Almond, Orange, and Cranberry MiniCupcakes
Almond, Orange, Cranberry Cupcakes. Geez, the title itself is already a mouthful isn’t it? There is the fruits, and the nuts all rolled into a medley. But fret not, despite the jumbled mess of a name, this will work just fine.
These cupcakes might take a lil bit more fostering than the average cupcakes. It’s not just a matter of throwing in a bunch of chocolate chips, or a handful of nuts.
The oranges have to be zested, and the cranberries chopped, and then soaked.
And let me tell you about these soaked cranberries… I soaked these cranberries in Grand Marnier, and i can’t tell you enough how wonderfully plump and flavourful each cranberry became. It was like biting into mini bursts of delight, fruity, full-bodied, and fragrant. I think Grand Marnier is fast becoming a baking favourite.
A lil downfall in these soaked cranberries though, literally. The cranberries get heavy, and they sink downward. Although some did manage to stay afloat, most of them made their way south. I know i should have chopped the cranberries smaller, and pat them dry, or sprinkle a lil flour before dumping them into the batter. But i guess i got a lil lazy. Lesson learnt.
Let me go on to marvel at the cake now. In case you were wondering, the dark shade of this cake is brought about by the glorious brown sugar. And just by having brown sugar, these cupcakes by default are delicious. I love brown sugar, and i have come to notice a trend with it. Brown sugar baked goods somehow get more flavoursome and all the more luscious with time. These cupcakes taste better on the second day, so i guess that kinda challenges that cliche “fresh from the oven” slogan so overused today eh?
Anyways, for the recipe, i have adapted Pastry Girl’s Apricot, Orange, and Almond Mini Cakes and subbed the Apricots for Dried Cranberries. And in case you havent already, do head over to her blog for the most amazing display of desserts. Her pictures of stunningly gorgeous! Thanks Anita for sharing the recipe!
adapted from Carole Bloom’s Bite-Size Desserts
makes 12 4″x 2 1/4″ loaves
2/3 cup (4 ounces) dried apricots, finely chopped (i used dried cranberries)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 cups (9 ounces) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5 ounces) sugar plus extra for sprinkling
3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature (I used large and it turned out fine)
1 extra-large egg yolk, room temperature (same as above)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray twelve mini loaf pans with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
Combine apricots and Grand Marnier in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
Beat butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until well combined.
Combine eggs, egg yolk, extracts, and orange peel in a small bowl. Add to mixture and beat until well combined.
Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
Add in the apricots and mix until combined.
Divide mixture among prepared pans, filling about 3/4 full. Sprinkle almonds and sugar over the tops.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool on wire racks before serving.