Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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If you love cupcakes and you love Thanksgiving then you’re sure to be excited about these cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream.

cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream

My favorite holiday has to be Thanksgiving.  My family always ends up making several different types of cranberry sauce or relish; It’s hard to pick just one so everyone has to have “their” favorite cranberry dish.

Between the several types of cranberry dishes and the number of people who may show up (not to mention leftovers get passed out after the meal), there is always leftover cranberry sauce.  It’s good on turkey sandwiches, but even after sandwiches, there is still some leftover.  What to do?

Cupcakes, of course! More specifically, cranberry orange cupcakes filled with cranberry sauce and topped with white chocolate buttercream.  I realize when you think cranberry sauce cupcakes are not the first thing your mind jumps to, but trust me, it works.


cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream


Our Inspiration for Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

Have you ever had the cookies with white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and nuts?  Yeah, you know the ones I’m talking about, so good! It’s such a good combo., cranberry and white chocolate go so well together.  I also like the combination of cranberry and orange.  So…when thinking about the leftovers from Thanksgiving, how to use them up, and daydreaming about the pumpkin cupcakes we made back around Halloween, cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream frosting seemed like the only way to go!

Making Orange Cupcakes

Sometimes it’s best to not overthink things. All we did to add orange flavor to these cupcakes was add a little orange juice and a little orange zest. So simple, right?!!! These are almost certainly 2 ingredients you have in your house right now. And cranberry and orange together? Meant to be!

cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream

Small Batch Cupcakes

This recipe only makes about 7-8 cupcakes. Not a bad thing for a few reasons:

  • Cranberry sauce leftovers are likely enough to get the job done
  • Desserts are best enjoyed in moderation
  • It’s a long holiday season filled with goodies.  A huge batch of cranberry orange cupcakes laying around is not a good idea! Trust me, once you try these it’s hard to stop devouring them.

Of course, if you decide to modify this recipe for a larger batch we won’t stop you. 😉

Making White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

When making the white chocolate buttercream frosting, I used the microwave to melt the white chocolate. The first batch I clearly zapped too long because it turned into a large flaky clump. (palm to forehead). But you learn through trial and error, right?  Really, you just need it to change from white chocolate chips to something that is spreadable and no longer chip shaped. So the second time I melted for a minute on 70% power, mixed with a fork, then an additional 15-20 seconds.  Then cooled slightly and mixed in with the butter. Mix in your vanilla, then your sugar and mix until smooth.

cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream

A Few Final Tips

  • If you are not a fan of the orange/cranberry combo, I also recommend just subbing in milk for the orange juice with a teaspoon or vanilla.  We tried this version as well and loved it just as much.
  • If you are looking for a pretty garnish, I made sugared cranberries after seeing them on Vanilla and Bean’s blog.  Check it out, her photos are gorgeous and her food looks amazing!  I made enough to garnish a drink.  Stay tuned for that in the future.

cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream


So….are these Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream calling your name yet? If so please give them a try and let us know in the comments below what you think.

On to the recipe:

cranberry orange cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream

White Chocolate Buttercream Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

Cranberry cupcakes made with leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving with white chocolate buttercream.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 cupcakes
Calories: 586kcal
Author: mywifecancook


For the cranberry relish

  • 2 cup cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest

For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice

For the buttercream

  • 1/2 cup butter , softened
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips , melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


For the cranberry sauce

  • Bring water and sugar to a boil.
  • Add cranberries and return to a boil.
  • Simmer and stir occassionally for about 10 minutes.
  • Cool.

For the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cream the butter and sugar.
  • Mix in eggs.
  • Mix in flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • Mix in orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice.
  • Fill lined muffin tins approximately 2/3 full (should make 7-8) and cook for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Cool before frosting.

For the buttercream

  • Beat butter until fluffy.
  • Add cooled chocolate and mix.
  • Add vanilla and mix.
  • Add sugar and mix until smooth.

To finish cupcakes

  • Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out a small part of the center of the cupcake (save the bites for another purpose or to fend of swarming children).
  • Fill with 1/2 T. of cranberry sauce.
  • Pipe top with buttercream.


Calories: 586kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 180mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 59g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 5.2mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 1.1mg

best fall cupcake recipes

Cupcake recipes, clockwise from top left:

  1. Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (Rosemary – An Italian in My Kitchen)
  2. Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream (Melissa – My Wife Can Cook)
  3. Apple Spice Cupcakes (Arlene – Flour on My Face)
  4. Spicy Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting (Gloria – Homemade and Yummy)
  5. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Frosting (Sarah – The Fit Cookie)
  6. Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Caramel (Veena – Veena Azmanov)
  7. Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes (Michelle – The Gracious Wife)

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  • Reply
    November 11, 2016 at 1:55 am

    5 stars
    I love the idea of these, they look amazing. A wonderful combination.

  • Reply
    Sarah Jane @ The Fit Cookie
    November 11, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    5 stars
    That flavor combo of cranberry and orange brings back memories! I remember my mom baking bars and quick bread that had that flavor combo – it’s such a comforting mix!

  • Reply
    Arlene Mobley
    November 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I love your cupcakes! They are beautiful. I can’t wait to try the recipe. I bet they taste wonderful with the cranberry filling!

    • Reply
      November 12, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Thank you! The filling really makes the cupcakes!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Cranberry and Orange is such happy couple together isn’t it?
    Love that combination. What a lovely collaboration we did. Can’t wait to try the recipes.

    • Reply
      November 12, 2016 at 7:59 am

      It is! I enjoyed collaborating and can’t wait until the next!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Hi there! Those look gorgeous! I was wondering on how you manage to do the spiral of orange zest on top because they look so classy! Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 1, 2016 at 10:22 am

      I looked up a video on youtube. I forget which one. Basically, you cut a thin slice of orange, use a sharp knife and cut out the middle, cut on part of the circle, then twist into a spiral and hold it for 30 seconds. I think there are also fancy tools, but I don’t have those.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    4 stars
    I made these cupcakes for our Thanksgiving this year! They are a huge hit! Love this recipe! Will definitely be saving this one for future use.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2021 at 4:23 am

    OMG. Must. Make. This.
    Your recipes are amazing.

    This would be perfect for Jessica.
    And me. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 13, 2021 at 4:25 am

    They look awesome and not only did I want to find out, I was going in for early ultrasounds because the suspense was killing me 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa Fallin
    November 13, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    5 stars
    These were so fun to make. Doubled the recipe because I knew one batch wouldn’t be enough!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    When do you add the orange juice and zest to the sauce/relish?

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