Pear & Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache

Saturday, December 15, 2007

From the cupcake archives, Happy Holidays!
I swear to God, I'm becoming gayer with each cupcake I make. I am becoming a baking queen. A non-stop flour force, armed with butter and a cup o' sugar. And. It. Feels. So. Good.

After the last cupcake, the desire to continue with utilizing seasonal ingredients for something really flavorful acted as the impetus for this next cupcake. One of the big plusses of this recipe is that there is no butter in the actual cupcake which is great for my slowly growing second chin. This cupcake is high on the sugar though, but it's a cupcake so you should expect that.

The ganache had a hiccup in that the Eat Beast got outside, and after chasing him down for about 10 minutes - a black cat in an area with little lighting at night being an arduous task - the ganache separated and curdled. Lacking the supplies to make another batch, I whipped up a buttercream frosting instead and chopped up some white chocolate on it. Part of cooking is improvisation, right? Regardless, the buttercream was awesome. The white chocolate really brings this to another level, so whether you utilize it as ganache, chocolate shavings, or mix it into the cupcake, make sure it's in there.These came out tasting amazing. They border slightly between cupcake and muffin due to the density of the cake, but I say cupcake. The sweet and tart of the fruit, the creamy svelt of the chocolate, and hint of spice opens a deluge of fall imagery to mind. Assuming if I can get home for Thanksgiving, I plan to bring these to the table. If not, I suppose Rob and I can finish them off ourselves.

Special thanks to Glenna of Knitting to Stay Sane for the great pics and feedback!

Pear & Cranberry Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes

What You'll Need...
4 cups peeled, cored, chopped pears (about 8 pears)
2 cups sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 ground cloves
1/4 ground ginger
4 egg whites
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped dried cranberries

What You'll Do...
1) Chop the pears and combine them with the sugar and let them macerate for one hour.

2) Pheheat over to 350 degrees F (165 C).

3) Slightly beat egg whites just until a light foam appears. Comine them with the oil, pear mixture, and cranberries.

4) Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices together. Stir into the pear mixture, and then place into cupcake papers about 3/4ths full.

5) Bake for 15 minutes undisturbed, then rotate the pan and cook for another 3-7 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Careful, as if the toothpick goes into a pear it will not come out clean, but cupcake may be done.

Buttercream Frosting
What You'll Need...
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter (soft, at room temp.)
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of cream

What You'll Do...
1) Beat the sugar and butter together on low with an electric mixer until well combined. Then beat on medium for 3 minutes.

2) Add the vanilla and cream, and eat for another minute on medium.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop

What You'll Need...
12 ounces of white chocolate (good quality!)
3/4 cup of whipping cream
1/4 cup of butter, room temp.
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

What You'll Do...
1) Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl.

2) Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.

3) Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.

4) Add butter to the chocolate (make sure its soft and at room temp) and stir until combined.

5) Whisk together sugar, salt, and vanilla in another bowl until combined.

6) Pour the sugar mixture onto the chocolate mixture, then stir until combined and smooth.

7)Let sit at room temperature until thickened, about 2 hours.

8) Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Note: Keep close watch as this can suddenly separate.


  1. I'm having a real Homer Simpson drool moment over the buttercream. When are you going to start your cupcake business in Davis??

  2. Gay it up, babe. As with most things in life, the gayer my cupcake, the better.

    I think this is actually a great idea for a cookbook: The Seasonal Cupcake. And you could just turn to the month and it would tell you what kind of cupcakes to make. Yum!

  3. Yummmmmm. I am hungry! That sounds divine!!!

  4. I am partial to gay cupcakes hairdresser is one! Love him.

    I can't/don't bake...but I'd love to have a cupcake. Maybe I will one day soon!

    FYI...the link to Mike Dunne's blog doesn't take one to the blog. Did you know that?

  5. Sher: As soon as i stop f-ing up chocolate.

    Cake: doom shall reigh upon all

    KT: That is a nofty idea. Hmmmmm...

    Jennifer: Thanks!

    Christianna: Make them, they taste better than they look, lol.

    Melly53: Like should be all fixed. As for baking, just jump in a go for it.

  6. These look like gourmet cupcakes here, yum! What a fantastic combination of flavorings.

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  7. oh, garrett, you are SO outdoing yourself with these cupcakes! and everybody knows, a baking queen outdoes a dancing queen anyday! ;-)


  8. Please define how enjoying making cupcakes is 'gay'

  9. Ari - Thanks a bunch. Give em a try. They're super easy.

    Willa - Ah, but a dancing queen so scores more free drinks at the bar.

