I decided to enter the “Cupcake Hero” recipe contest this month, and the theme for October is cloves. As you can no doubt tell from my last couple posts, I am all about the warm fall spices, so this was right up my alley! A friend of mine suggested a clove cranberry sauce, and the rest of the cupcake grew out of that. As a side note, the cranberry sauce would also be excellent as a side dish, though nothing can compare, of course, to the kind that comes in a can.
Filling the cupcakes was an adventure–the squeeze bottle technique suggested in the Citizen Cake cookbook was an unmitigated disaster, so in the end, I had to chop off the tops of the cupcakes and fill them by hand. Pictures later on in the post (but not of the failed squeeze bottle attempts. Those shall be hidden away…most likely in my tummy). So now on to the recipe–
Orange Spice cupcakes with Cranberry Sauce filling and Spiced Buttercream Frosting
Fall Spice Mix:
- 2 tsp. Ground Cloves
- 2 tsp. Cardamom
- 2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 2 tsp. Ground ginger
- 1 tsp. Nutmeg
Mix all spices together well
Orange Spice Cupcakes:
(Makes approximately 18-20 cupcakes)
- 10 Tbsp. softened butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Grated zest of 2 oranges
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. Fall Spice Mix
- 1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine softened butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 sec. in between each addition. Mix in vanilla and orange zest.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and Fall Spice Mix. Mix dry ingredients into the batter, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Do not mix more than necessary to incorporate the flour.
Line cupcake pans with paper liners and pour batter into the lined cups, filling about 3/4 of the way to the top.
Bake on a rack in the middle of the oven until a tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Move cupcake tray to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cool on the rack without the pan. Allow to cool before filling and icing.
Cranberry Sauce Filling:
- 1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
- 1 large navel orange, segmented and chopped into pieces
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (more or less according to taste)
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 tsp. Fall Spice Mix
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and add 1 cup sugar, allow to dissolve.
Add the cranberries and the orange. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add the Fall Spice Mix, and after it is incorporated, taste the sauce to determine whether to add more sugar. I like mine fairly sweet, so I added another 3/4 cup.
Continue to cook until the fruit all bursts and the sauce takes on a sort of gelatinous quality. Mine cooked for about 30-35 minutes total. The sauce will thicken up a bit when cooled.
To fill cupcakes:
Puree desired amount of cranberry sauce in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth.
With a sharp knife, cut a wedge out of the top of the cupcake. Cut off the inner end of the wedge, keeping the top intact. Use a small spoon to mostly fill the hole in the cupcake with cranberry filling. Replace the top of the cupcake. (The frosting will hide the seams!)
Spiced Buttercream Frosting:
- 2 tsp. Fall Spice Mix
- 1 cup (two sticks) softened butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 Tbsp. orange juice
Beat butter until creamy, then add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and orange juice. Beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
With the filled cupcakes, because the tops are a bit precariously perched on top, it works best to pipe the frosting out through a cake decorating tip, or even just a ziplock bag with the corner cut off.