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 🙂

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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22 Responses to “Raspberry Meringue Cookies”

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    1
    Steph — January 16, 2009 at 1:09 am

    These are so cute and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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    bensbaby116 — January 16, 2009 at 1:43 am

    They’re so pretty!! I love meringues, I love raspberry, and I love chocolate… I might have to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!

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    Linds — January 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Those looks absolutely lovely! Great job!

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    Melissa — January 16, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    How pretty, pink & perfect!

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    Kristen616 — January 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Not only are they SO pretty but they look delicious! I love that flavor combination.

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    Erin — January 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I bet those would be great for a wedding or baby shower! They look lovely! And I bet the raspberry/dark chocolate combo tasted great!

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    Colleen — January 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    These are BEAUTIFUL!

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    Jen — January 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    These would be perfect for a baby shower. You could probably use any flavor jello in them.

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    Joelen — January 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    gorgeous pic and the flavor of raspberry and chocolate is wonderful!

  10. #
    10
    Lori — January 19, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Those look amazing. I love that first photo, nicely done!

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    mooskietx — January 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Just looking at the picture makes me feel like i need to go to the gyms in Boston.

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    Katie — January 20, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Oh my gosh, these look INSANELY awesome!! I want one right now!!

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    Lucy — February 20, 2009 at 12:14 am

    These looks simply gorgeous! and… I have a cookie tray to make for a baby shower… my yet to born grandson. Wonder how these would look in a light blue????

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    Jen — February 20, 2009 at 1:21 am

    You could definitely use blue jello.

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    Alicia — February 20, 2009 at 3:43 am

    These are so pretty! Im having a baby shower this weekend for a baby girl and these would be perfect. Which tip did you use for the star?

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    Jen — February 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I used the really big star tip. Not sure what # it is, but it’s the same one that I used for my peppermint meringues (there’s a picture in that post).

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    creativecarryout — February 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I saw this on tastespotting and wanted to comment on how gorgeous your photo is. I’ve bookmarked your recipe too – these are beautiful and I bet delicious with that flavor combination.
    Thanks,
    Michelle
    http://oneordinaryday.wordpress.com/

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    Jen — February 20, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks for the compliments!

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    Jennifer — February 21, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Those are so cute!!!!!!!!

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    Erin — March 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm
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    colleen — March 9, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Very good meringues… have made them several times for church since I found this recipe… they evaporate instantly ! Great also for a non wheat gluten item.

    • beantownbaker — March 9th, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

      Glad you enjoy them!

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