Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake

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I love Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars. I’ve made them, and I’ve made them into cookies.

I took those flavors and made a cake, using my favorite foolproof, one-bowl, easy cake base.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

The batter comes together like muffin batter in 5 minutes flat. A bowl of dry ingredients and a bowl of wet. Pour the wet over the dry, stir, pour into a pan, and bake. No mixer, nothing complicated or fussy.

I loathe dry cake and used a trifecta of tricks to keep it super soft, moist, and tender. Buttermilk, Greek yogurt, and oil.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

If you don’t routinely keep buttermilk on hand, I highly recommend this Powdered Buttermilk. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t use buttermilk much, but you’ll see a recipe that needs a half cup, but because you feel you won’t use the rest of the jug before it goes bad, you opt of trying the recipe. This powder is your new best friend. Shelf stable, keeps for ages.

For this recipe that calls for 1/2 cup buttermilk, use 2 tablespoons of the powder placed in the bowl with the dry ingredients. Use 1/2 cup water, added with the wet ingredients.

You can also make buttermilk by souring your own milk. Add about 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk, wait for 10 minutes for it to curdle, then use as indicated.

Why obsess over buttermilk? Because it makes cakes soft, springy, bouncy, tender, with the perfect balance of density and fluffiness. The results are unparalleled and so worth it.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

I used Trader Joe’s dried cranberries, which are slightly sweet with plenty of tartness. Dried fruit like Craisins or dried blueberries will work, but of course the flavor of the cake will be different.

For those who are wondering if the cake will work with fresh or frozen cranberries, feel free to experiment. Fresh or frozen berries will release their juices into the batter, thereby watering it down, and you may need to add more flour; and/or bake longer. They’ll also be prone to sinking and you’ll want to follow these tips to prevent it. Additionally, they may be on the tart side and you may need to increase the amount of sugar in the cake to compensate. Lots of variables, which is why I used dried.

I’m a huge white chocolate fan, but most of the year I don’t love my choices for white chocolate chips. A popular namebrand tastes like white wax to me. Blech.

Every fall Trader Joe’s gets white chocolate chips in for the season. I literally buy about 25 bags, but no matter how many I buy, by June I’m usually out. I was thrilled to see them back in stock. I’ve been told by readers that they’re stocked year-round in other parts of the country, but not in San Diego.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

After folding the cranberries and white chocolate chips into the batter, I sprinkled on 2 tablespoons of each on the top of the batter. This gives a nice visual pop and makes your cake look pretty and more inviting. Some of the white chocolate chips sunk slightly, leaving these cool moon crater-ish divots on the top of the cake.

I dusted it with confectioners’ sugar because I was going for a snowflake, wintery vibe, but you could glaze it. In the recipe section, I provided links to 3 different whisk-together, easy glazes.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

The cake is light, soft, fluffy, and moist. It’s springy and bouncey, with just enough density to give it some heft and dimension.

The tartness of the dried cranberries, coupled with their chewiness, are great little surprises to bite into amidst the tender cake crumb.

The white chocolate chips add another burst of texture, while providing a pop of sweetness, in the way that only white chocolate can do.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

With all the baking I do, most weeks it feels like I’m running a bakery out of my kitchen, and my family has become increasingly picky over the years. With most recipes, I have to coax or prod for some feedback other than, ‘Yeah, it was good.’

My husband said this is the best cake I’ve ever made. He says that about every 6 months, so I don’t necessarily put that much stock into those statements anymore. However, he also said it about this blueberry cake and this one, which are clones of this cake, so at least he’s consistent.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

He hoarded this cake. I got my 1 piece and the other 8 disappeared.

