Well, we’ve made it. It’s officially the week of Thanksgiving, and the week I say goodbye to skinny jeans and hello to figure flattering leggings and comfy oversized sweaters. So bring on the food – I’m ready.

What better way to start this food-filled week than with a festive and sinful sweet treat you can serve as dessert at your family gathering?

Although cupcakes aren’t typically your run of the mill Thanksgiving dessert, we all know there will be plenty of pie, so I thought cupcakes would be a nice alternative. Obviously the pairing of cranberries and oranges is something we’ve seen before, but it’s one of those classic fall/winter flavor combinations that continues to soar in popularity around the holidays – and for good reason.

Since I’m a little on the busy side this week, I didn’t have time to tinker with my own recipe from scratch, so I turned to the lovely Miss Martha Stewart’s cupcake cookbook for my base vanilla cupcake recipe, and doctored it up from there.

The super sweet batter is off set by tart cranberries and a double dose of orange flavorings from pure orange extract and fresh orange zest. These guys are perfectly decadent dusted with only a little bit of powdered sugar, but if a cupcake just isn’t a cupcake to you without frosting, I suggest whipping up a quick vanilla frosting laced with a little orange zest and orange extract to compliment the flavors in the cake.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving week!

Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer on a medium high speed. Make sure your butter is room temperature! I think it’s best to leave your butter out at room temperature overnight, although I ALWAYS forget to this so, if you’re like me and you to do too, just microwave in five second intervals, turning after each interval, until the butter is softened.

Cream until the butter and sugar is pale yellow and smooth.

Add three eggs one at a time, mixing until each one is incorporated before adding the next.

Add one egg white.

At this point, add the zest, orange extract, and vanilla extract, mix until incorporated

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

With the mixer on low, add half of the flour. Mix until incorporated.

Add half of milk. Mix until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk.

Roughly chop cranberries.

Fold into the batter.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full of batter. I like to use a medium ice cream scoop. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until slightly brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Garnish with a little powdered sugar.

Cranberry & Orange Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes- Strawberry Cupcakes Nicole-Cooking for Keeps
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure orange extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners
  2. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer on a medium-high speed, until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one a time, mixing until each one is incorporated.
  4. Add vanilla, orange zest, orange extract, and vanilla extract, mix until incorporated.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  6. With the mixer on low, add half of flour. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.
  7. Add half of milk. Repeat with remaining flour and milk.
  8. Fold in chopped cranberries.
  9. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing or adding powdered sugar.

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