Orange Cranberry Cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting would make the perfect sweet addition to your holiday table!
Thank you Zulka sugar for sponsoring this post. Since I’ve used Zulka sugar before (and I like it) I’m happy to work with them to bring you these Orange Cranberry Cupcakes!
Orange Cranberry Cupcakes
Until last year my holiday desserts were pies and maybe one type of cookie and then I started adding cupcakes to the dessert menu. Pie is a welcome traditional dessert following the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes (my personal favorite) but it was always so hard to send home. When I make cupcakes for get togethers, I can usually put them in a take home container but there are a couple attendees who like to grab one as they walk out the door, vowing to save the cupcake for later. It doesn’t usually make it to the car. 🙂 Cupcakes are manageable bites of cake, usually with a little more frosting than a slice of cake would have. Since frosting is my favorite part, I guess you could say I prefer the cake to frosting ratio of cupcakes!
You’ll notice the recipe instructs you to mix the sugar with orange and lemon zest. In every sweet recipe calling for citrus zest, it seems to bring out the bright flavor of the zest even more and the result is very pleasing. There is a hint of cinnamon in these cupcakes, adding that pinch of comfort to these cupcakes. Ideal for the holidays, don’t you think?
The cranberry on top of each cupcake is a beautiful garnish and it balances the rich frosting really making this dessert come together in delicious harmony.
There’s something about the bright orange flavor and the tart cranberries that make these cupcakes a fun and festive dessert. This cream cheese frosting is perfectly rich and a great topping for these orange cinnamon kissed cupcakes. Make a batch of these for your holiday parties and potlucks. They’ll be a big hit!
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup cranberry juice
- about 30 fresh cranberries (one per cupcake)
- ⅔ cup cranberry juice
- ⅓ cup Zulka granulated sugar plus more for rolling the cranberries
- 1 cup Zulka granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed Zulka brown sugar
- zest of one orange
- 1 ½ cups of butter at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 ¾ cups of flour (using the fluff and scoop method)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter also at room temperature
- zest of one large orange
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- juice from cranberry sauce
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- In a small pan bring the cranberries, orange juice and cranberry juice to a low boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cook for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Allow to cool fully before using.
- In a small pan measure juice and sugar, whisking to dissolve sugar.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat, whisking occasionally.
- Simmer for five minutes then remove from heat, letting it cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
- After frosting cupcakes, put cranberries in a large bowl and drizzle cranberry simple syrup on top.
- Toss to coat.
- Roll cranberries in sugar.
- Place one cranberry on top of each cupcake.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl measure flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Combine sugars, orange zest and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Beat for one minute at medium speed.
- Scrape the paddle attachment and the bottom of the bowl, then mix for another minute.
- Add the butter and beat for three minutes at medium speed.
- Scrape the paddle and mix for one more minute.
- Add eggs one at a time, scraping the paddle and the bottom of the mixing bowl after each addition.
- Now add the vanilla, mixing for about one minute.
- Turning the mixer on low gradually stir the half and half into the wet ingredients, alternating with the dry ingredients.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes or just until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
- You don’t want to over bake.
- Begin by adding cream cheese and butter to the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk on medium or medium high speed for one minute then scrape the bottom of the bowl and scrape out the whisk attachment. Repeat two more times until the cream cheese and the butter are incorporated.
- Add in the orange zest, salt, orange juice, lemon juice, juice from cranberry sauce and powdered sugar on medium speed until smooth.
- Add the cranberries from the sauce and whisk for about another minute, scrape the bottom of the bowl and whisk for one more minute to make sure everything is mixed in.
- Refrigerate until the cupcakes cool.
- To frost I spoon the frosting into a large plastic zip bag and cut the tip.
A big thank you to Zulka sugar for sponsoring this post and for the sugars they sent me! I love presents. These sugar skulls were a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy making your own!
Zulka Pure Cane Sugars are available at major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Albertsons, Kroger, Ralph’s, Fred Meyer, QFC, Food Maxx, Save a Lot, Von’s, Target, SUPERVALU, Food 4 Less, Superior, Winn-Dixie, El Super, Winco and many others, as well as online at www.zulka.com.
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