Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake

This Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake recipe is no doubt a new favorite – especially for Christmas! The cake is incredibly moist and flavorful and the cranberries add the prefect burst of fruity flavor.

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake slice on a plate

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake - super moist vanilla cake full of fresh cranberries, iced with white chocolate icing and topped with sparking cranberries!

This weekend was crazy busy, but so fun! We finally started turning our “formal living room” into my office. We’d already cleared the room, so this weekend we steam cleaned the carpets and got the main pieces of furniture. I still want to get a few other things and some decorative pieces, but the big stuff is there and I’m ready to get organized!

We got the furniture at IKEA and I love it! It took us forever to get through the store though. I got three pieces of furniture – a desk, shelves for all my props, and a table to use for taking photos on. It took awhile to pick everything out since IKEA has all these things in different rooms. I was taking a lot of pictures and trying to picture them all in a room together.

The hubs didn’t really realize IKEA was so big and had so much stuff, so he was pretty excited to realize they had so many decorative things and stuff beyond just furniture. I think we’ll be making another trip soon.

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake with a few slices removed
Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake slice on a plate

If you’ve been before, you know you collect the boxes at the end of the trek through the store. One of our items – the table – was back where only IKEA employees could get to it so after we checked out, we had to wait at the pick up area for it. It took longer than we expected though, so the hubs started wondering around near the food. Next thing I knew, he came back with ICEEs and cinnamon rolls. ICEEs are one of his all-time faves.

“The cinnamon rolls had just come out of the oven and were only $1,” he said.

Oh, how well he knows me. Besides, it’d been so long it was dinner time and we were hungry. Those cinnamon rolls didn’t last 30 seconds. And they were good too. So fluffy!

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake slice on a plate
Overhead view of Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake slice on a plate

Kind of like this cake. 🙂

HOW TO MAKE THIS WHITE CHOCOLATE CAKE

The cake itself is a little modification of my vanilla cupcakes, doubled. Dang is it good. It is so moist and the flavor is to die for. I love that it’s one bowl and everything just gets mixed together. One note about the mixing – you don’t want to over mix the batter. Once everything is combined, you only want to mix until it’s smooth. No longer.

The cranberries get stirred in after the mixing. This was my first time ever baking, or even tasting, fresh cranberries. I didn’t realize they were so tart! But baked into the lightly dense cake, they are sweeter and delicious! I love the pop of fruit in the cake.

The icing is full of white chocolate. It’s made basically by making white chocolate ganache, then adding butter and powdered sugar. Delicious.

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake slice on a plate
Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake - super moist vanilla cake full of fresh cranberries, iced with white chocolate icing and topped with sparking cranberries!

DECORATING YOUR WHITE CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH SPARKLING CRANBERRIES:

And I was totally in love with the sparkling cranberries. They are just so festive! Because of them though, the cake takes a little planning. The cranberries sit in a simple syrup overnight so they get nice and sticky. Then they’re covered in sugar. I waited until the cake was all made and iced before moving onto the cranberries and that was silly of me. It was whole other day before I could finish off the cake with the cranberries and dig in.

It was worth the wait though.

I used some of the remaining sugar that had clumped together on top of the cake. It felt so snowy and wintery.

Growing up, my younger brother and I always wished for a white Christmas. I don’t think we’ve ever had one, but this cake would definitely make up for it. 🙂

This Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake was a hit with everyone! I’m so glad too, because I needed help eating it. I knew if I didn’t get it out of the house soon enough, I’d devour the whole thing. Yummy!

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake slice on a plate
Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake slice on a plate

You might also like these recipes:

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes
White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge
Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Bundt Cake
White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Eggnog Pancakes with Maple Cranberry Syrup

Print
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Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Bundt Cake slice on white plate
Recipe

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Servings
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake recipe is a new Christmas fav! The cake is incredibly moist & flavorful with colorful sparkling cranberries.


Ingredients

SPARKLING CRANBERRIES 

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (240ml) water

CRANBERRY CAKE

  • 3 1/3 cups (433g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (336g) salted butter (340g), room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) sour cream
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries

WHITE CHOCOLATE ICING 

  • 12 oz white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup (168g) butter, room temperature
  • 89 cups (920-1035g) powdered sugar

Instructions

SPARKLING CRANBERRIES:

1. Bring 1 cup sugar and water to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Pour simple syrup into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
3. Add cranberries and stir to coat.
4. Refrigerate cranberries in syrup overnight, stirred a couple times to coat with syrup.
5. Remove cranberries from syrup and roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. You’ll need to roll them a few times to get a couple layers of sugar on them.
6. Set cranberries aside to dry for a hour or so.

CRANBERRY CAKE:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with baking spray and parchment paper in the bottom of the pans.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add butter, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream and milk and mix on medium speed just until smooth. Do not over mix.
4. Gently stir in cranberries.
5. Spread batter evenly between the three cake pan.
6. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
7. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.

WHITE CHOCOLATE ICING: 

1. Place white chocolate chips in a metal bowl.
2. Microwave heavy cream until it starts to boil. Remove from microwave and pour over chocolate chips.
3. Cover bowl with saran wrap for 5-7 minutes.
4. Whisk chocolate and cream until smooth.
5. Allow ganache to sit until mostly cool. It should be thick.
6. Beat the ganache with a mixer for about 2-3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy.
7. Add butter and beat until it is fully combined.
8. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until it is fluffy and the right consistency. Add more cream if needed.

TO PUT THE CAKE TOGETHER:

1. Remove cake domes from cakes with a large serrated knife.
2. Place first layer of cake on cake plate. Spread about icing on top in an even layer.
3. Add second layer of cake and add more icing on top in an even layer.
4. Add final layer of cake on top and ice the outside of the cake.
5. Top the cake with sparkling cranberries and add some around the edge, if desired.

Notes

I think most cakes are best if they are allowed to settle for at least 12-24 hours after icing. It allows to flavors to settle. This cake will stay moist for several days after being iced.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 1066
  • Sugar: 130.3 g
  • Sodium: 221.2 mg
  • Fat: 45.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 159.5 g
  • Protein: 8.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 143.9 mg

Keywords: white chocolate cake, white chocolate dessert, sparkling cranberry dessert, christmas cake, christmas dessert, holiday dessert

Enjoy!

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake - super moist vanilla cake full of fresh cranberries, iced with white chocolate icing and topped with sparking cranberries!

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Recipe rating

299 Comments
      1. Dottie Bodine

        This cake is a favorite! I’ve looked for the tutorial on smoothing the icing and it’s not there. Can you share your secret? 

  1. Karen

    I meant to make the cake for a Christmas party, but hadn’t read the part about soaking the cranberries overnight, so I didn’t have time. Ended up making it for another event. The cake itself was incredible and WILL be made again. I used two 8″ pans instead of 3, but will probably dig out a third one next time. I won’t do the white chocolate or the sparkling cranberries again, though. I’m a cranberry fanatic, and live on cranberry baked oatmeal all winter, but the sparkling cranberries were inedible and the white chocolate, nice as it sounded, didn’t lend anything useful to the cake. I have a tried & true buttercream recipe I’ll use, or maybe even a cream cheese frosting.

  2. Eva

    Hi…made this for New Years. The sugared cranberries are awesome, the frosting is great, and overall it was a hit, but my cake was very dense and not at all cakey. I’m guessing I overbeat the batter, but the way the recipe goes even if the butter is soft at the start all the other cold ingredients harden it and it is lumpy so you beat more. Next time I would do the classic butter and sugar first, eggs, then dry ingredients. Hope this helps someone because the overall recipe is great!! Thank you and happy new year!

  3. Robert Seery

    I made this cake for my brother and his wife and kids a couple of days ago when they were visiting. They liked it. Thank you for creating this. It was beautiful. 🙂

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      This batter can be kind of lumpy. You can melt the butter before adding it to the batter, if you prefer. Adding dry ingredients to wet ones (and alternating them) is a common method, I just used a different one for this cake. 🙂

      1. Ashley

        This clarification is super helpful! I just put my cakes in the oven and was feeling very insecure about the “lumpy” element. Decided to err on the side of “do not overmix” rather than get all those butter lumps out. 

    2. Win

      Dear K- No one ever adds butter to the flour along with the wet ingredients. To beat it enough to get the butter to soften up, the flour would develop so much gluten it would be tough. Butter and sugar should be creamed, then wet ingredients added, then dry. Or butter can be melted and beaten with wet ingredients and sugar, then flour added. Yes, sugar is dry, but you add it in with wet ingredients to reduce mixing time for flour, again, to reduce gluten formation. If you notice, almost all these comments are about how beautiful it LOOKS and how they want to make it, not feedback from people who actually baked it. Sad.

      1. Lindsay

        Win – you correct as far as mixing goes. As for appearance and taste from those making it, plenty of people have commented on taste who have made it. And what you can’t see in the comment section on the blog is the hundreds of times I’ve been tagged in photos of this cake on Instagram from those who have made it and people definitely love the taste, as well as the appearance. I hope you get a chance to try it. Thanks!

  4. Susan

    I made this beautiful cake last night, just prepared the cranberries and waiting for them to dry to decorate! I noticed two things about the recipe that I wanted to point out. First thing is in the recipe for the cake it calls for 2 tbsp of vanilla extract, I think that might be a typo. I used 2 tsp and the cake tasted perfect( the domes ;)) . Last thing is when it came to making the frosting in the ingredients there is no mention of vanilla but in the description you say to mix the powder sugar and vanilla in. I ended up leaving it out, would you recommend putting it in? I love the way this cake looks, although I was not great at frosting it! Do you recommend any special method to frost the cake so it will come out as smooth as yours?

    1. Abby

      HI, I am going to make this dessert for my in-laws house for Christmas. Have you ever put white chocolate chips in the batter?

      1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

        I haven’t, but I’m sure it’d bake fine. You just might have a little crunch in your cake. 🙂

  5. Sydney Bristow

    Gorgeous cake! I’m making it for our dessert on Christmas Day. I noticed that the instructions for the frosting say to add in the vanilla extract but I don’t see the amount listed in the ingredients list. How much vanilla should go in the frosting? Thanks!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      The vanilla is actually not needed in the this recipe, sorry about that. I’ve removed it from the instructions. I hope you enjoy the cake! Merry Christmas!

  6. Kristin

    I just made this cake for our family Christmas eve dinner. Please note in your recipe that you use salted butter. Most bakers like myself use unsalted butter. This cake needs salt! Also, the recipe for the white chocolate buttercream doesn’t list vanilla extract, but in the instructions, it says to add vanilla with the powdered sugar, how much? My cake turned out beautifully but lacks flavor without the salt.

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      I’m so sorry that the butter ingredients weren’t clear – I’ve added that it should be salted. There actually isn’t any vanilla in the icing, so I’ve removed that from the instructions. Thanks for pointing it out. Merry Christmas!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12