What’s pink, cute, and festive all over? These Citrus Almond Cranberry Cupcakes! Bridging the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas, these fluffy cupcakes are filled with sweet, tart cranberry curd and frosted with swirls of naturally hued pink buttercream.
In a sea of beige, brown, and tan, let these pink Citrus Almond Cranberry Cupcakes be the shining light at your Thanksgiving feast! We personally love cranberry sauce, but if you are opposed to that canned jelly stuff (that wobble can’t be natural, right?), then incorporate cranberries into dessert instead.
The orange and almond cupcakes are adapted from Layered. The almond flour keeps them moist and flavorful while hints of orange and cinnamon make them truly festive for any holiday celebration this season.
The cupcake “trend” isn’t even a trend because they are never going anywhere. Great cupcakes are here to stay - they are portable, you need don’t need a plate/fork/knife for serving, they are individually portioned, they offer endless combinations of cake/filling/frosting, and they are just so darn cute! And while the swirls of pink buttercream and sprinkles will make anyone stop in their tracks, we adore these Citrus Almond Cranberry Cupcakes for their knock-out flavors.
The cranberry curd filling offers a sweet and tart punch right in the middle of the cupcake. The curd may be made up to a week in advanced. Just be sure to keep stirring (with a heat-safe spatula or wooden spoon, not a whisk or it will take daaaayys) while it cooks so you don’t end up with scrambled egg curd!
And did we mention that the pink frosting is 100% natural? Cooking down fresh cranberries turns them into a super tart sauce that is bright magenta! Stir the tart cranberry sauce into fluffy whipped buttercream for the cranberry frosting.
Citrus Almond Cranberry Cupcakes
adapted from Layered
serves 24 to 28
2 ½ (315 g) cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (115 g) almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
zest of one large orange
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F. Fit a cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the milk and sour cream. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter, sugar and orange zest. Mix on medium-low until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Turn the mixer on low and add in the vanilla, almond, and eggs - one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium, no more than 30 seconds, or until smooth.
Fill the cupcakes liners about ⅔ of the way with the batter. Bake for 21 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean or the tops bounce back when gently presses. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.
Once cool, use an apple corer or paring knife to remove the centers of each cupcake. Spoon in a tablespoon or two of the cranberry curd. Frost and decorate as desired!
3 cups fresh cranberries
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
⅔ cup granulated sugar
Place the cranberries in a medium saucepan with ⅔ cup water. Heat over medium-high until the water boils and the cranberries start to pop. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until most the cranberries have burst open and break down. Remove from the heat and press the cranberries and their juices through a mesh sieve. Discard the seeds and any remaining flesh of the cranberries. You should have about ⅔ cup of cranberry “sauce.”
Place the butter in a heat-safe bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, measure out ¼ cup of the cranberry sauce (save remaining sauce for the frosting) then add the lemon juice, egg yolks, egg, and sugar. Stir together. While stirring consistently, cook over medium heat until the curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and registers 160°F, 7 to 10 minutes.
Pour the curd through a mesh sieve over the bowl with the butter. Stir to melt the butter and combine. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly to the top of the curd and refrigerate until cooled and thickened.
¼ to ⅓ cup cranberry “sauce” (from above)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ½ to 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat butter at medium-low speed of electric mixer until smooth and creamy (1 to 3 minutes.)
Gradually add all but 3 ½ cups of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract with mixer at low speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Mix until blended.
Beat at medium-high speed 3 to 5 minutes, until buttercream is light and airy and nearly white. Add in ¼ cup of cranberry sauce and mix until combined. If needed, add the additional powered sugar or cranberry sauce until desired consistency is achieved.