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Winter Refresher Cupcakes

Never fails.I become ardently inspired to create a new dessert by seeing or tasting something fabulous that someone else makes.  As soon as practical thereafter, I go to the store to get the ingredients.  And BAM!  Fail.  Said ingredients are now out of season and unavailable to me, even if they were – just moments ago – available to the person who made the inspirational dessert.  GAH! 

This time, however, I outsmarted the season by predicting that this might happen and stocking up on & freezing a few extra bags of fresh cranberries in December.  Score! 

The inspiration for this lovely flavor combo came from an ice cream, of all things (I KNOW!?  Ice cream in February?!)  White chocolate-chunk ice cream with cranberries, sprinkled with coarse natural sugar and accompanied by two thin slivers of candied meyer lemon.  It was SO beautiful, so wintery.  At first taste I thought, “mmm, this is nice.”  Then I ate seven more bites and wanted to merry the person who made it.  This was one of those ingenius desserts that just got better and better with each bite and afterward had me in a little bit of a food daze. 

So of course instantly I decided (spoon in mouth) that this was going to become a cupcake. 

Little did I realize it would be one of THE BEST non-chocolate desserts I’ve ever made.  Especially because it was a bit of an experiment.

Me and my chemistry-challenged self were starting to get cocky with different variations on this Perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe.  But I couldn’t help it.  I’m like a mad scientist and when I get an idea in my head I need to act on it with zero regard for the properties of sodium bi-carbonate. 

And what a wonderful experiment this was!!! 

For as much as I hate doing this, I have to share the recipe because it was incredible, and frankly, because I want to be able to re-create it again as soon as cranberries come back in season next fall. 

The Winter Refresher Cupcake:  White Chocolate, Cranberry & Citrus

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes by Glory at Glorious Treats SLIGHTLY MODIFIED: 

Before assembling the cupcake batter, blanche half a bag of whole raw cranberries (2 cups or so) in simmering water for about 3-5 minutes until they pop but before they turn to mush.  Drain & cool.

Finely chop two squares of Baker’s white chocolate and mix with a 1/2 teaspoon of flour.  Set aside.  (Try not to be tempted to use white “baking chips” – I hate those.  The extra step of chopping the Baker’s chocolate only takes a sec.)

Assemble cake batter while cranberries cool.  Recipe is modified as follows: 

                Instead of 2 eggs I used 3 egg whites (changes the color & texture slightly);

                I added 1 extra tablespoon of sugar to offset any bitterness in the cranberries;

                And at the end, I stirred in the chopped white chocolate. 

Fill each cup about 2/3 full.  Drop a few of the softened cranberries right in the middle of the batter, they won’t sink!  I made mini cupcakes so I just used about 3-5 berries in each one but if I made regular-sized cupcakes I’d use twice that.  This recipe made 24 minis and one 6” cake layer.  That equates to about 15-16 regular-sized cupcakes I think. 

This is a perfectly moist & tender cupcake!  Not perfectly white-white or as fluffy as a boxed mix, but it is the best scratch vanilla cake I’ve ever had, and incredibly easy after doing it once or twice.  THANK YOU GLORY!!!

Orange-zested Cream Cheese Frosting

I use this recipe & method and at the end, mix in until just blended the zest of one orange (or less – start with the zest of half the orange; it’s quite potent).  Don’t overmix cream cheese frosting, whatever you do. 

And for this recipe I’m actually going to suggest using some kind of colored sugar for the decoration because it adds a lovely crunch.  And of course a touch of pink which I’m a huge fan of. 

Oh my gosh, I just remembered!  This flavor combo is also amazing in martini form!  Vanilla vodka, triple sec & cranberry juice.  I think those have to be on this weekend’s agenda.  {Rubbing hands together whilst bearing an evil-delighted grin!}


I made these for a new Fan who ordered a bunch of mini cupcakes for a small baby shower.  She wanted some cookie dough cupcakes (the reason I buy a bag of mini-chocolate chips EVERY single time I go to the grocery store) and the white-chocolate-cranberry.  They’re a great compliment, very lady-like yet youthful.  And SO DARN CUTE!!! 

Yesterday after work, Rick laid down for a nap to try & kick the cold he’s coming down with and so I had a ton of time to indulge myself in these little princesses.  And mybe have a glass of chianti for my birthday dinner 😉


About kozubalk

Lawyer by day, baker by night, full time creative spirit.

5 responses »

  1. I think you should be a writer 3rd Shift, after lawyering and baking!!! Delightfully and sensually written!!!

  2. I think ice cream is the inspiration to all good things 🙂 These look fabulous!

  3. This is the funniest recipe I’ve read. Probably ever. And also delicious looking. Definitely bookmarked for future use.


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