If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you’re probably well aware of my affinity for Starbucks. To keep money in my bank account, I do my best to come up with copycat recipes for my favorite S’bucks drinks and eats. I already figured out how to make my absolute favorite thing — Cranberry Bliss Bars — but a few weeks ago I wondered if I could morph that into something else.
I kinda forgot about it until I had a dream the other night that was clearly a sign. I mean, seriously. Listen to this.
In the dream, I walked into Starbucks to order a Cranberry Bliss Bar and they told me they didn’t carry them anymore. I must have made a pretty epic pouty face, because the girl behind the counter said, “Please don’t cry! We can make you something even better – just have a seat over there and I’ll bring you something shortly.” So she goes into this secret back room kitchen and whips up a single cupcake in a matter of a couple minutes (totally realistic, by the way). She walks out with a beautiful little cupcake sitting atop a little white doily on a delicate tea plate. There was a white glow shining down from the heavens onto the plate as she carried it and angels were singing. Well, actually, it zoomed out and I saw the glow was just a guy adjusting one of the store lights and the angels were just a holiday CD playing. Even my dreams play out like a sitcom.
I woke up giddy at the idea of turning the bars into cupcakes and got right to work. It took a few different rounds of cupcake batter to get it the way I wanted it. The first time I overloaded it with cranberries and white chocolate chips and they were way too dense. The second time I think it was a combination of too much butter and not enough flour. The third time I almost had it, but I tried using melted white chocolate in the batter and it just made it too heavy.
And finally, fourth time’s a charm. They’re a little more dense than any cupcakes I’ve made in the past, but I like it that way. If it were lighter it wouldn’t be the kind of base I needed for what I was going to pile on top. The frosting you guys… the frosting. It’s so freaking delicious. It’s almost exactly what I used on top of the bars with a small addition of vanilla extract and I added butter to stabilize it – you know how much I like to pipe frosting nice and tall.
Just look at them… the specs of orange peel, the velvety frosting. And these cupcakes wouldn’t be complete without a delicious garnish – dried cranberries and a white chocolate drizzle. If you’re looking for an excuse to shove your face with cranberry-y white chocolate-y goodness, these are it. Go make them – you can thank me later.
- 1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cold
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 6 ounces white chocolate chips, melted
- Dried cranberries, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon together. Set aside.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave.
- In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add in egg, milk, yogurt, vanilla and orange extracts and whisk together until combined.
- Add in dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate chips until just combined - don't overmix!
- Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling them all the way to the top. Bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and beat until smooth and creamy.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips in the microwave. Set aside to cool a little.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and grated orange peel and beat until combined.
- Pour in half of the melted white chocolate and beat until well combined.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes however you'd like. Top them with dried cranberries and drizzle with the rest of the melted white chocolate. Enjoy!