Special equipment: piping bag with decorating tip
For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with 30 cupcake liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the granulated sugar and eggs until light yellow in color, about 3 minutes. Mix in the oil until combined. Add the sifted ingredients and mix until incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the cranberry sauce, orange zest, vanilla, red coloring and apples and mix until incorporated.
Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool 15 minutes, and then pull them from the pans and place on a cooling rack or baking sheet to cool completely.
For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, cream the butter. Add the cream cheese and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar while the mixer is on low speed. Add the vanilla and salt and whip at medium speed until creamy. Add the beets and mix until incorporated.
Put the frosting in a pasty bag with the desired decorating tip. Pipe one low swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with 4 to 5 pomegranate seeds.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.