Eggless Orange Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

There are so many versions of Orange Cranberry cupcakes out there. Normally I would thumb my nose at every one of them. I was convinced that this flavour combination belonged firmly in the muffin category. And what do you mean by white chocolate buttercream? White chocolate is an oxymoron in my opinion. That stuff can either be white or chocolate, not both!

So why did I make these at all, you ask?

Because that’s what you do when you’re feeling particularly reckless and adventurous at 11 in the night. You throw caution to the winds, use up the husband’s precious bar of white chocolate and take risks.

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Not too shabby eh? Easy to make and surprisingly easy to eat – white chocolate and all – these were pretty good! I might even think about making a second batch.

Don’t let the instructions scare you. The entire process takes about a hour from start to finish. I promise!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/3 cups + 1 tbsp
  • Baking soda – 3/4 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Milk – 3/4 cup
  • White vinegar – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 1/3 cup (use a neutral flavored oil such as sunflower or canola)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Orange juice – 1/4 cup
  • Dried cranberries – 3/4 cup
  • Zest from one orange

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • White chocolate chips (or a bar or white chocolate chopped up) – 1/3 cup
  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)  – 3 to 4 cups
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 1 to 2 tsp

Method

Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degree Celsius. Line and prepare your cupcake pan.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk vinegar into milk and set aside to curdle. This takes about 15 minutes.
  • Sift together 1 and 1/3 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the sugar and oil together till it becomes a little fluffy and pale. It will NOT be as fluffy or pale as a butter-sugar mixture. I recommend using a hand blender or stand mixer.
  • Add vanilla extract, orange juice and milk to the oil-sugar mixture and whisk till it becomes frothy.
  • Add the sifted flour mixture into the liquid mixture in two batches, each time mixing only until it is combined. Do not over mix.
  • Toss the dried cranberries with the remaining 1 tbsp flour and stir it into the cupcake batter with a spatula. DO NOT stir it too vigorously.
  • Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill each till it is about 3/4th full.
  • Bake cupcakes for about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the pan around once in between to ensure even heating.
  • The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cupcakes completely.

Buttercream frosting

  • Melt white chocolate over a double boiler. You can also melt chocolate in the microwave in short 10 seconds bursts. Set it aside till it comes down to room temperature
  • In a separate bowl beat butter using a hand blender or stand mixer for about 5 to 7 minutes till it becomes pale
  • Now add the melted and cooled white chocolate  and vanilla essence and whip together till it becomes light and fluffy.
  • Add icing sugar one half cup at a time. Whip after each addition till it is thoroughly combined.
  • After the addition of one cup of icing sugar, make sure you taste your buttercream after every subsequent addition of icing sugar to avoid making it too sweet. I found the white chocolate to be pretty sweet by itself so I limited my icing sugar to 2.5 cups
  • Whip the buttercream well for about 7 minutes more on medium speed till the sugar is well incorporated and the texture becomes smooth.
  • If the buttercream is too stiff add 1 tsp of milk at a time and whip till it reaches the desired consistency. If it is too runny, add icing sugar (if your taste permits) or pop it into the fridge till it stiffens up.
  • Transfer to a piping bag

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