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Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcake with bite taken out

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hr 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes are made with a moist vanilla cupcake with cranberry mascarpone filling and a white chocolate buttercream! Topped with sparkling sugar cranberries and a sprig of rosemary, they are the perfect holiday cupcake!



Sparkling Cranberries

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

Cranberry Filling

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

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

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


1. To make the cranberries, 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. To make the cupcakes, prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
6. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
10. Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter might look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool.
14. While the cupcakes cool, make the cranberry filling. Combine the water, sugar and cranberries in a medium 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.
14. Transfer cranberry mixture to a food processor and puree. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
15. While everything is cooling, finish the sparkling cranberries. Remove the cranberries from the syrup a few at a time and roll in the remaining cup of sugar. You’ll need to roll them a few times and sprinkle the sugar over them to get a full coat of sugar on them.
16. Set cranberries aside to dry for about 30 minutes to an hour.
17. When the filling has cooled, add the mascarpone cheese and stir until well incorporated. Set aside.
18. When the cupcakes are cool, the filling is ready and cranberries are dry, make the frosting. 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.
19. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
20. Add the cooled white chocolate in 2-3 batches and mix until well combined.
21. Add about half of the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix until well combined.
22. Add remaining powdered sugar and salt and mix until smooth.
23. Add remaining heavy cream as needed to get the right consistency of frosting.
24. To put the cupcakes together, use a cupcake corer or knife to remove the centers of the cupcakes.
25. Fill the centers of the cupcakes with the cranberry filling, then top the cupcakes with the white chocolate buttercream.
26. 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.
27. Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve. Cupcakes are best served cool, but not cold. Cupcakes are best for 2-3 days, but would be ok for 4-5.


NOTE: I add the mascarpone cheese while it’s still relatively fairly cool. I find that if it gets too warm and soft, it doesn’t thicken back up well.

Keywords: Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes, Christmas cupcakes, Christmas dessert, vanilla cupcakes, white chocolate buttercream recipe, easy Christmas cupcake recipe, new years eve party food, new years eve dessert