Cranberry Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream and Sugared Cranberries

Cranberry cake with white chocolate frosting and sugared cranberriesI think this may be my favorite cake of 2017.

And I don’t say that lightly. Because this past year has been filled with some pretty spectacular cakes. Like this 16-layer dobos torte. Or these adorable mini marble bundt cakes. Or this over-the-top pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap-hazelnut crust (that was devoured in seconds and left everyone wishing there were leftovers for breakfast the next morning).

Cranberry cake with white chocolate frosting and sugared cranberries

All fantastic.

But this beauty has won my heart.

With three cranberry-studded layers of heavenly vanilla cake, a decadent white chocolate buttercream filling, and a mountain of glittering cranberries on top, this cake is the clear winner.

Cranberry cake with white chocolate frosting and sugared cranberries

It should come as no surprise, really. And I promise that it tastes just as incredible as it looks.

I made this cake for Christmas this year, but it would be a great choice for any winter celebration. What could be more perfect for a snowy January party than glittering cranberries?

Cranberry cake with white chocolate frosting and sugared cranberries

I made my cake with three 6-inch layers, because I’m a huge fan of tall, showy layers. You could easily make yours with two 9-inch layers if you don’t have 6-inch cake pans. Or double the recipe and go for a four-layer 9-inch cake if you’re feeding a crowd. No matter how you make (or slice!) it, this cake is sure to impress!

May all of your New Year’s celebrations be full of sweet treats, dear friends and family, and all of the hope that a new year brings! (And maybe even this cranberry cake!)

Cranberry cake with white chocolate frosting and sugared cranberries

Cranberry Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream and Sugared Cranberries

Active time: 20 minutes (plus assembly)
Start to finish: 2 hours
Makes one 3-layer, 6-inch round cake

Ingredients
For the cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 ½ cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ cup white chocolate chips

For the white chocolate buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
4oz white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
5 tablespoons heavy cream

For the sugared cranberries
2 cups whole, fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar

Directions
For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 3 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour cake pans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add in sugar and vanilla extract; continue to beat until pale in color (about 5 minutes). Add in one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

With mixer running on low, add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the milk. Continue alternating between adding flour and milk. Mix just until combined. Add in cranberries, orange zest, and white chocolate chips. Mix just until combined.

Pour batter evenly into 3 6-inch cake pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.

Let cakes cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

For the buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla extract and salt until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar in three increments; scrape down sides of bowl after each addition. Slowly beat in melted white chocolate and heavy cream. To thicken frosting, add more powdered sugar. To thin, add more heavy cream. You want the frosting to be spreadable but still hold its shape.

For the sugared cranberries
In a medium saucepan, melt brown sugar and water until brown sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture over cranberries in a glass bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Drain cranberries. Toss in granulated sugar twice to create an even glitter coating.

To assemble
Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Top with a layer of buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers. Scrape off any buttercream that is on the outside of the cake. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until buttercream is firm.

Coat the outside of the cake with a light layer of buttercream. Add a thicker layer of frosting on the top of the cake. With a bench scraper, lightly scrape off frosting on the outside of the cake, revealing the cake layers underneath to get the naked cake look.

Top with sugared cranberries and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Cake can be made a day in advance. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Cranberry cake with white chocolate frosting and sugared cranberries

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