Cranberry Chai Cupcakes

Looking for fall desserts that will stand out from the crowd? These cranberry cupcakes fit the bill! This easy fall dessert is made even better by the creamy, luscious chai cream cheese frosting on top.

cranberry chai cupcakes
Photo: Scott Little
Prep Time:
30 mins
Stand Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
15 mins
Cool Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • ½ cup butter

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon Chai Spice Seasoning

  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ½ cup sugar

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk or sour milk*

  • ¾ cup chopped cranberries

  • 1 recipe Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Sugared Cranberries (optional)

  • Cinnamon stick shards (optional)

Chai Spice Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves

  • 2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 3 ounce package cream cheese

  • cup butter

  • 1 ½ teaspoon Chai Spice Seasoning

  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • 4 cup powdered sugar

Sugared Cranberries

  • Frozen cranberries

  • Granulated sugar


  1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line twenty 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a medium bowl stir together flour, Chai Spice Seasoning, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in cranberries.

  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.

  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.

  5. Frost with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting. If desired, garnish with Sugared Cranberries and cinnamon stick shards. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator. (If using cinnamon stick shards, remove before eating cupcakes.) Makes 20 (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes.

Chai Spice Seasoning

  1. Using an electric spice grinder, small food processor, or clean coffee grinder, finely grind fennel seeds and whole cloves. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground black pepper. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 month.

Chai Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Allow cream cheese and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, Chai Spice Seasoning, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1-1/2 cups of the powdered sugar. Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Makes about 2-3/4 cups.

Sugared Cranberries

  1. Roll frozen cranberries in granulated sugar to coat. Place on waxed paper; let stand until dry.

*Test Kitchen Tip:

To make 1-1/4 cups sour milk, place 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1-1/4 cups total liquid; stir. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.

Store unfrosted cupcakes in a single layer in an airtight freezer container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before frosting.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

312 Calories
11g Fat
51g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 20
Calories 312
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 193mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0.6mg 3%
Calcium 60.6mg 5%
Iron 0.9mg 5%
Potassium 66mg 1%
Folate, total 28.2mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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