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White Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes

Indulge in the delightful combination of tart and sweet in this cranberry cupcake recipe. The light, fluffy cakes are expertly paired with a rich white chocolate buttercream frosting, while the sugared cranberries add a touch of elegance. But it’s not just about looks – the delicious cranberry filling inside will leave you craving more. Whether you’re planning a holiday party or simply want to treat yourself, these cupcakes are sure to impress.For those who share your love of all things cupcake, be sure to check out our other seasonal delights, such as lemon stuffed cupcakes, carrot cake cupcakes, and chocolate peanut butter kitchen sink cupcakes for a unique twist. Or why not try your hand at making some festive reindeer Rice Krispie treats or gingerbread sandwich cookies? Whatever your taste, we’ve got you covered!

Why You’ll Love Them

These cranberry vanilla cupcakes are a breeze to make, even for novice bakers. In fact, this recipe is a great introduction to home baking. With their festive flavor profile, they’re perfect for the holidays – think Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you need a birthday treat that’s both tasty and seasonally-appropriate, these cupcakes fit the bill. The combination of tangy cranberries, creamy frosting, and light cake is utterly irresistible.

How to Make Cranberry Cupcakes

To bring your cranberry cupcakes to life, start by crafting the batter. In a stand mixer, combine softened butter and sugar until smooth, then incorporate eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Next, add milk, followed by flour, salt, and baking powder. Once combined, transfer the mixture to a cupcake pan lined with liners and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden edges appear. To create the filling, heat fresh cranberries and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until you achieve a thick, syrupy consistency, then allow it to cool completely. For the frosting, combine unsalted butter, salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth. Next, melt white chocolate with cream in the microwave, creating the white chocolate cream component. To prepare sugared cranberries, simply toss rinsed cranberries with sugar and allow them to air-dry. Finally, finish the frosting by pouring the white chocolate mixture over the vanilla frosting, then transferring it to a piping bag. Fill each cupcake by removing a small portion from the center, piping in some frosting, and replacing the removed piece. Finish off your masterpieces by decorating with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary before serving.

Substitutions and Variations

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider putting your own spin on this festive holiday cupcake recipe. Whether you’d like to substitute in a different frosting or opt for a store-bought alternative, feel free to get creative. Alternatively, why not try using a boxed mix for the cake base? For an added burst of citrus flavor, simply incorporate some orange zest into the batter for cranberry orange cupcakes that are sure to impress.

How to Store Cranberry Cupcakes

For optimal freshness, store your cranberry cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. However, refrain from decorating them until just before serving, as this will help preserve their texture and flavor. If you prefer to keep the treats for a longer period, consider freezing them undecorated. Make sure not to freeze the decorated and frosted cupcakes, as this may affect their quality.

Cupcakes with Candied Cranberries FAQs

While fresh cranberries may not be the best choice for using in the filling and frosting due to their texture when combined with other ingredients, they do make a stunning topping for your cupcakes. For a visually appealing presentation, use frozen cranberries for garnishing the top of each cupcake. Regarding the fill level of your cupcake pan, it’s essential to leave some room for the batter to rise during baking. Aim to fill the liners no more than 2/3 full, as this will help prevent over-flow and ensure even baking. If you’re making mini cupcakes, follow a similar approach by using four pans instead of two and reducing the baking time accordingly. Once a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, they’ll be done baking. I’m particularly fond of using Wilton cupcake pans (for more information).

Cranberry Cupcakes Recipe

White Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes

Moist vanilla cupcakes are the perfect canvas for a delightful surprise. At their center lies a sweet and tangy cranberry filling, carefully crafted to provide a delightful contrast to the tender cake. The crowning glory is a rich white chocolate buttercream frosting, generously piped onto each cupcake’s peak. And to add an extra touch of magic, sparkling sugar cranberries are artfully arranged on top, creating a visually stunning masterpiece that’s almost too beautiful to eat. Yet, with this recipe’s promise of 20 minutes of prep time, 15 minutes of cook time, and 30 minutes of inactive time, you’ll be indulging in these scrumptious treats in just under an hour. And when the dust settles, you’ll have a batch of 24 delightful cupcakes to share with friends and family.


To begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your cupcake pan(s) by lining them with liners and setting them aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and sugar. Beat the mixture until it becomes smooth. Next, add in the eggs, oil, and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Then, incorporate the milk, ensuring everything is well combined. The resulting batter may appear curdled, which is normal. Now, add the flour, salt, and baking powder, mixing until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Divide the cake batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each one to about halfway or ⅔ full. Place the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the edges turn a light golden brown. Allow them to cool completely before decorating. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by heating fresh cranberries and granulated sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching as the mixture thickens. Once ready, allow it to cool while you make the frosting. For the frosting, combine softened butter, salt, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth, then add vanilla and mix well. Set this aside for now. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips with heavy cream. Stir well after heating for one minute, allowing it to cool for about 10 minutes. While the ganache cools, rinse fresh cranberries and toss them in a bowl with additional sugar. Spread this mixture on a plate to allow the sugar to dry. Once the frosting has cooled slightly, combine it with the cooled ganache, mixing well. If the ganache is too warm, it may melt the buttercream. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. For the assembly, use a teaspoon to scoop out the center of each cupcake, retaining the piece for now. Pipe a dollop of cranberry filling into the center of each cupcake, followed by replacing the cupcake piece on top. Next, pipe a dollop of frosting onto each cupcake in a spiral motion to create a mound. Finish with a few sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary on top.