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Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Prep Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 24 cupcakes

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

silver tray with vanilla cupcakes topped with white chocolate frosting and a cranberry

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.

vanilla cupcake cut in half to reveal cranberry filling topped with white chocolate frosting

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.

white cupcakes with white chocolate frosting red sprinkles and a cranberry
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Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

5 from 2 votes
Perfectly sweet and fluffy vanilla cupcakes filled with sweet, tart cranberry filling and topped with a silky white chocolate buttercream — perfect for the holidays!
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 420cal



  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened 3 sticks
  • 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
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cranberry Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups cranberries I used frozen, but fresh would also work
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp water


  • 3/4 cup chopped white chocolate or chips
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Cupcakes:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line about 30 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • 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.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and salt and beat just until smooth.
  • Fill muffin cups about ⅔-3/4 full. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • FillingIn 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.
  • Combine corn starch and water in a small bowl and slowly add to the cranberries, stirring constantly.
  • 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)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.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and fluffy.
  • 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.
  • AssemblyUsing 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!)
  • Spoon about 1 tsp of filling into the top of each cupcake.
  • Spread or pipe frosting on top of cupcake, completely covering the filling. If desired, garnish with additional cranberries and colored sprinkles or sugar.
  • 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.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 420cal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 184mg | Potassium: 113mg | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 545IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

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Cake recipe adapted from Add a Pinch.

Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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  1. kathy trusevitch says

    This is the second time I’ve made these and just love them, this year I switched the icing to a cream cheese icing, I have to say I’m not sure which I prefer but totally love this recipe. Just one last comment I don’t understand the other negative comments.

  2. Shari says

    Like one of the other commenters, I had a problem with the icing for this recipe. I probably used 1.5-2 kg of icing sugar before it got to a piping consistency, and by then it was so grainy and sweet it was unuseable.

    The cupcakes themselves were nice – not the best vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever had – but quite tasty, and the filling was spot on.

    With a different recipe for the icing, and one less egg in the cupcakes, I’d give these a 10/10. As written, for me it’s a 6.

  3. Valentina | The Baking Fairy says

    These are stunning! I am loving the cranberry white chocolate combo. Also, it must be a food blogger thing, because I also start thinking about Christmas in October (and fall recipes in like… August). I’ve just accepted it as part of the job! 😉

  4. Caitlin says

    Aprox how much does the frosting yield,? I am wanting to use this recipe but as a filling instead of icing and I’m not sure if I am needing to cut the recipe in half or leave as is..?

  5. Ashie D says

    I baked these last night in half of the quantity (one dozen) and replaced the eggs with 3 tsp. of soy yogurt (I was baking vegan) and they were baking very nicely but then they sunk like tart shells in the last two minutes. I took them out and let them cool as they were golden on the tops and although very moist, they still somewhat turned out. The egg replacement I use for vegan baking doesn’t usually fail me however for the purposes of this recipe, the sunken cupcakes worked in my favour! I also replaced the cranberries with frozen blueberries. Otherwise, they turned out very nicely for me!

    Thank you!

  6. Lauren says

    I am making these for my Christmas Eve gathering and for some reason, they didn’t set! Can you think of any reason why your cupcakes wouldn’t set? They overflowed everywhere, and didn’t puff up at all, and they didn’t set in the middle. I had to throw the whole batch away! All the dates on my ingredients are fine, and I’ve NEVER had this happen (and I’ve made LOTS of cupcakes in my day). I’m not mad or insulting your recipe, and I’m still going to use your filling and icing, but I’m definitely making my own yellow cake recipe, my go-to fail safe one. But can you think why this would happen? So disappointed 🙁

    • Ashley says

      I’m so sorry to hear that! I have no idea why that would happen. I’ve used the same recipe a few different times in cake and cupcake form and haven’t had any issues. I hope you enjoy the rest of the recipe!

  7. Mary beth says

    These look so yummy! I love cranberry but the rest of the clan , not so much. Could you use raspberry jam/preserves in a pinch? Can’t wait to make them!

  8. Anne says

    The frosting ingredient proportions seemed way off. I had to fiddle around with it for a while to get it to come together. In the end they turned out lovely!

    • Ashley says

      This is my go-to white chocolate frosting recipe, and these are the proportions I use. It’s definitely easy to customize to your tastes though!

  9. Kelly - Life Made Sweeter says

    I always look forward to Christmas every year. I wish it didn’t go by so quickly though and we could have more time to just enjoy all the wonderful treats that come along with it. Like these gorgeous cupcakes! I love that you stuffed them with the cranberry filling. It sounds perfect with the white chocolate frosting!

  10. Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. says

    These cupcakes are so beautiful Ashley! I love that cranberry filling, it so bright next to the white cupcakes and frosting. So pretty! I still need to start my Christmas baking, which is bizarre, since I’m usually right with you on wanting to start around Halloween! Need to get on that!

    • Ashley says

      I always like the idea of doing a bunch of Christmas baking, but I don’t think I ever really have until this year because of the blog! Lol. I wanted to have at least some things to share, and enjoy some Christmas cheer before new baby comes mid December!

  11. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says

    I’m totally with you, Ashley…I think about Christmas way too early, too! And these cupcakes definitely scream Christmas! They’re absolutely gorgeous! I’m in awe of your frosting piping skills. Mine usually turns out like big fat blobs! 🙂 And I love the cranberry filling in the middle, sounds delicious! Pinned!

  12. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says

    I also love Christmas and this time of the year. . hey, I feel like I saw Costco and Target put out the holiday decorations before Halloween in October so you’re not alone!! people start thinking about the holidays in October! 🙂 love love love these cupcakes!! White chocolate and cranberry are perfect together!

  13. Baby June says

    Ah now that looks like a delicious cupcake flavor! Love the use of cranberries, it’s a shame we don’t enjoy that fruit more often during the year…it works so well in desserts!

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