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Cranberry cupcakes garnished with buttercream frosting, sugared cranberries plus a sprig of rosemary for a pop of color.


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 5 Minutes
  • Yield: 12 Cupcakes 1x


Sugared cranberry cupcakes are a welcome addition to any holiday table. They’re tender, buttery and sweet with a festive presentation.


Units Scale


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries


  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup small fresh cranberries


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Fresh rosemary



RECIPE PREP: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat.

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add water and granulated sugar. Stir and cook until sugar has dissolved. If desired, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Swirl the pan to incorporate the liquid.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Add the cranberries. Toss to combine. With a slotted spoon, remove cranberries from the pan, leaving the syrup behind. Arrange them in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Let the berries dry for 45 minutes.
  3. Transfer cranberries to a medium bowl. Sprinkle remaining sugar over the top. Toss with a spoon until all berries are evenly coated with sugar. Set the bowl aside for 45 minutes. 


RECIPE PREP: Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper liners.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Add in the sugar. Whisk until just combined. 
  2. Add flour, baking powder, and sea salt to the bowl. Mix just until no large lumps remain. Don’t over-mix, or the cakes will be heavy and dense. We want our cranberry cupcakes light and fluffy!
  3. Add fresh cranberries to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold them into the batter. With a 1/4 measuring cup, evenly divide the batter between the prepared wells of the cupcake pan. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack. Let them cool for 1 hour. It’s important to let all heat shed before frosting the little cakes.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the soften butter. Beat for 30 seconds on medium speed, or until the butter is smooth. 
  2. Drape a lint-free kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect your countertop. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. Once it’s been fully incorporated, add the vanilla extract. Beat the frosting on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  3. With a spatula, transfer the buttercream frosting to a piping bag fitted with an open star metal tip. My favorite for cranberry cupcakes: the Wilton 6B or Wilton 8B.
  4. Garnish each dessert with sugared cranberries. As a finishing touch, add sprigs of fresh rosemary to the top of each cupcake.


HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CUPCAKES: Transfer the cakes to an air-tight container. Store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CRANBERRIES: Save them for cranberry sauce, or turn them all into sugared cranberries. Use them to garnish appetizers, drinks and desserts. Or add them to mason jars for hostess gifts. Tie each lid with a red/white ribbon.

  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Rest Time: 90 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cranberry Cupcakes, Sugared Cranberry Cupcakes, Holiday Cupcakes