Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting | Cookie Monster Cooking

Let’s start this week off right.  With lots of sugar.  And butter.  The only way to go this time of the year.  Because it’s the holiday baking season and I can’t seem to stay out of my kitchen and away from my baking sheets and mixer.

As you can probably tell, I am totally utterly completely in the holiday spirit and have so many fun recipes that I can’t wait to share with you.  But we’re going to first focus on these cranberry cupcakes with white chocolate frosting.

Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting | Cookie Monster Cooking

And boy are they good.  My husband called them “exotic” cupcakes … which I found slightly entertaining.  Although I’m pretty sure he thinks anything that is not vanilla bean is exotic.  Hmmm.

So, these cupcakes.  They are light and fluffy with little burst of tartness from the fresh cranberries.  And the frosting.  My my the frosting.  It tastes like straight up white chocolate.  In fluffy frosting goodness that compliments the cranberries and orange perfectly.  It is on the sweeter side so you really don’t need a whole lot on each cupcake.

Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting | Cookie Monster Cooking

Or you can just ignore that fact and do what I did and slather plenty on each while dancing around the kitchen singing Christmas songs at the top of your lungs.  No judgment.

Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting
Yield: about 22 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the frosting:
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ounces good quality white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature*
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
Garnish ideas:
  • sparkling or coarse sugar
  • white sugar pearls
  • sugared cranberries
  1. To make the cupcakes - preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the granulated sugar and orange zest. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter to the bowl. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until it is very light. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add in one third of the flour mixture. Next, add in half of the buttermilk mixture, beating until incorporated. Repeat this process, one third flour mixture, remaining half buttermilk mixture. Finally add in the remaining third of the flour mixture. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium low and beat for 2 minutes, to ensure it is well aerated.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Toss together the chopped cranberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. Gently fold the cranberries into the batter. Fill the prepared cupcake tins evenly with the batter (about ⅔ of the way full).
  4. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting - add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar, about ½ cup at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Once all the sugar is incorporated, pour in the cooled melted white chocolate. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add in the milk and beat on medium until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is not thick enough, slowly add in additional confectioners’ sugar until it reaches your desired consistency.
  6. Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.
*Make sure that you use good quality white chocolate, like Ghirardelli or Callebaut. Do not use white chocolate chips or candy melts, etc.

Cupcake base adapted from my favorite vanilla bean cupcakes, which were originally from Baking: From My Home to Yours. Frosting slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats.


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  1. says

    I love the combination of cranberries and white chocolate. The tartness of the cranberries always helps to offset the sweetness of the white chocolate. And I’m so glad you posted this recipe for white chocolate frosting. I’ve been meaning to make a white chocolate buttercream, but wanted to ensure that it really tasted like white chocolate (not just a generically sweet flavor). I can’t wait to try yours soon!

  2. Jo @ The Contented Baker says

    What great ‘cuppies’! Cranberry and white chocolate – delicious. Your husband’s comment made me chuckle. The white chocolate frosting, I very nice secret shared. Thank you :-)

  3. says

    Well isn’t this the embodiment of Christmas and winter in a cupcake! Ashley these are so pretty and man do I need cupcakes in my life right now. It’s been so hectic! I think I would be much better if I just lived on cupcakes up until Christmas. 😉

  4. says

    Haha, I’ve definitely had a few moments of dancing around the kitchen, singing Christmas carols already this year. Preferably I’m doing it with a baked good in hand as well, Ashley. 😉 These look fantastic and so festive!

  5. says

    This is such a creative cupcake flavour! Cranberry and white chocolate is an awesome combo, I normally don’t like white chocolate but when it’s combined with cranberry I’m in heaven! Could totally use one of these right now to help out my studying :) Happy kitchen carolling!

  6. says

    Haha – love your way of starting the week off – with sugar and butter! My weekend started off like that!
    These cupcakes sound divine and frosting that tastes like straight up white chocolate – good golly! So, I have a question – if I cut these cupcakes in half and put the frosting in between – do you think I could refer to them as muffins? and eat maybe 2…3…6? 😉

  7. says

    These are so cute and festive Ashley! Love cranberries! Like you, I can’t stay out of the kitchen and away from my baking tools around this time of the year either, especially my mixer! Hee hee… Love your baking cups. :) Pinned! Have a great week my friend!

  8. says

    my husband would have probably called these cupcakes ‘exotic’ before we got married. since then, he’s seen the full extent of my fresh cranberry obsession, and has come to love them himself too. these cupcakes sound amazing!

  9. says

    Ooooh these are the perfect Christmas cupcakes. I love the cranberry/orange combo and white chocolate too. They look so adorable, I don’t think I’d be able to eat them lol.
    Happy baking and have a great week, Ashley!! xo

  10. says

    Love the use of the fresh cranberries in these, I definitely need to get some christmas cupcakes made to munch on – I’m nearly tired of the mince pies already and there is still two weeks to go!

  11. says

    I think you need to officially change the title of these to “exotic” cupcakes. Love that, haha. Your husband is awesome. I’ve never used fresh cranberries in baking before, and I’m honestly not sure why. These sound so delicious!

  12. says

    Now these sound amazing! Believe it or not, I’ve never bought fresh cranberries before and I’ve never baked with them. I’ve always used the dried ones, but I’m sure the fresh are waaay better. That white chocolate icing sounds divine! Definitely a perfect holiday recipe!

    • Ashley says

      Yes, they are! I saw them and was instantly obsessed … I meant to buy just one and somehow ended up with four. Oops! haha Although we do use them daily so it’s okay : )

  13. says

    These cupcakes look so pretty Ashley! I love the fresh cranberries in here with the white chocolate frosting – it sounds incredible! Pinned. I would love one of these beauties with my morning cup of tea so that I can dance around and belt out Christmas songs too:)

  14. says

    I adore these! I recently made cupcakes using the cranberry sauce I had leftover from Christmas scooped in the middle like a curd. But your version of cranberry cupcakes is so much better! Especially the white chocolate frosting. So yummy!

  15. says

    I’ve been wanting to try a white chocolate frosting for some time. You are so smart to combine the sweetness of that with a cranberry cupcake that has a bit of tartness! This is really perfect for the holidays. I’m off to the store to buy more butter now! ; )

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