Lemon Cranberry Cupcakes
I am super happy to debut this variation of our Lucious lemon cake recipe (see the original here), with these jazzed-up, lemon cranberry cupcakes! We had some extra cranberries to use up in the fridge, and lemon with cranberry anything is one of my favorite flavor combos. This recipe can be made Gluten-free really easily. Check out the recipe below for our suggestions or substitutions. Enjoy this take on a classic flavor pairing with this recipe, and let us know what you think in the comments below! 💜🧁🍋
- As always, we recommend Country Crock’s Plant-Based Butter for baking and frostings. Super solid when making buttercream non-dairy!
- For the flour step, you can definitely use 1-to-1 GF flour here too, it works great! Our favorites are Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour and King Arthur’s 1-to-1 Flour.
- We recommend Kite Hill’s unsweetened original for the yogurt step. It really has the best flavor and texture for this recipe!
- Our friend Hannah from One Sweet Mama has some great resources on making candy. She’s an awesome reference if you’re having trouble nailing the candied lemon peel step. See her blog here on candied strawberries!
- As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The links I’ve included are from my store. These allow me to continue to provide unique content and recipes, so thank you in advance!
- Prep Time: 30m
- Cook Time: 1h
- Total Time: 1h 30m
- Serves: 6 people
- Yield: 24 cupcakes, or one small four layer cake (plus four cupcakes)
- Category: Desserts & Baking
- 1/2 c Unsalted stick butter (we use Country Crock's Plant-Based Butter)
- 1 1/2 c Granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 c All-purpose flour (can use gluten free flour as well!)
- 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1 c Chopped cranberries
- 1 c Plain yogurt
- 3 Eggs
- 1 tbsp. Lemon zest
- 1 tbsp. Lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
Cranberry Compote Ingredients
- 3 c Chopped cranberries
- 1/2 c Water
- 2/3 c Granulated Sugar
- 4 tbsp. Lemon juice
- 4 tsp. Lemon zest
- 2 tsp. Vanilla
- 2 tsp. Cinnamon
Lemon Frosting Ingredients
- 1 pkg Confectioners' (powdered) sugar (16 oz)
- 6 tbsp. Country Crock's Plant-Based Butter
- 4 tbsp. Lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
Candied Lemon Peel Ingredients
- 6 c Water
- 2 Organic Lemons, peeled
- 2 c Granulated Sugar
To make the cupcakes:
- Start by preheating the oven to 350*F. Line two cupcake trays with cupcake liners and set them aside for later.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment (or an electric hand mixer), cream one stick of butter (of your choice) and granulated sugar together until smooth, ~5 to 8 minutes. As you cream the butter and sugar, stop and scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula periodically so you make sure to combine the butter and sugar completely.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Once the butter and sugar are integrated, blend in the yogurt. Add the eggs, one by one, cracking into a separate bowl or mug first before adding to the mixing bowl to prevent any bad eggs or shells from getting into the batter. Then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients. Use an ice cream scoop or similarly sized spoon to fill the cupcake tins halfway full, and bake for about 30 mins or until the toothpick comes out cleanly.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them onto a cookie cooling rack and allowing them to cool for an additional 10-20 minutes.
To make the cranberry compote:
- In a small saucepan, add the filling ingredients together on medium heat.
- Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-5 minutes until flavors are combined, the water is dissolved, and the compote has thickened. Place in a heat-safe bowl in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes prior to filling the cupcakes to allow the mixture to cool.
To make the lemon frosting:
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer at medium speed (or a stand mixer works too), beat all the ingredients until very smooth, adding more lemon juice (in about 1/3 cup measurements at a time) if it needs to be thinner or more powdered sugar (in the same increments) if it needs to be thicker. Chill in the fridge briefly before frosting, as mixing it heats up the ingredients.
To make the candied lemon peel:
- Start by removing the peel from two washed, organic lemons with a vegetable peeler in thin strips. Make sure to remove any fruit pulp (the white inner layer of the peel) if applicable. Cut the strips into smaller pieces, if preferred.
- Bring water and lemon peel to a boil in a small saucepan. Drain the water from the peels, and repeat with fresh cold water. Repeat this boiling step three times. Drain and set peels aside.
- Combine 2 cups fresh water with 2 cups sugar in your saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low and stir in citrus peels, and simmer until the white pith (inner layer of the peel) is translucent. On a sheet lined with parchment paper, pour the peels and sugar mixture out and allow to dry and harden for about 30 minutes or overnight, if time allows. You can also toss dry candied peels in additional sugar to coat and then store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
- With cupcakes waiting on their cookie cooling rack, place filling, frosting, and toppings in easy reach to begin assembling the cupcakes. Use a spoon or knife to hollow out a 1" core in the center of each cupcake, saving the bits intact that you cut out for later.
- Using a spoon, add about a teaspoon of filling to each cupcake and top with the saved cupcake pieces that match. Once filled, it's time to frost them!
- Carefully spread or pipe the frosting over the cupcakes, adding as much as desired. Top with the candied lemon peel, serve, and enjoy! These will stay good in the fridge in a Tupperware container for up to a week.