Cupcake Hero Challenge: Maple Walnut Cranberry Cupcakes with Cranberry Sauce and Maple Frosting

When this month’s cupcake hero theme was announced to be cranberry, I was a little worried.

I don’t eat cranberries. Growing up, it was never in the Thanksgiving spread. In fact, until a week ago, I had never even touched the things.

I don’t drink cranberry juice. I had a kidney stone a few years back and had to go on an all-liquid diet for 5 days until it passed. I had to drink a gallon of cranberry juice every day. And, to make things worse, it was the week of Thanksgiving. Since then, I haven’t touched the stuff.

But I wanted to give the little guys a second chance. After all, it’s not their fault that my family never served cranberry sauce or that I got a kidney stone. And they’re really pretty during harvest time…
I started early in the month looking for a cupcake recipe with cranberries in it. Most recipes with cranberries are for muffins or scones; sometimes cookies have dried cranberries… I asked everyone who would listen what flavors go with cranberries – most people suggested orange or white chocolate.

I really wanted to stretch my baking wings and do some experimental baking. I’ve never “invented” a baking recipe, but I do it all the time when I cook. I found the base recipe for my cupcake in Crazy about Cupcakes. I thought that cranberries would go well with a maple-walnut cupcake. Then I thought about the frosting.

I wanted these guys to have a strong cranberry flavor and I was worried the berry would get lost in the cupcake. I thought about adding cranberries to the frosting and then it hit me. I could do a cranberry glaze and a maple syrup cream cheese frosting.

When the cupcakes came out of the oven, they smelled like warm pancakes – yuuuuummmmmmy! I was right about the berry flavor being lost in the cupcake, so now it was all up to the glaze.

The cranberry glaze turned out too sweet and I wanted the cranberry flavor to be more tart/tangy. The cream cheese frosting was also too runny and didn’t want to hold up for piping.

I decided to make a cranberry sauce with no sugar, to keep it tart, and a maple syrup buttercream so it could be piped. This flavor combination of the sweet maple syrup frosting, tangy cranberry sauce and nutty cupcake turned out amazing. After hours in the kitchen and years of avoiding cranberries at all costs, my mouth was excited when I took the first bite.

I sent these guys to work with Hubby and he said they got more compliments than any other baked good he has taken in!! I have to admit, they are quite pretty πŸ™‚

Maple Walnut Cupcakes (from Crazy about Cupcakes ) makes 18 – (with my changes in purple)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour – I use King Arthurs White Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped cranberries

Preheat over to 350F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.

In a large bowl cream together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the maple syrup. Add the vanilla and eggs. Beat until mixture is smooth.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, powder, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat well. Stir in the walnuts and chopped cranberries.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce (by ME!)
1 bag of cranberries (less 1 cup for the cupcakes)
water

Place remaining cranberries in a saucepan. Add water to cover the berries.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cover for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and cover. Allow to simmer while cupcakes bake and cool.

When cranberry sauce is cooled, puree in food processor by using the pulse button.

Maple Syrup Frosting (by ME!)
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2+ Tbsp maple syrup

Cream butter and sugar until blended. Add maple syrup until desired consistency and flavor is reached

To assemble cupcakes:
Allow cupcakes to completely cool. Using a toothpick, poke multiple holes into the cupcake tops.
Spoon some cranberry sauce onto the top of the cupcakes, coming close to the edge. Allow to soak in for 20 minutes.

Mix frosting while cranberry sauce is settling. Using a large tip, pipe frosting on to of sauce, but not covering all of the sauce.

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26 Responses to “Vanilla Peach Bourbon Jam”

  1. #
    1
    thecookingnurse — August 7, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    What a neat exchange! Your jam flavor sound delish!

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    2
    stephchows — August 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    oh YUMMMM!!! I love the color!! Peach with vanilla… I think I need to go peach picking this weekend πŸ™‚ As for your Q I’ll answer it here and on my blog. The reason there is no pectin is because raspberries naturally have a very high level of it in them, when I make my raspberry jam (posted yesterday) I only use raspberries and sugar, that’s it! And it gels up without any problem πŸ™‚ As for processing, I say jar it up and boil the jars for 10 minutes and then let them cool overnight like normal. Can’t wait to hear how it tastes!

