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5 from 8 votes

White Chocolate Cranberry Cake

Vanilla bean pound cake with cranberry compote and white chocolate frosting.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Cranberry Compote, white chocolate buttercream, white chocolate cake
Author: Courtney Rich



  • 2 cups (200 g) fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (236.6 g) water


  • 2 cups (200 g) fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (118.3 g) water
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (8.12 g) cornstarch, sifted


  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (339 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean (split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all the vanilla bean seeds)
  • 1 cup (240 g) plain greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, room temperature


  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold and cut into cubes
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla
  • 8 oz white chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy whipping cream
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.


For the Candied Cranberries

  • Bring the 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Pour the simple syrup into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Add cranberries and stir to coat.
  • Refrigerate cranberries during the day or overnight, stirring occasionally to coat with syrup.
  • Remove cranberries from syrup and roll in remaining 1/2 cup sugar. You'll need to roll them a few times to get a couple of layers of sugar on them.
  • Set cranberries aside to dry for an hour or so.

For the Cranberry Compote

  • In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar and water over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then cover to allow the cranberries to cook and soften.
  • When the cranberries have softened and begin to pop, slowly add the sifted corn starch and stir until it is incorporated. (If you don't sift the cornstarch, you'll likely get white clumps in the compote that are hard to dissolve.)
  • Allow the cranberries to simmer for another 5-10 minutes. The mixture will become thick and somewhat jelly-like. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature or store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch or four 6-inch cake pans with spray, parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and the sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for one minute. 
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the greek yogurt and mix until incorporated.
  • With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and finishing with the flour. Combine until incorporated.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and vanilla bean and mix for 30 seconds.
  • Evenly distribute the batter among the three cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator overnight or freezer for longer.

For the Buttercream

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream and then pour it over the white chocolate to melt. Stir until the mixture is smooth and silky. If needed heat the mixture for another 20 to 30 seconds and stir until the chips are melted. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed for about two minutes.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the melted white chocolate and stir until well mixed and there are no clumps of butter or white chocolate left.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix for another minute.
  • Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high and beat the frosting for five minutes. It should get lighter in texture and color.


  • Level cake layers if needed. Place the first cake layer, right-side up, on a cake board or plate.
  • Spread about 3/4 cup frosting on the cake. Then, using a pastry bag, pipe a barrier around the edge of the cake. This is done to ensure the cranberry compote won't ooze out the side of your cake as your stack.
  • Spread about 1/2-3/4 cup cranberry compote around the open space.
  • Place second cake layer on top of the compote and repeat step 2.
  • Place third cake layer, bottom-side up, on top and give the cake an even crumb coat. Chill it in the freezer for 10 minutes and then continue frosting. (While cake is chilling, I like to cover my frosting with plastic wrap so it doesn't have a chance to dry out).
  • Top with sugared cranberries.