    W.M.Mind - Cause for me, as Rob puts it, it's step one until I become the premier stereotype homo. Next up, an insane shoe collection, and highlights! Sha-zam!

  10. Gay or not,that cupcake sure making me happy:))

  11. You are such a cutie pie, Garrett. This cracked me up. So glad that you're baking away.

    How lucky is Rob?!

  12. Pear AND cranberry AND white chocolate? Wow! There is a God.

    I don't think that being a power cupcake baker makes you gay. If you, however, are baking them in a Holly Hobby Easy Bake oven while wearing white gogo boots and dancing to a Jeffrey Sanker White Party 2006 CD...well, then it does. Not that I would know anything about Jeffrey Sanker, the White Party, or dancing around in my kitchen. Oh no--not me.

  13. how come you don't email me when your ganache curdles?

    I have some tricks for you, and they're not all hidden up my sleeve.

    ps-- that first paragraph? I LOVE it!!!!!

    --your other faggy boyfriend

  14. Foodie's Hope: It makes you gay in a classic sense of the word then?

    JJ - Glad you liked it! We should bake next time we can get together!

    Acme - Bitch, I always bake in gogo boots, a thong, and nothing else with Madonna playing in the background. It's always a white party in my kitchen.

    Shuna - Ack, I apologize! I will e-mail you sooner next time. Any good chocolate advice? Any good white chocolate ganach advice either? I want to make a chocolate cupcake, but I keep fearing that I'll just burn the chocolate again.

    -Your Other Dykey Girlfriend

    P.S. That first paragraph has been an odd one, I've gotten a lot of e-mails. All the straight readers are offended on behalf of the gay/lesbian/bi readers, whereas the gay and lesbian readers all loved it. It makes me giggle for some reason.

  15. WOW! i just came here via simply recipes. your cupcake recipes look AMAZING! you've definitely taken cupcake making to a whole new level. =)

  16. Love gay cupcakes, I made 300 for my very lesbian totally legal Canadian wedding.

  17. A gay, not gay, cupcake dude....sigh...i wish.

  18. My husband came home with a giant fruit gift basket filled with pears and this recipe really came in handy. I love how these turned out... I was worried the cranberries would be too tart, but it's just the right about of moistness and flavor. I opted for the buttercream frosting, but broke up Ghirardelli white chocolate vaniila bean squares and put a piece on top of each for that little burst of white chocolate flavor. I can't wait to take these to work tomorrow. Great recipe! :-)

  19. These were amazing. THe ganache was fantastic. I added extra chocolate and powdered sugar myself.

  20. I'm going to try this recipe but a few questions - how big do I chop the pears? And isn't 350F = 180C?

  21. Jasmine - bite sized pieces, and off the top of my head, I don't know. THere are F to C converting programs online that can answer that for you. =)

  22. I didn't know there were 'degrees' of gayness. If so, you're going to have to bake quite a few more cupcakes to catch up to Kevin.

    (Especially with those white go-go boots.)

  23. Darling, we always knew you were a little bit sweet, a little bit tart.

    ganache kisses, k

  24. If your ganache breaks, you can fix it like you would broken mayonaise. Put a little cold cream in a new bowl and slowly drip the broken ganache into the cream while whisking'll be good as golden...or good as a golden about gay.

  25. These look like cupcakes with 'attitude'!
    Happy Christmas and New Year. Mx

  26. Garrett ~ Darling, you do it so well. I am totally unimaginative and sadly un-gay when it comes to cupcakes. The stodgy, bottom-heavy (no, this isn't self-referential) muffin, I can's like the leather and handlebar moustache of the hand-held edibles world. And it stands up to coffee. Cupcakes are delicate...And yours are so pretty.

  27. I was looking for a white chocolate ganache and found your recipe. The last step in the recipe says to beat with electric mixer until fluffy...about how long and what speed? Then it says to watch closely; can suddenly separate? Really? Why exactly? Also, the recipe calls for salt, but not how much. Can't wait to try your recipe!

  28. Made these today, turned out beautiful, gannache is just perfect!

  29. I realize i'm 4 years late, but I was asked to make some "healthy cupcakes" for a holiday party and discovered this recipe! I just made them and while they are a little muffin-y, I'm going to slap some of that ganache on top and know it will pass for a cupcake!

    I subbed 1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries (cut in half) and they are oh so delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe! (Now to poke around the rest of your blog..)


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