I work for Ocean Spray, so it’s no secret I have a soft spot for cranberries. So when it came time to bake something special for a team that helped me out BIGTIME at work (they helped make THIS happen – super cool!!) I thought I’d try my hand at a cranberry-inspired cupcake.
This cupcake is a deliciously moist vanilla cake, filled with fresh cranberry compote and topped with a cranberry buttercream frosting. When I imagined it I thought it sounded good, but wasn’t entirely sure how the taste would match up to my hopes and dreams. But once I took a bite, I knew I had done it. The PERFECT cranberry cupcake. Not overly cranberry but plenty to give you that flavor you love… just enough sweet but with the balance of tart… and just overall a really yummy treat that would be great in the fall or for Thanksgiving, but is also great any time of year (just remember to buy extra cranberries in the fall and freeze them to use year-round!)
Here is the recipe so you can try these at home. I guarantee they’ll be a big hit!
Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes
A Build Me Up Buttercream exclusive recipe!
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
Cranberry Compote Filling:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any, you can mix your own using about 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cloves or allspice, to taste)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
Cranberry Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cranberry compote (left over from filling recipe)
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with 24 paper liners.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed for about 20 seconds, or until well beaten but not foamy. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed for about 20 seconds or until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add about half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the buttermilk and continue to beat on low. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Batter should be smooth and thin.
Pour batter into lined muffin pan, filling each liner about halfway. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until edges slightly brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
To make the cranberry compote filling:
Add water and sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Add cranberries and pumpkin pie spice and return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cornstarch. Cover and cool completely at room temperature, or refrigerate until mixture is completely cool.
Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and spoon in cranberry filling until it is level with the top of each cupcake. Reserve remaining compote.
To make cranberry buttercream frosting:
Add butter to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until nearly white and very fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and mix on medium-low speed just until incorporated. Then add 1 tbsp milk. Repeat with remaining confectioners’ sugar and milk. Add vanilla and cranberry compote. Mix on low speed just until blended; then increase speed to high and whip until very light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.
NOTE: If frosting is too stiff, add milk one teaspoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. If too loose, add confectioners’ sugar.
Pipe cranberry buttercream frosting on top of cranberry-filled cupcakes to complete your masterpiece. Garnish with a sugared cranberry if you want to get fancy!
Makes 24 cupcakes.
If you’re successful they should look a little something like this:
How can anyone resist something with this beautiful cranberry filling?!