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    3
    Jen — August 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    That makes sense about the raspberries having pectin in them. Thanks for the help for a jam newbie!

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    4
    Danielle Hawes — August 7, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Ohhh I want to make this!!

  5. #
    5
    nutmegnanny — August 7, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    What a yummy jam! I bet it taste amazing:)

  6. #
    6
    Kevin — August 8, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I really like the sound of a peach jam with vanilla bean and bourbon!

  7. #
    7
    Jessica Segarra — August 10, 2009 at 2:56 am

    One day soon I really really want to make my own Jam! Yours looks fabulous!

  8. #
    8
    Kerstin — August 11, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Wow, what an amazing flavor combo, I’m completely impressed you made your own jam – it looks fabulous!

  9. #
    9
    Anna — August 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration, it came out yummy!

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    Christine — September 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Hello Jen! I found this blog in Foodista and followed it here. This is a actually cool Vanilla Peach Bourbon Jam recipe. Keep it up and I may see you on Food Network one day. By the way, did you know you can place more Foodista widget? A friend of mine placed proper Foodista widget at the end of her latest blogs and the numbers of her readers increased. Interesting isn’t it?

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    Squeaky — October 3, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    It’s too late for peaches (I made a batch of this with peaches, and wanted to make a second, but I waited too long), so I tried asian pears. It’s a little boozier tasting, but delicious!

  12. #
    12
    Dave — July 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Just made this with some fantastic peaches. Wow, winning recipe.

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    Amy — June 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I made this jam last summer. My family has been begging for more. This is their all time favorite jam that I made. Can’t wait till the peaches are ripe to mix up a few batches. Thank you!!!

    • beantownbaker — June 11th, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe. I make this jam every year when peaches are in season.

  14. #
    14
    Aurora — August 6, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Just made this, and OMG is it good!! I used southern comfort, and scraped the seeds out of my vanilla bean into the jam. One of the best jams I have ever made! Thanks for the recipe! I put the used vanilla bean into 8oz of southern comfort, might be good in a couple of weeks! Just cant bear to throw away the rest of the vanilla bean.

    • beantownbaker — August 6th, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this! It’s one of my favorite jam recipes ever.

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    15
    Denise — August 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Hi! Can’t wait to try this jam! Is there a reason you used low-sugar pectin instead of regular?

    • beantownbaker — August 28th, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

      That’s what the recipe called for. In general, when it comes to pectin, I follow the recipe and don’t deviate from what it says…

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    Gatorman — October 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    This recipe sounds great! I have to go out for a liquor run tomorrow(Son getting married) and peaches are still in the stores. I was looking for a good(and different) peach jam recipe. Thanks!

    • beantownbaker — October 29th, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

      This is one of my favorite jam recipes. I make it every year at the end of summer while peaches are really ripe here in the midwest!

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    Brighid45 — July 6, 2014 at 8:17 am

    This is a fantastic recipe! Made it last year and the first batch disappeared so fast, two more got made right away πŸ™‚ I’m just about to start on this year’s first batch. My only suggestion would be this: if you’re using a stockpot for canning the half-pints/pints and not a water-bath canner, put some butter knives on the bottom of the pot so the jars don’t make direct contact with the floor. The knives act in the same way as a rack does, to reduce the chance that a jar might crack or even break.

    • beantownbaker — September 2nd, 2014 @ 7:21 pm

      Great tip. Thanks!

  18. #
    18
    FancyApril — August 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I made this last night, the best peach jam I have ever tasted. I brought a small jar to work and everyone has fallen in love!

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    Linda Riccardo Henderson — June 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I don’t drink but would love to try recipe, someone promised to share bourbon for recipe and at the last minute gave me Jim beam whisky instead. I reviewed how the spirits are made…thoughts about the substitution. Thank you love your site

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    Scott Anderson — October 5, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Jim Beam would be fine – it’s a nuance, not a strong “flavor”. This is an amazing jam that won’t disappoint…

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    Dawn — July 9, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Wow! Just made this jam, & it is amazing. Will definitely be making this yearly.

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