“It’s the most Christmas-y Cupcake in the wooooorld”
With juicy, tart cranberries, a hint of orange, and sugared cranberries on top, this is the quintessential Christmas cupcake. It really doesn’t get more holiday festive than this! These cupcakes just scream holiday cheer. This is the Bing Crosby of cupcake recipes.
My Festive Fiori di Sicilia Cranberry Cake is legendary and I’ve finally turned into cupcakes! If you’re new to The Rose Table, I’d better explain Fiori di Sicilia to you. It’s an Italian extract that has the perfect blend of orange and vanilla. I get mine from King Arthur Flour and I always have it in my pantry. If you want to bake these cupcakes right and you don’t have it in your pantry, sub half orange extract, half vanilla. (Or you could just use vanilla of course but orange is positively magical with cranberry!)
These cupcakes bake up perfectly. I’m a stickler for moist cake. Ask any of my friends. I also like a light, whipped frosting rather than an intense butter cream. Thanks to the amount of milk in this frosting, it’s nice and light – just how I like it!
You’ll have extra sugared cranberries leftover but how fun is that? They’re delicious on their own as a sort of Christmas candy. I’ve been known to put them on waffles, pancakes, threaded on a toothpick for cocktails, on ice cream sundaes…they’re so fun to have around the holidays!
Makes 24 cupcakes
For the sugared cranberries:
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water
For the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
1-1/2 tsp fiori di sicilia extract (or you may substitute half orange extract, half vanilla extract)
4 large farm fresh eggs
2 cups fresh cranberries
For the frosting:
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp fiori di sicilia extract
4 Tbsp milk
To make the sugared cranberries:
- Bring 1 cup of sugar and water to a simmer in a saucepan. Gently simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- When simple syrup is cool, pour over cranberries and stir to coat.
- Refrigerate cranberries in syrup overnight.
- Remove cranberries from syrup with a sieve or slotted spoon (reserve the cranberry-flavor simple syrup for cocktails!) and roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. You may need to roll them a few times to totally coat.
- Set cranberries on a paper towel to dry for an hour or so.
To bake the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two muffin tins with Christmas cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add butter to the mixer and beat until it looks sandy.
- Combine the milk and fiori di sicilia and add to the mixer. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Don’t forget to scrape the bowl as you go!
- Crack eggs into a bowl. This way, you won’t accidentally get egg shells in your cake batter. With the mixer running on low, add eggs one at a time. Make sure each is incorporated before adding the next.
- Gentle stir in fresh cranberries with a spoon or spatula.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Softly bang the bottom of the pans against the counter to help settle the batter evenly.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Do NOT overbake. Set the time for earlier and check them every few minutes until the toothpick is clean.
- Remove tins from oven and place on cooling racks. Cool five minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely.
- Frost with Fiori di Sicilia frosting (recipe below). Garnish with sugared cranberries.
To make Fiori di Sicilia Frosting:
- Cream together powdered sugar and softened butter with an electric mixer. Start with two cups of powdered sugar and half a stick of butter, alternating additions.
- Slowly incorporate vanilla, fiori di sicilia, and milk. Beat until smooth. Add additional milk or powdered sugar if needed for desired consistency.
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Have yourself a merry little Christmas,