Cook Time: 15-18 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
(*Note- sugared cranberries will need to be made the day before)
Boy, do I have a sweet treat for you today... Champagne Cranberry Cupcakes! Fluffy vanilla/orange cupcakes, stuffed with Cranberry/Champagne Preserves, topped with a swirly twirly cloud of vanilla buttercream icing, and garnished with a sugared cranberry. Decadent, delightful, and fabulous for the holidays!
I am always looking for deliciously innovative recipes to share with you using our products, but it never occurred to me to make CUPCAKES filled with preserves. I mean, come on, we've had preserves in our product line for years and I didn't think about it? Oh well, sometimes it takes me a while:)
Anywho, unlike those who bury themselves in a good novel (I still love a good book), at the end of the day, I put my nerd on and read cookbooks. I know, silly right? Is there anyone out there who reads cookbooks besides me? I love to sift through cookbooks and recipes looking for inspiration, and such was the case the other day! My sweet tooth must have been acting up because I found myself salivating over the dessert section of my book when it hit me... CUPCAKES; but not any cupcakes...moist little cakes with a gooey, fruity center! What??? Back the truck up!!! And there it was, my aha moment! Cherchies® Preserves or Butter Spreads in the middle of a cupcake. Since the ingredients for the fruit fillings were, fruit, sugar, water, and cornstarch, preserves seemed like the perfect substitution. Mission accomplished! Like I mentioned, sometimes it takes me a while:).
Well, I am a force to be reckoned with now. I am inspired to create more cupcakes to share with you. Would you like that? Even better, what if you share some cupcake (or dessert) ideas using our preserves and butter spreads and we will post your creations? Wouldn't that be fun?
The result of my epiphany was amazing! These scrumptious cranberry-filled cupcakes were fluffy, moist, tangy and sweet, a combination that is truly delicious and a must have for your holiday entertaining! They will not disappoint!
Thank you for stopping by!
Ingredients for cupcakes
1 package yellow cake mix (we use Betty Crocker)
1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla
zest of one orange
sugared cranberries (make the day before)
16 oz. buttercream icing (see below)
Ingredients for Sugared Cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon (tsp) almond extract
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) good vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons (Tbsp) half and half (milk would be fine too)
1 lb. powdered sugar
Cream together shortening, butter, extracts and milk. Gradually add powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Set aside.
One day before (or at least 6 hours before), make the sugared cranberries. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan. Turn pan to med-high and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. This will be your simple syrup. Cool for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes add the cranberries to the saucepan. Stir to coat. Remove the coated cranberries from the pan and spread evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Allow cranberries to dry for at least 6 hours, tossing occasionally. When cranberries have set for at least six hours, add an additional 1/2 cup of sugar to a small bowl. In small batches, add cranberries to the bowl and gently shake to coat the cranberries and return to the baking sheet. Cranberries will dry, leaving a candy-like outer shell, with a soft tart inside.
Preparations for cupcakes
Sift the cake mix into a medium bowl. I used a fine mesh strainer to sift the cake mix, breaking up any clumps that were left. Prepare the cake batter according to package directions, combining the sifted cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, vanilla, orange zest and eggs. Mix. Set aside.
Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full with cake batter. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes, checking them at 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick or a cake tester to check for doneness. If toothpick or cake tester come out clean, cupcake is done. If not, give it another minute or so until done. You do not want to overcook the cupcakes. Slightly under cooking is best, as the cupcakes will continue to cook when removed from the oven.
Allow cupcakes to cool on a wire rack for about five minutes. With a paring knife, cut a small "cone" in the middle of the cupcake, cutting off the end of the cone, and discarding the end. Do this with each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with about one spoonful (about 1 Tablespoon) of Cherchies® Cranberry Preserves. Replace cupcake "lid" over preserves.
Replace cupcake "lid" over preserves. Ice cupcakes with buttercream icing, using a 1M tip, or your favorite tip. Garnish with a sugared cranberry.
Serve and enjoy!