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. Love baking with cranberries! The frosting sounds so indulgent and delicious!

  2. 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!

  3. Yes, butter and sugar is the perfect way to start the week! Or any day, really…. What gorgeous holiday cupcakes–can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve!

  4. Beautiful cupcakes and love how festive and holiday related you made them look. Your frosting looks so pro and perfect!

  5. 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 :-)

  6. I just bought some fresh cranberries, and now I know what to make with them! The white chocolate frosting sounds heavenly.

  7. 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. ;)

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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? ;)

  11. These are so pretty! I don’t think I have ever had a cranberry cupcake!

  12. Mmmmm…I’m super into white chocolate right now, I think maybe it’s a winter thing?? Whatever it is, I’ll take a dozen of these. :)

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. This looks like the perfect holiday cupcake. I’m infatuated with cranberries right now. Love the white chocolate frosting!

  16. I swear, you make the most beautiful cupcakes! The addition of fresh cranberries sounds incredible then topped with white chocolate icing? Wow. I would say they’re kind of exotic too! It’s not every day you see a cupcake like that!

  17. 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

  18. 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!

  19. Haha I love that your husband called these exotic. They definitely are a different and exciting cupcake recipe though, so I can see why he called them exotic. :) I love cranberries, white chocolate, and cupcakes. Pinned :)

  20. How do you make them look so good?! Fantastic cupcakes! :) ela

  21. 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!

  22. Now this is what I am talking about!! Love a delicious and “exotic” cupcake. I’m pretty sure I would just spoon the frosting into my mouth :) I hope that you had a great holiday party!

  23. 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!

  24. These are sooo perfect for winter, I love it! White chocolate frosting sounds absolutely incredible, and considering how much I love cranberries, I’m sure I’d love these. Pinned!

  25. These cupcakes look so good! The combination of white chocolate and cranberry sounds perfect. I could probably eat that frosting with a spoon! :)

  26. These sound SO good Ashley! Cranberry and white chocolate is a hard combination to beat and I looove the idea of a white chocolate frosting. That’s so cute that your husband calls the cupcakes “exotic”!
    P.S. Are the mugs from Pier One? They’re super cute!

    • 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 : )

  27. I’m glad you started the week off this way — I’ve been on the butter & sugar train all weekend and I’m glad I’m not alone.

  28. I don’t bake with fresh cranberries enough. . .these cupcakes sound amazing!

  29. Cranberry and white chocolate, what could be better!! I want a few of these for breakfast!

  30. 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:)

  31. These cupcakes are so X’mas-y and beautiful! I love white chocolate frosting.

  32. 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!

  33. 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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