Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with liners.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat egg whites in a glass, metal, or ceramic bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in orange zest and vanilla extract. Add in 1/2 the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add buttermilk and heavy cream, mixing until just combined. Mix in remaining flour mixture until just combined. Batter will be thick.
Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the batter until incorporated. Fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks of egg white remain. Fold in chopped cranberries. Spoon batter evenly into each prepared cupcake liner, filling each liner about 7/8 full.
Bake in the preheated oven until cupcakes spring back lightly when touched, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until completely smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add powdered sugar and salt, and beat until smooth and well combined, another 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in melted white chocolate and beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in heavy cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat until frosting is smooth, light, and fluffy, 2 to 3 more minutes.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
I find it easiest to chop the fresh cranberries in a food processor to get relatively even pieces.
You can change the amount of orange zest in the cupcakes to suit your tastes.
You can also substitute 2/3 cup buttermilk or 2/3 cup heavy cream in place of the 1/3 cup buttermilk and 1/3 cup heavy cream in the cupcake recipe. Using all buttermilk creates a delicious tang that compliments the cupcakes well–while using all heavy cream allows for the cranberry-orange flavor to come through a bit more.
For the frosting, make sure your white chocolate is not too cool when you add it to the butter mixture. Otherwise, it will create lumps in the frosting. The white chocolate should be cool enough to not melt the butter, but slightly warm in order to incorporate smoothly.
Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of frosting. The actual amount of frosting consumed will vary.
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