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White Chocolate Cranberry Cake
Every year in December I get the crazy need to bake. So much. Maybe too much? (See my other desserts here.) I deliver most of our baked goods to friends and neighbors, but of course we like to sample them as well! This White Chocolate Cranberry Cake was one my kids and husband loved so much. The secret to a fluffy white chocolate buttercream frosting is powdered white chocolate pudding, mixed with a little heavy cream.
Last year I made a White Chocolate Cranberry Cake and the frosting had melted white chocolate in it. Problem was, even though it tasted great it was really difficult to work with and got really hard after it set. Most white chocolate frostings have melted white chocolate in them which can make it hard to have a light and fluffy texture. One day as I was perusing the baking aisle at the grocery store – one of my favorite things to do – I found Godiva brand white chocolate pudding mix. I thought it would be a great addition to this White Chocolate Cranberry Cake frosting (and cake batter!) to get that creamy white chocolate flavor without ruining the texture. The white chocolate pudding is first mixed with heavy cream until dissolved, then mixed into this buttercream, resulting in one of the lightest and fluffiest frostings I’ve ever made.
White Chocolate Cranberry Cake
The perfect holiday treat - light fluffy cake with fresh cranberry filling between each layer.
- 2 c fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- 1 12oz bag fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 c. white sugar
- 1 1/4 c. water, divided
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
White Cake with Cranberries
- 1 white cake mix
- 1 package (4 oz) white chocolate pudding mix (dry)
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 3/4 c. oil
- 3/4 c. water
- 4 eggs
- 1 (8 oz) container sour cream
White Chocolate Buttercream
- 1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 bag (2 lb) powdered sugar (about 7.5 c.)
- 1 4 oz. packet white chocolate pudding (dry)
- 1.5 c heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
Before making the cake it's a good idea to make the filling! You want it to be well chilled when it goes on the cake.
Combine the cranberries, 3/4 c. of the water, and white sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until cranberries start to burst, stirring well.
Once cranberries start to burst, use the back of a spoon to crush the cranberries. Continue to stir until the mixture is bubbling and all cranberries are cooked down.
In a separate bowl mix the remaining 1/2 c. water with the cornstarch. Whisk until there are no clumps.
Add this cornstarch mixture to the saucepan. Whisk in well, and continue to cook on medium heat until mixture has thickened.
Once it's thickened, remove from heat. Let come to room temperature then transfer to large glass jar or airtight tupperware container.
Chill until ready to frost cake.
To make frosted sparkling cranberries, rinse fresh cranberries in water, straining in a colander.
Prepare a large baking sheet with white sugar. Remove wet cranberries from colander and toss in sugar.
Shake baking sheet horizontally to level off the cranberries (so all are in an even layer and none are staked on top of one another).
Chill in fridge for 1 hour to set.
Bring 1 cup sugar and water to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
White Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pans with baking spray and parchment paper in the bottom of the pans. (You can use 2 layer pans, 3 layer pans, or a bundt pan.)
In a large bowl, mix all cake ingredients except eggs and sour cream, with a large spoon. Then mix in one egg at a time. Then add sour cream. Once mixed well, pour even amounts into your layer pans.
(And if you're making a layer cake, I've done the measurements for you!
- 3 layer cake: 1.9 cups of batter per pan
- 2 layer cake: 2.8 cups of batter per pan
Here's how to bake depending on how many layers you're making:
- 2 layers (8/9 inch layer pans): 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees
- 3 layers (8/9 inch layer pans): 23-25 minutes at 340 degrees
- bundt cake: 50 - 55 minutes at 350 degrees
Once cake is lightly golden brown and springs back to the touch, it is done. Remove from oven and let rest in pan until cool. Turn out onto baking sheet with parchment paper and chill. I like to freeze each layer of cake to keep it clean from crumbs while frosting.
White Chocolate Frosting
Beat butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment until softened and smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk white chocolate pudding mix with heavy cream. Whisk really well to get all the clumps out. Once mixture is smooth, set aside.
Add 1 c. at a time of powdered sugar to the butter, while mixing on low speed. After adding a cup of powdered sugar, alternate by adding pudding mixture in. Keep alternating until both are added.
Beat in mixer until smooth and incorporated. If the mixture is too stiff for your liking, you can add a little more cream. If it's a little too thin, you can add a little more powdered sugar.
A thicker buttercream will make a layer cake more stable. However if you're making a bundt cake you might want it thinner to drizzle over the top. Once it has the consistency you'd like, add the almond extra and mix until incorporated.
To Assemble Cake:
If your cakes have risen high with domes, remove cake domes from cakes with a large serrated knife.
On a cake stand or large plate, spread a spoonful of the frosting in a flat circle. Place the first layer of cake onto this. This frosting will keep the cake from sliding.
Place 1/4 of the buttercream into a large piping bag (or Ziploc bag with the end cut off).
Once the first layer is on the plate, pipe a 1 inch border around the edge to hold in the cranberry filling.
Once border is piped, fill inside the frosting border with cranberry filling and spread evenly. Then add next cake layer on top. The border of frosting will keep the cranberry filling from squeezing out, and keep your cake stable.
For a 3 layer cake, repeat buttercream border and cranberry filling on top of your 2nd layer. (If you only have a 2 layer cake, just put cranberry filling in between the 2 layers).
Add 3rd layer to top and frost thinly. Then thinly frost the edges and smooth them out with an offset spatula.
Once cake has a smooth crumb coat, freeze again for at least 20 minutes.
When cake is very cold, remove from freezer and frost with remaining buttercream. If you want to make it fluffy looking like my frosting, use a knife with back and forth strokes to get the fluffy appearance.
Top the cake with sparkling cranberries and add some around the edge, if desired.
I’m not normally a huge white chocolate fan but when it’s paired with things that offset the sweetness of the white chocolate (like cranberries here, or also peppermint), I like it quite a lot. I hope you love this White Chocolate Cranberry Cake! We loved the layers of white chocolate cake with fresh tart cranberry filling in the middle, paired with that creamy white chocolate frosting Top with some simple sugar cranberries, and you’ve got yourself an easy, yet lovely, Christmas Dessert. See all of my other holiday desserts here.
I am sure you will love this White Chocolate Cranberry Cake. Be sure to let me know if you make this cake and tag me @plumstreetcollective on Instagram. Thanks for reading!