White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

Looking for a refreshing dessert this holiday season? Make a batch of these White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes. Sugared cranberries add the finishing touch to these heavenly Christmas cupcakes!

Love cranberry season? Bake up a delicious Cranberry Cheesecake for the holidays this year. Perfect with those fresh sugared cranberries.

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes with sugared cranberries: this is a must have recipe for the holidays!

Christmas Cupcakes

This is not your ordinary Christmas cupcake recipe. These cupcakes are just a little more elegant than what you’d find at a kid’s classroom Christmas party.

With a smooth white chocolate frosting and sugared cranberries on top, you might feel like you need to eat these cupcakes with your pinkie sticking out.

The beautiful look of White Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes is nothing compared to the taste. Creamy sweetness contrasting with bright cranberry tang makes it hard to eat just ONE of these treats!

But best of all, there is nothing fussy or difficult about making them. Despite their fancy appearance, they’re made with a box of cake mix, instant jello and a simple cream cheese based frosting.

Ingredient Notes

  • White cake mix – You’ll need a box of layer cake sized mix (for 2 layers). If preferred, you can substitute your favorite homemade white cupcake recipe.
  • Instant Cranberry JELL-O – or any brand of instant cranberry flavored gelatin. Swap out the JELL-O flavors to change up the flavor of these (raspberry, orange and strawberry would be delicious ).
  • White chocolate – I use the Baker’s white chocolate baking bars in the frosting. If needed, you can substitute other white chocolate bars or use white chocolate chips.
  • Cranberries – Use fresh (not frozen) cranberries to make the sugared cranberry topping.
White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes with sugared cranberries: this is a must have recipe for the holidays!

Step by Step Instructions

STEP 1. Bake the cupcakes

Bake the cupcakes according to package directions. Take them out of the oven and immediately poke holes in the top of each cupcake with a fork.


Combine boiling water with the JELL-O mix and stir. Spoon the hot JELL-O mixture over the cupcakes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

STEP 3. Frosting

Melt the white chocolate according to the package directions. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a separate bowl, then add the white chocolate, vanilla and powdered sugar, beating until fluffy and smooth.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes in your desired pattern.

The cranberries, with their snow-dusted look, add the perfect finishing touch to these Christmas desserts. Be sure to get them ready the day before so you’re ready to add a sweet garnish to your white chocolate cupcakes!

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

STEP 1. Soak overnight

Combine the sugar and water in the saucepan over low heat and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. The syrup won’t be very hot (don’t let it come to a boil!

If you do, let it cool before pouring it over the cranberries otherwise your cranberries will pop open…not the goal.

Once the syrup has soaked into the cranberries overnight, drain off the syrup completely.

STEP 2. Toss with sugar

Let the drained berries sit for about 15 minutes before adding the sugar. The best way to do this for me, was to put the sugar in a large gallon sized ziploc bag. Shake the cranberries in the sugar gently.

STEP 3. Harden

Lay a piece of foil on the counter with a wire cookie rack over it. Pour the sugar and cranberries onto the rack. The excess sugar will fall through the wire rack.

Let the cranberries sit until the sugar hardens (about an hour).

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes with sugared cranberries: this is a must have recipe for the holidays!

Recipe FAQs

Do you need to make the cranberries in advance?

I made my cupcakes at the same time as the sugared cranberries. Then refrigerated both overnight. Technically the cupcakes only need about an hour or two in the fridge, but if you want to make them the night before, it works great!

How many cranberries should you use on each cupcake?

I only used 3 cranberries to garnish each one. Then, I was left with plenty of extra cranberries to put in a bowl and enjoy as a snack!

How do you store these?

Keep your frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The frosting may harden slightly, but it will taste amazing!

One more tip: If you’re making a fruit platter this holiday, I suggest making these sugared cranberries to sprinkle around the platter. Not only are they festive and pretty to look at, they’re simply delicious too!

Take your Christmas Cupcake game to the next level this holiday season with White Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes.

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes with sugared cranberries: this is a must have recipe for the holidays!

MORE Cake Recipes:

Yield: 24 cupcakes

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

Prep Time 8 hours


For the cupcake:

  • 1 package (2 layer cake size) white cake mix
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package (3oz) JELL-O Cranberry Flavor Gelatin

For the frosting:

  • 1 ½ package (6oz total) Baker's White Chocolate bars
  • 1 package (8oz) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

For the cranberries:

  • 3 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 cup fresh cranberries


  1. For the cranberries, combine 2 cup of the sugar with water in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, and stir until sugar dissolves. Do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, add cranberries. Top with sugar syrup and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. After it has soaked for at least 8 hours, drain off syrup completely and allow to sit in strainer for at least 15 minutes. Pour remaining 1 cup sugar in a large ziploc bag, add cranberries and shake. Empty contents of bag onto a wire rack (with foil underneath to catch the mess). Let cranberries dry for at least an hour. Store in refrigerator until ready to garnish cupcakes.
  3. For the cupcakes, bake cake mix according to package for 24 cupcakes. Pierce tops of cupcakes immediately after cooking.
  4. Combine boiling water with JELL-O gelatin, stir until dissolved. Spoon gently over cupcakes, allowing to sink into fork holes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. For the frosting, melt chocolate according to package directions. Beat cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl for about 4-5 minutes, until fluffy. Add melted chocolate, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Beat for another 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with sugared cranberries. ENJOY!

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on December 7, 2014

Comments & Reviews

  1. These cupcakes are just SO pretty!! The bright colors, the cute cranberries, all of that frosting… May I eat half a dozen? Pretty please? If I offer to do the dishes? 😉 Pinned!

  2. This is such a fun and gorgeous cupcake! The sugared cranberries are so pretty on top of that silky frosting!

  3. These are definitely the ultimate holiday cupcake! I totally want to just grab all those gorgeous sugary cranberries of the tops of these cupcakes!

  4. I love the combination of fresh cranberries and white chocolate, and making poke cupcakes instead of a regular poke cake is genius!

  5. I don’t think the sugared cranberries would last long enough to make it on the cupcakes! Pinned.

  6. I love the looks of these…the cupcakes, the frosting. And those sugared berries!! Is it wrong that I just want to pluck them all off? 🙂 Pinned!

    1. Not wrong at all 🙂 It’s a good thing it makes a whole extra bowl of sugared berries, just for snacking! Thanks for pinning Averie!!

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