  I don’t think it can get much better than a brownie cupcake stuffed with a peppermint patty and topped with fluffy peppermint buttercream frosting.  Yum!

Ingrediants

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 sticks melted butter (plus more room temperature butter to grease cupcake tin)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 12 mini peppermint patties

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Liberally grease a 12 cup cupcake tin with room temperature butter…no need for cupcake wrappers here, they just get in the way and stick!
  2. Mix together melted butter and sugar until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time until the mixture is fully combined and golden yellow.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder.  Slowly mix into the butter, sugar, and egg mixture until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Divide half of the batter among the 12 cupcake tins.  Place peppermint patty in the middle of the batter and top with remaining half of the batter divided among the 12 cupcakes.  Bake at 350 for 18-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out fully clean.  Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

To go along with these pepperminty brownie cupcakes, I thought a pepperminty Swiss meringue buttercream would be the perfect compliment.  We all know that Swiss meringue buttercream is my favorite frosting but I mess this stuff up ALL THE TIME!  I seriously don’t know what my problem is with this frosting that it turns out to be such a hit or miss, or at least I didn’t know until now (and now, I only think I know…but I can admit that I’ve been wrong once or twice in my life).  Apparently when you mix in the butter to the meringue, it turns a little liquidy at first.  If you keep mixing and mixing it will eventually stiffen up to the perfect fluffy consistency.  Be patient!  It will definitely pay off.

I used a half recipe of my basic Swiss meringue buttercream but instead of adding vanilla extract in there, I replaced it with 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract instead.  This was the perfect amount of peppermintyness (yeah, that’s clearly not a word but it sounds good, right?) to top the brownie cupcakes.  As Susical put it, it tasted like delicious mint ice cream…she thought it was my best frosting yet, and who am I to argue with such a smart woman?  Topping the cupcakes off with some cutesy little candy cane sprinkles and you have a finished product.

I loved these cupcakes because the actual brownie part of the cupcake isn’t very sweet at all but once you get a bite of the peppermint patty in the middle and a little bit of that frosting, you have a perfect bite.  I’m even going to admit that I’ve eaten 4 of these cupcakes since Friday (that’s almost one a day people)!  Now that I’m hopefully back on the cupcake train, I’ve clearly got to keep working on getting people their cupcakes.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake