Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

These Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes are the ultimate dessert for Christmas or New Year’s Eve! Moist vanilla cupcakes are filled with cranberry mascarpone, topped with white chocolate buttercream and garnished with sparkling sugar cranberries.

This post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best, but all opinions are my own.

A sparkling cranberry white chocolate cupcake with a bite taken out to reveal the mascarpone filling

Candied Cranberry Cupcakes for New Year’s Eve

Inspired by sparkling cranberry juice, these beautiful cupcakes are a one-of-a-kind dessert that you’ll want to make for each and every holiday. The cupcakes are adapted from this Moist Vanilla Cake, which may be my most popular recipe ever. They’re filled with a creamy cranberry mascarpone filling, topped with velvety white chocolate buttercream, then finished off with some sparkling sugar cranberries and a bit of rosemary for decoration!

Just looking at these festive cupcakes will make your mouth water like never before. And once you bite into them and get a taste of that cranberry filling, it’s game over! I can never stop at just one. But I wouldn’t have it any other way – New Year’s Eve is the time to indulge before you diet! These cupcakes are the extra special dessert you deserve at the holidays or on the last day of the year.

A bunch of cranberry white chocolate cupcakes on a large round serving platter

What You’ll Need

There may be quite a few components to this dessert, but everything is super simple. Gather the following ingredients for the sparkling cranberries, the cupcakes, the filling and the frosting.

For the Sparkling Cranberries

  • Sugar: Half a cup will be used to make a simple syrup for coating the cranberries. You’ll need another cup to roll the coated cranberries into. I also like to sprinkle some additional sugar on top of the finished cupcakes.
  • Water
  • Fresh Cranberries

For the Vanilla Cupcakes

  • All-Purpose Flour: Not self-rising flour.
  • Baking Powder: Not baking soda.
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter: Brought to room temperature.
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil: Or canola oil.
  • Vanilla Extract: Use a high-quality extract for the best flavor.
  • Eggs: I love using Eggland’s Best eggs – they have six times more vitamin D, more than double the Omega 3s, and 38% more lutein when compared to ordinary eggs. Plus, they’re only 60 calories!
  • Milk: For extra moist and fluffy cupcakes.

For the Cranberry Mascarpone Filling

  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Mascarpone Cheese: Be sure to keep this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

For the White Chocolate Buttercream

  • White Chocolate Chips: Try to find chocolate that’s meant for melting like these Ghirardelli melting wafers or a baking bar.
  • Unsalted Butter: Room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Salt: A pinch of salt helps bring out the white chocolate flavor.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Rosemary: To garnish the cupcakes along with the sparkling cranberries.
A sparkling cranberry white chocolate cupcake on a wooden table with more cupcakes behind it

How to Make Sparkling Cranberry Cupcakes

The sparkling cranberries must be made a few hours ahead of time, as they have to sit in the simple syrup and then dry once they’re covered in sugar. Plan ahead to make sure they’re ready in time to serve the cupcakes.

Prepare the Cranberries

  1. Make Simple Syrup: Bring the water and half a cup of the sugar to a simmer in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Let Cool: Pour the simple syrup into a heat-proof bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Coat Cranberries: Add the cranberries to the bowl and stir until all of them are coated.
  4. Chill: Refrigerate the cranberries in the syrup overnight or for several hours, stirring a couple of times to re-coat them.
  5. Roll in Sugar: After they sit for at least a few hours, roll a few cranberries at a time in the remaining sugar to coat them.
  6. Let Dry: Let the sugar-coated cranberries dry for about an hour.

Make the Cupcakes

  1. Prep for Baking: Prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set the mixture aside.
  3. Cream Butter, Sugar & Oil: Add the butter, sugar and oil to a large mixer bowl and beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add Eggs & Vanilla: Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each addition. Add the vanilla extract with the second egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure everything is well incorporated.
  5. Start Adding Dry Ingredients: Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Add Milk: Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter might look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
  7. Finish Adding Dry Ingredients: Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until the batter is well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over-mix.
  8. Bake: Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let Cool: Remove your cupcakes from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the Filling

  1. Cook Cranberries, Sugar & Water: While the cupcakes cool, combine the water, sugar and cranberries in a medium-sized saucepan and cook the mixture over medium heat. Allow the cranberries to pop and release their juices. Let the filling continue to cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
  2. Puree: Transfer the cranberry mixture to a food processor and puree. Set the puree aside and allow it to cool to room temperature. (If you haven’t rolled your cranberries in the sugar yet, do so now. They need at least 30 minutes to dry before you top the cupcakes.)
  3. Add Mascarpone: Once the filling has cooled, add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it’s well incorporated. Set the filling aside while you prepare the frosting.

Make the Frosting

  1. Melt Chocolate: Place the white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and heat them in 10-20 second increments, stirring between each one, until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set the melted chocolate aside so it can cool a bit.
  2. Beat Butter: Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until it’s smooth.
  3. Slowly Add Melted Chocolate: Add the cooled white chocolate in 2-3 batches and mix until well combined.
  4. Add Half of Powdered Sugar & Some Heavy Cream: Add about half of the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, mixing until well combined.
  5. Finish Adding Powdered Sugar & Stir in Salt: Add the remaining powdered sugar and the salt, mixing until the frosting is nice and smooth.
  6. Adjust Consistency: Add the remaining heavy cream only as needed to get the right consistency of frosting.

Assemble & Serve

  1. Core Cupcakes: Use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove the centers of the cupcakes.
  2. Add Filling & Top with Frosting: Fill the centers of the cupcakes with the cranberry filling, then top the cupcakes with the white chocolate buttercream.
  3. Garnish & Serve: Finish off the cupcakes with 2-3 sparkling cranberries and a bit of rosemary. Sprinkle a small amount of the leftover sugar from the sparkling cranberries onto each cupcake, if desired. Refrigerate the cupcakes until you’re ready to enjoy them. They are best served cool, but not cold.
White chocolate cranberry cupcakes on a dining table with sprigs of fresh rosemary

Tips for Success

Be sure to check out the tips below before you start working on your cupcakes. They will help you get the best possible results!

  • Don’t Skimp on the Creaming Time: The butter, sugar and oil mixture should be beaten until it becomes light and fluffy. Once you notice it change in color and texture, it’s good to go.
  • Avoid Over-Mixing the Batter: Over-mixed batter makes for less fluffy cupcakes. Be sure to stop stirring it once everything is well combined.
  • Use a Double Boiler to Melt the Chocolate: While melting your chocolate in the microwave is totally okay, it’s easier to use a double boiler or a candy melting pot.
  • Add the Melted Chocolate in Batches: If you add all of your chocolate to the beaten butter at once, it will clump up. I recommend adding one third at a time and mixing well after each addition.

Serving Suggestions

These cupcakes will taste amazing alongside any of your go-to New Year’s Eve cocktails. My family likes to enjoy them with a glass of sparkling cranberry juice or sparkling apple cider. No matter what beverage you’re sipping on, the cupcakes are the real stars of the show!

A serving platter full of cranberry white chocolate cupcakes garnished with sparkling cranberries and rosemary

How to Store Homemade Cupcakes

These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. I suggest enjoying them within 3 days for the best results.

Can I Freeze These?

If you’d like, you can store these cupcakes in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend preparing the sparkling cranberries while they’re thawing.

Before you wrap each cupcake with plastic wrap and freeze them in an airtight container, flash-freeze them on a baking sheet for about an hour, or until the buttercream is hard. This keeps the frosting nice and pretty. Unwrap them and thaw them out in the fridge overnight before enjoying them.

Print
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A sparkling cranberry white chocolate cupcake with a bite taken out to reveal the mascarpone filling
Recipe

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes are the ultimate dessert for New Year’s Eve! Moist vanilla cupcakes are filled with cranberry mascarpone, topped with white chocolate buttercream and garnished with sparkling sugar cranberries.


Ingredients

For the Sparkling Cranberries

  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1 cup (115g) fresh cranberries

For the Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups (155g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large Eggland’s Best eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (30ml) milk

For the Cranberry Mascarpone Filling

  • 1 cup (115g) fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) water
  • ½ cup (104g) sugar
  • 6 oz mascarpone cheese, chilled*

For the White Chocolate Buttercream

  • 12 oz white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 34 tbsp (45-60ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Rosemary

Instructions

Prepare the Cranberries

  1. Bring 1/2 cup sugar and the water to a simmer in a saucepan. Heat 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 or for several hours, stirring a couple times to coat with syrup.
  5. After they sit for at least a few hours, roll a few at a time in the remaining sugar to coat them and then let them dry for about an hour.

Make the Cupcakes

  1. Prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, sugar and oil to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Add the vanilla extract with the second egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter might look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool.

Make the Filling

  1. While the cupcakes cool, combine the water, sugar and cranberries in a medium-sized saucepan and cook on medium heat. Allow the cranberries to pop and release their juices. Let the filling continue to cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
  2. Transfer cranberry mixture to a food processor and puree. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. (If you haven’t rolled your cranberries in the sugar yet, do so now. They need at least 30 minutes to dry before you top the cupcakes.)
  3. When the filling has cooled, add the mascarpone cheese and stir until well incorporated. Set aside.

Make the Frosting

  1. Place the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 10-20 second increments, stirring between each, until white chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.
  2. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
  3. Add the cooled white chocolate in 2-3 batches and mix until well combined.
  4. Add about half of the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix until well combined.
  5. Add remaining powdered sugar and salt and mix until smooth.
  6. Add remaining heavy cream as needed to get the right consistency of frosting.

Assemble & Serve

  1. Use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove the centers of the cupcakes.
  2. Fill the centers of the cupcakes with the cranberry filling, then top the cupcakes with the white chocolate buttercream.
  3. Finish off the cupcakes with 2-3 sparkling cranberries and a bit of rosemary. I also sprinkled a little bit of the leftover sugar from the sparkling cranberries.
  4. Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve. Cupcakes are best served cool, but not cold.

Notes

  • Makes 12-14 cupcakes
  • To Store: These cupcakes are best for 2-3 days, but they should last for 4-5.
  • To Freeze: If freezing, hold off on making the cranberries until the cupcakes are thawing. Flash-freeze the cupcakes on a baking sheet for about an hour, or until the buttercream is hard. Wrap each cupcake with plastic wrap and freeze them in an airtight container. Unwrap and thaw them out in the fridge before enjoying.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Cupcake
  • Calories: 750
  • Sugar: 89.6 g
  • Sodium: 255.9 mg
  • Fat: 37.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 100.8 g
  • Protein: 5.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 106.3 mg

Keywords: homemade cupcakes, new years eve dessert, filled cupcakes

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Recipe rating

44 Comments
  1. Dionna

    I made these cupcakes early December and my sister in law fell in love with them. She wants me to make her wedding cake these flavors, but fresh cranberries are out of season. Can I use frozen cranberries? If so, what adjustments should I make?

    1. Lindsay

      Frozen cranberries would be fine for the filling but not for the sparkling cranberries on top. For the filling, I would recommend either reducing the amount of water you add if you add the cranberries when frozen, or thaw the cranberries and remove the extra water before using them.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29