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Friday, October 26, 2012

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Canadians face this question far before our American counterparts. But regardless of geography, the same question faces us all.... "It is Thanksgiving and I am invited for dinner. What should I bring?"

Normally, there are so many duplications of ingredients at a holiday event such as this. At a Thanksgiving gathering, this equates to all varieties of sweet potatoes, variations on stuffing, and pumpkin laced desserts. So, for those who want a slight break from tradition and who want to ensure that their flavours stand out from the rest, the question becomes:  "What can I do that is still festive but not going to add another level of "same" to the mix?"

The first decision to make was savory or sweet. In this case, I figured that people would choose to bring savory, transporting their family's traditional side dish to the shared table. So, I chose sweet.

For dessert, the classic thing to do would be to bring something made with pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin flan... But I wanted to do something different, while still embracing the flavours of the holiday. And when I went to the market, I found fresh cranberries galore. So, I decided to make cupcakes. Cranberry Orange Cupcakes (with cream cheese frosting of course!!!).

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes
Makes 48 Mini Cupcakes

3 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Plain Yogurt
Zest of 2 Oranges
2/3 cup Orange Juice
2/3 cup Vegetable Oil
3 cups Fresh Cranberries

For Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
1 tsp Vanilla
3 2/3 cup Icing Sugar, sifted

Zest of 2 Oranges

Dried Cranberries, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line or grease 48 mini muffin tins. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the yogurt, orange zest, orange juice and oil and mix until well combined.

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the cranberries. Spoon into the mini muffin tins (fill them to the top since the cranberries will break down). Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the cupcakes just start to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Mix in the icing sugar and orange zest. Once the cupcakes are cool, ice the cupcakes and garnish with a few dried cranberries.

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