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Cranberry Bliss Cupcakes

December 23, 2011

Have you ever been in one of those moods where everything makes you laugh? …. Except you’re the only one laughing at everything?

I feel like I’m constantly in that mood and holiday baking has taken it to a whole other level. I have been on a sugar OVERLOAD recently. I keep finding inappropriate situations hilarious and laughing at my own jokes. Let’s just say, my relationships with other human beings have definitely taken a serious beating after this week.

But I have some sort of solution, or at least, justification, to my chronic sugar high…. I entice people with delicious baked goods! This week I was inspired by Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars.

Starbucks has made Cranberry Bliss Bars a pretty popular holiday treat over the years. They’re seasonal, delicious, triangles full of cranberries, crystallized ginger, white chocolate, and orange zest. Instead of recreating the tasty bar-form, I revamped the recipe and made Cranberry Bliss Cupcakes! And don’t worry, I added some extra booze for the holidays.

Cranberry Bliss Cupcakes by The Bite-Sized Baker:


1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter

2 teaspoons orange zest (zest from one orange)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup orange juice

2 cups frozen cranberries, thawed and coarsely chopped

1 cup white chocolate chips


2 oz. quality white chocolate, melted then cooled to room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

4 cups powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, orange zest, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and Cointreau and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and orange juice to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in chopped cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  5. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
  6. While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting. Melt chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Allow to come to room temperature.
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, chocolate, vanilla, and Grand Marnier. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
  8. Frost the cupcakes and garnish with Sugared Cranberries.

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