Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting


This recipe creates a light, tender cranberry cupcake--with just a hint of orange--that is then topped with a creamy, buttery white chocolate frosting. It's flavor heaven. You will have leftover frosting, as this recipe makes enough to generously frost 16 cupcakes, at least. Feel free to halve the frosting recipe, if needed.

Prep Time:
35 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
12 cupcakes


Cranberry Cupcakes:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • cup buttermilk, at room temperature

  • cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries

White Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 6 ounces white chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli(R) Premium Baking Chips), melted and cooled slightly

  • ¼ cup heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with liners.

  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Beat egg whites in a glass, metal, or ceramic bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

  4. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in orange zest and vanilla extract. Add in 1/2 the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add buttermilk and heavy cream, mixing until just combined. Mix in remaining flour mixture until just combined. Batter will be thick.

  5. Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the batter until incorporated. Fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks of egg white remain. Fold in chopped cranberries. Spoon batter evenly into each prepared cupcake liner, filling each liner about 7/8 full.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until cupcakes spring back lightly when touched, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely, about 25 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until completely smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add powdered sugar and salt, and beat until smooth and well combined, another 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in melted white chocolate and beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in heavy cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat until frosting is smooth, light, and fluffy, 2 to 3 more minutes.

  8. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the frosting.

Cook's Notes:

I find it easiest to chop the fresh cranberries in a food processor to get relatively even pieces.

You can change the amount of orange zest in the cupcakes to suit your tastes.

You can also substitute 2/3 cup buttermilk or 2/3 cup heavy cream in place of the 1/3 cup buttermilk and 1/3 cup heavy cream in the cupcake recipe. Using all buttermilk creates a delicious tang that compliments the cupcakes well--while using all heavy cream allows for the cranberry-orange flavor to come through a bit more.

For the frosting, make sure your white chocolate is not too cool when you add it to the butter mixture. Otherwise, it will create lumps in the frosting. The white chocolate should be cool enough to not melt the butter, but slightly warm in order to incorporate smoothly.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of frosting. The actual amount of frosting consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

507 Calories
34g Fat
48g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 507
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 21g 106%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 297mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 18%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 37g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 125mg 10%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 70mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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