Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

White chocolate and cranberry  just scream “Christmas” to me.

And around the week before Halloween, I start thinking about Christmas.

I know, you probably think that’s ridiculous, but I just love everything about Christmas and the months leading up to it.

The snow (I’ll take the snow and leave the cold!), the long evenings, the lights, and how much more enjoyable cooking and baking is when it’s absolutely frigid outside. The way people gather to enjoy all of these things. Shopping and picking out gifts for loved ones. Seeing how my toddler’s face lights up over a tube of Lipsmackers or a new pair of socks.

But now that it’s actually December, it’s finally acceptable for me to share with you all of the Christmas treats I’ve been dreaming up (and devouring!) lately.

Perfectly sweet and fluffy vanilla cupcakes filled with sweet, tart cranberry filling and topped with a silky white chocolate buttercream -- perfect for the holidays!

These cupcakes are totally indulgent.

They are perfect for making and sharing, as the recipe produces quite a few. And since they’re individually portioned, you can feel better about indulging right? Even if you happen to have 2.. or 3… individual portions.

No one’s judging here.


Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting
Prep time
45 mins
Cook time
25 mins
Total time
1 hour 10 mins
Perfectly sweet and fluffy vanilla cupcakes filled with sweet, tart cranberry filling and topped with a silky white chocolate buttercream — perfect for the holidays!
Serves: 2 dozen
  • 1½ cup (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (1%, whole milk, buttermilk — I use 1%)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
Cranberry Filling
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups cranberries (I used frozen, but fresh would also work)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp water
  • ¾ cup chopped white chocolate or chips
  • ⅓ cup milk (or cream)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line about 30 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and beat just until smooth.
  4. Fill muffin cups about ⅔-3/4 full. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  1. In a medium pot, combine sugar, water, cranberries and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and cook 3-5 minutes, until cranberries start to soften and burst.
  2. Combine corn starch and water in a small bowl and slowly add to the cranberries, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Frosting (make just before using — this frosting firms up nicely so it’s difficult to pipe after it’s been refrigerated)
  1. Combine white chocolate and milk in a medium bowl or measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until smooth, putting back in the microwave for 15-30 seconds if necessary. Set aside to cool briefly.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add chocolate, icing sugar and vanilla and beat on low for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is incorporated. Beat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Set aside.
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut a small hole into the top of each cupcake, making sure not to cut through the bottom or any of the sides. Set cake pieces aside for another use (they’re great for trifle, or just for munching!)
  2. Spoon about 1 tsp of filling into the top of each cupcake.
  3. Spread or pipe frosting on top of cupcake, completely covering the filling. If desired, garnish with additional cranberries and colored sprinkles or sugar.
  4. Refrigerate if not serving for quite a while. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before serving to allow the frosting to soften slightly, as it firms up quite a bit in the fridge.
*These can be made in stages. I made my cupcakes and filling one day, and I put my filled cupcakes into a container and in the freezer for about 3 days until I had time to frost them. I made the frosting the day I photographed and served them. You could definitely freeze them completely frosted, as long as they come close to room temperature before serving as the chocolate in the frosting sets up quite firmly when cooled.

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