Spiced Pear Cupcakes with Cranberry-Orange Filling
  • Servings: Makes 16-18 cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced pears (1 1/2 - 2 pears)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • Pinch of orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, fresh ground if available
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup leftover filling
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. Prep for filling: Combine cranberries and orange juice in a measuring cup and heat for 30-40 seconds in microwave, just until mixture is warm. Let sit until cupcakes are baked and cooled, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with 16 paper liners. In a large bowl sift together flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until well incorporated. Add flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Add pears and mix just until incorporated. Divide batter into muffin cups. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.
  3. Make the filling: Drain the plumped cranberries and reserve the juice. In a food processor, pulse cranberries until finely chopped. With an electric mixer, combine chopped cranberries, 8 oz cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of reserved orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest, and 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar. Cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake, keeping the top. Fill each cupcake with 1-2 teaspoons of filling. Replace top.
  4. Make the frosting: With an electric mixer, combine 4 oz cream cheese, 1/2 of leftover filling, and 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar. Mix until smooth. Keep frosted/filled cupcakes refrigerated for up to 3 days.
I came up with this recipe for the "Iron Cupcake: Cranberry" challenge!