Cranberries and white chocolate are one of my favorite holiday flavor combos! These cranberry cupcakes are filled with tangy cranberry sauce and topped with fluffy white chocolate buttercream and then garnished with sugared cranberries and rosemary for festive, Christmas cupcakes!
Why You'll Love These Cranberry Cupcakes!
These cranberry filled cupcakes are a simple, but elegant Christmas dessert! They're perfect for serving at any wintery holiday party
- Moist vanilla cupcake base - The vanilla cupcakes are made with yogurt to keep them super moist and delicious!
- Filled with homemade cranberry sauce - These cupcakes are the perfect way to use up leftover cranberry sauce from the holidays!
- Rosemary infused sugar - Massaging fresh rosemary into the sugar helps release the oils and adds extra herbaceous flavor to the cupcakes!
- Fluffy white chocolate buttercream - The buttercream frosting is made with melted white chocolate for a light, creamy flavor that balances out the tangy cranberries!
- Super easy to decorate - All you need to make these cupcakes beautiful are some sugared cranberries and sugared rosemary!
You might also like this sugared cranberry bundt cake or these cranberry white chocolate macarons!
You just need a few ingredients to make these cranberry white chocolate cupcakes!
Cake Flour - I always use cake flour in my cupcakes because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
Plain Full-fat Yogurt - I love adding yogurt to baked goods because it keeps them super light and moist! You can also substitute sour cream or whole milk instead.
Rosemary - Fresh rosemary infused sugar adds just the right amount of light, floral flavor to the cupcakes!
White Chocolate - You can use either a chopped white chocolate baking bar or white chocolate chips to melt for the buttercream.
Leftover Cranberry Sauce - I like to use my leftover homemade cranberry sauce to fill the cupcakes but you can make a small batch using fresh or frozen cranberries!
Sugared Cranberries & Rosemary - This is optional, but I love garnishing the cupcakes with homemade sugared cranberries and sugared rosemary! They're super easy to make and look just beautiful! All you need is cranberries, rosemary, water, and sugar! Check out this post for all my tips for making candied cranberries!
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
I've included my recipe for homemade cranberry sauce in the recipe card below. But this is a great recipe for using up leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving or Christmas!
You just need a little more than ½ cup of your favorite cranberry sauce!
To make the filling, combine all the ingredients in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Gently cook for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened.
Let the cranberry sauce cool completely before filling the cupcakes!
How to Make Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Finely chop the fresh rosemary and add to the granulated sugar. Then use your fingers to gently massage the rosemary into the sugar. [This is optional, but helps infuse the oils into the sugar.]
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the softened butter and rosemary sugar until smooth and creamy.
Then mix in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
Stir in about half of the flour mixture. Then mix in the yogurt and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thick.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full). Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Let the rosemary vanilla cupcakes cool completely before filling and frosting.
Use a cupcake corer to remove the center of each cupcake, then fill with 1-2 teaspoons of cranberry sauce.
Frost the filled cranberry cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream and then garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary!
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Cupcake Decorating Tips
Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!!
Use a cupcake corer to easily remove the center of your cupcakes before filling with cranberry sauce. [You could also fill with leftover cranberry curd instead!]
For these big beautiful white chocolate frosting swirls on these cranberry cupcakes, I use the 9FT tip from this decorating kit. The tips are much larger than standard sizes and so fun for decorating cupcakes!
Garnish the cupcakes with homemade sugared cranberries and sugared rosemary!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days! I recommend storing without the sugared cranberries/rosemary and adding just before serving.
Yes! These cupcakes are perfect for using up cranberry sauce that you might have leftover from the winter holidays!
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, use ½ cup for sweeter
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups cake flour, substitute all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup plain full-fat yogurt, substitute sour cream or whole milk
White Chocolate Buttercream
- 4 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, as needed
- If you don't have leftover cranberry sauce, use this recipe! But otherwise just use what you have!
- Add all of the filling ingredients to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries begin to split open. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to use. Make sure the cranberry sauce is fully cooled before assembling the cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Finely chop the fresh rosemary and add to the granulated sugar. Then use your fingers to gently massage the rosemary into the sugar. [This is optional, but helps infuse the oils into the sugar.]
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the softened butter and rosemary sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Then mix in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture. Then mix in the yogurt and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thick.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full). Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Let the rosemary vanilla cupcakes cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Use a cupcake corer to remove the center of each cupcake, then fill with 1-2 teaspoons of cranberry sauce.
White Chocolate Buttercream
- Melt the white chocolate and let cool almost to room temperature. It should be melted but cool to the touch. I prefer to melt the chocolate in the microwave in intervals of 20 seconds, stirring each time.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and powdered sugar together until smooth.
- Set the mixer to low speed and slowly drizzle in the melted white chocolate until it's fully incorporated into the buttercream. Then beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until the buttercream is super light and fluffy.
- If the frosting in too thick, add in 1-2 teaspoons of cream at a time to thin it out a bit.
- Frost the filled cranberry cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream and then garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Becky Brown says
These cupcakes are wonderful! All my guests raved about them. They noticed the subtle rosemary in the cake and said the icing was light and not too sweet. I've already made a second batch.