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Thursday, November 29, 2007

November's Cupcake Hero: Cranberry

Cupcake Hero is the fun, current obsession of slush at quirky cupcake. Apparently I have been missing out on a Blog Challenge that is right up my alley*. I needed to get back to baking on a grander scale (meaning, I'm getting bored with baking the same cakes day after week at the W-place) and this is a cupcake fanatic's dream come true! slush does all the work coming up with a theme and all I have to do is hop on that bandwagon and ride it all the way to Tasty Town.

slush: Now if your new to Cupcake Hero, each month a theme ingredient is named. The theme ingredient must be used in either the cupcake, the frosting, the filling or all of the above if you choose. Come on, it doesnt get easier than that, you know your going to be baking anyway!

The theme ingredient for November is: CRANBERRY

If you want to participate, send your cupcakery to superslush AT by November 30.

Your blog name and URL*
Link to your Cupcake Hero entry
Picture of your cupcakery (200 to 250 width is preferred)
Remember: The theme ingredient, cranberry, must be used in the cake, frosting or filling.

I heard about this event just in the nick of time on IMBB.

PumpCran Cupcake
Cranberry Hero: Grommie Style

Pumpkin Cupcakes Studded with Cranberries

3 oz. sweetened, dried cranberries
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
9 oz. unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon)
15 oz. light brown sugar
0.25 oz. salt (2 large pinches)
15 oz. cake flour
2 teaspons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 whole eggs
2 egg whites
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 1/4 cup applesauce (pref. Granny Smith or homemade)
1/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 385 degrees. Place the dried cranberries, orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a small sauce pan. Simmer gently until orange juice is reduced by half (12 - 15 minutes) and cranberries are very plump. Let cool slightly.
Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Combine dry ingredients: salt, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. To the creamed mixture, add eggs and egg whites and beat well. Scrape the bowl and beat again. Gently mix in 1/3 of the dry ingredients and add the pumpkin and applesauce. Mix in another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then the milk and the remaining dry ingredients. Then gently mix in the reconstituted cranberries and reduced orange juice.
Fill baking cups to 2/3 full and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and brush tops with No Sugar Added cranberry juice. Top with Cranberry Spice Buttercream (recipe below) and garnish with dried cranberries.

PumpCran Cup2

Cranberry Spice Buttercream

1/2 cup No Sugar Added cranberry juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup pasteurized egg whites (Whippin’ Whites or Eggology),
warmed to room temp.
1 pound unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
A quick splash of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 drops neon pink food color

In a small cooking pot, stir together juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and using a pastry brush and water, wash down the sides of pan to remove any crystals. Do NOT stir again.

Boil 4 minutes then beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
With the mixer running, slowly pour the cooked syrup into the whites.
Beat at high speed until the bowl is cool to the touch (about 10 minutes).
Slowly add the butter and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Then add the pumpkin pie spice and food color.

This is a very mild-flavored cupcake and kind of a nice change after all of the bold flavors of Thanksgiving. If my stomach wouldn't protest, I could easily eat 3 or 4 of these at a time.

Originally, I was thinking of using a Brown Sugar Icing that I found here. However, I never did get the hang of this icing and fell back on my old stand-by, Buttercream. If you're not up to the challenge of making your own Buttercream, just mix up a batch of American Buttercream and in place of the milk, use the cranberry juice I mentioned.

*I'm great at thinking up recipes but suffer to think up a reason to bake them (dopey, huh?!?) now I just need to find someone to eat them all.

Technorati tags +++++


Daisy said...

These look wonderful. My mouth is watering. Cranberries? I can't get enough of them. Good thing I live in Wisconsin!

chou said...

Your cupcakes look absolutely yummy. Now I have something to do with the cranberries and pumpkin in my fridge. :)

Grommie said...

Daisy, this turned out to be a very good cupcake. If you really love cranberries, you could increase the quantity to an entire 6oz. bag (also increase the amount of orange juice to 2 cups).

Chou, using up left-overs in my fridge is one of my favorite blog projects!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

They look great!