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Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes

Everyone loves cupcakes, and these are perfect for festive desserts and gifting.

Serving Size:


Active Time:

1 hr.

Total Time:

1 hr., 45 min. + cooling time


  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted, cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely chopped dried cranberries


  • 12 square caramels, unwrapped
  • 8 Tootsie Roll Midgees, unwrapped, halved
  • 8 large yellow gumdrops
  • Yellow, green and orange decorating sugars


  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 4½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • Golden yellow, Kelly green and orange concentrated food colorings


Make cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Combine flour, dry pudding mix, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, combine milk, sugar, butter and egg. On medium speed beat in flour mixture until blended and smooth, 1 minute. Stir cranberries into batter. Divide among liners. Bake 18-20 minutes or until pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool completely.

Create acorns and leaves:

  1. Shape caramels into “acorn” bottoms and Tootsie Rolls into “acorn” tops; press together. For “leaves,” on sheet of wax paper sprinkled with yellow sugar, roll out 1 gumdrop to ⅛” thickness. Using 1 ⅞” maple-leaf-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 3 “leaves.” Repeat with remaining gumdrops and sugars to make 24 “leaves.”

Make frosting:

  1. On medium speed, beat butter until fluffy. On low, gradually beat in sugar, then sour cream, vanilla and 1 Tbs. water until combined. On medium-high, beat until fluffy, 2 minutes. Stir in ⅛ tsp. golden yellow food coloring. Fit medium star tip into pastry bag. Using small paintbrush, alternately paint 3 thin lines each green and orange food colorings around inside of bag, ending 2″ from top edge. Spoon frosting into bag, being careful not to smudge lines. Pipe onto cupcakes. Garnish with “acorns” and “leaves.”

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