These delectable Grain-Free Cranberry + Orange Cupcakes have a dreamy Cream Cheese frosting and are perfection for the holidays!
And… we’re back! Hi friends, we’ve missed you! I could bore you with the details of our brief hiatus, but I just can’t wait for you to dig into to this holiday recipe–it’s too good to put off another minute!
Tart cranberries and the delicious juice of blood oranges are the stars here, paired with a dreamy cream cheese frosting that of course has an easy dairy-free option. (Kite Hill is amazing, isn’t it?) Anyway, these almond flour cupcakes are scrumptiously fluffy, moist and bursting with winter fruit flavors.
We dried some sliced blood oranges for decor here– just place the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 2-3 hours, sometimes a touch longer, depending on the oven. Check in every so often to make sure they don’t burn. We also sugared some cranberries for topping–fresh thyme or dill gives a lovely green accent but a simple twist of orange in it’s place would suffice nicely.
This is definitely a fun, family friendly gluten-free + grain-free recipe. I’ve never met a little one that wasn’t interested in mixing frosting, it’s just such a blast to decorate holiday treats. We always turn on Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack in the kitchen–guaranteed to put you in a joyful mood.
If you like these cupcakes, we think you’ll also enjoy our Grain-Free Classic Cheesecake! Another great choice for this time of year!
For The Cupcakes
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, Hain brand is grain-free
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- zest of 1 large orange
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (we used blood oranges-any are fine)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons half and half (or coconut milk for dairy-free)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or orange extract
- 1.5 cups fresh cranberries
For The Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Go ahead and measure out your cranberries. You’ll want to place them on a cutting board and cut each one in half, sprinkle with a touch of sugar (optional) and set aside. You don’t need to halve the tiny ones. This is an important step as it will more evenly distribute the cranberries into the batter, allowing the cupcakes to rise beautifully–it will also allow more sweetness into the cranberries so they won’t be overly tart.
- In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Add in orange zest and whisk again until incorporated evenly.
- Add in your eggs, orange juice, olive oil, milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Whisk briskly until evenly combined. Finally, add in your halved cranberries and mix again.
- Pour batter into each cupcake liner a little over half way full. Try to keep the batter-to-cranberry ratio about even.
- Place your prepared cupcake tin into your preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. We set a timer. They’ll be a little golden on top. COOL CUPCAKES COMPLETELY before removing from cupcake tin. No cheating 😉 If you’re in a rush, you can place the cupcake tin in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
- While you’re waiting for the cupcakes to cool, go ahead and make your cream cheese frosting: In another large bowl, cream together your softened cream cheese and butter. Sift powdered sugar over top and blend with hand mixer. Add milk, orange zest and extract. Blend again on high until smooth. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting, or more milk to thin it out.
- Pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired. We used sugared cranberries, dried orange slices and a bit of dill. Thyme would also be lovely–or a small orange slice and a few dried cranberries. Whatever your heart desires!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Category: grain-free
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: cupcakes
Keywords: grainfree, glutenfree, dairyfree, holiday, Christmas, cranberry, orange, cupcakes, fruitcake, easyrecipe, baking