I guess I’ll have to make another one. There are worse things.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

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Yield: one 8x8-inch pan, 9 generous pieces

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake

This fast, easy, no-mixer cake is light, soft, fluffy, and moist. It’s springy and bouncey, with just enough density to give it some heft and dimension. The flavors reminds me of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars, which I love. The tartness of the dried cranberries, coupled with their chewiness, are great little surprises to bite into amidst the tender cake crumb. The white chocolate chips add another burst of texture, while providing a pop of sweetness, in the way that only white chocolate can do. I provided tips for two alternate buttermilk options in the body of the blog post.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 36 minutes
Additional Time 19 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or Powdered Buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (plain Greek yogurt or sour cream may be substituted)
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup  + 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 cup  + 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
  • confectioners’ sugar, optional for dusting (or see glaze suggestions below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, optional salt; set aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon until just combined. Small lumps will be present and this is okay. Don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth; set aside.
  5. Fold in 1 cup cranberries and 1 cup white chocolate chips.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan.
  7. Evenly sprinkle 2 tablespoons cranberries and  2 tablespoons white chocolate chips over the surface, pressing them down very lightly with a spatula or your fingertip.
  8. Bake for about 36 to 38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter (I baked for 36 minutes). Watch your cake, not the clock, and always bake until done, whatever that means in your oven with the brands of ingredients you used.
  9. Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Optionally, dust with confectioners’ sugar or a simple glaze. This vanilla cream cheese glaze, this buttery vanilla glaze, or this browned butter glaze are all excellent, quick, and easy glazes. Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 3g
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Fan of cranberries? White chocolate? Cranberry Bliss Bars?

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Comments

  1. Looks yummy. I want to make this for my granddaughter’s on Christmas Day. I have an abundance of fresh cranberries and was wondering if they would work. I subbed them for the jarred cherries in Averie’s pineapple upside down cake. It was delicious. Happy Holidays! I like to cook with what’s on hand when possible especially in these trying times

    1. I haven’t tried it that way so can’t say for sure…but I would lean toward yes, but again can’t speak to the results.

  2. Avery: I am planning on making this for my Mother’s 80th birthday party the first of October. She loves these flavors, and I am going to add fresh grated orange peel to the batter and frost with cream cheese icing that will also have orange peel in it. I plan to cut the edges off the cake so these will be like cake squares. I have purchased a music note mold and specialty white chocolate to adorn each square, as she is a music lover, choir director, handbells, etc. Since I am feeding about 50 people, I plan to double the recipe and bake in a jellyroll pan, 10.5 x 15. I’ll bake as many pans as necessary to have 100 pieces. I have read the comments to the recipe and your FAQ section and feel confident in my pan conversion. My question is do you think this cake will translate to cake squares appropriately? This is an understated event, classy but not stuffy. Cake squares are boring, and I am trying to select food according to my mother’s tastes. This recipe sounds amazing and I think the white on white music notes/icing will add elegance. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. This is a very important event and I am preparing all the food. Thanks.

    1. Being that this is SUCH an important event, such a big crowd, etc. I highly recommend making the cake as a dry run, seeing how it goes, then trying it again in a jellyroll pan if you double the recipe and see how that goes. And then make your decisions based on that. Only you will know if this is ‘The Cake’ for this event. I love the cake, I think it would be great, but since this is a very big deal for you, test, test, dry run, dry run. LMK how it goes!

  3. Averie, this cake is SOOO good. I am so happy you’ve been posting all of these buttermilk recipes because I had so much leftover. I will definitely be making this again and again!!

    1. So glad you like this one! Me too! And if you haven’t seen this recipe, I just posted it yesterday. It’s an amazing way to use up your buttermilk :)
      https://www.averiecooks.com/2013/12/nutella-layered-and-swirled-peanut-butter-bread-peanut-butter-loaf-cake.html

      And today’s coffee cake, too
      https://www.averiecooks.com/2013/12/brown-sugar-topped-cinnamon-sugar-coffee-cake-with-vanilla-cream-cheese-glaze.html

      LMK if you try any other recipes!

  4. I needed to use my dried cranberries that kept staring at me every time I opened the cabinet for something else. I was so happy to see this recipe on pinterest! I followed your directions to the letter and it came out absolutely divine – thank you!!!

  5. Girl, these photos just made me think of Christmas!! ;) Gorgeous!! And I would like a big slice of this!!

  6. I can’t even count how many jugs of buttermilk I’ve wasted for the sake of recipes calling for half a cup – I didn’t know it existed in powder form! Yes!!

    This cake is beautiful, love the festive flavours!

  7. *Happy sigh* You’ve taken another one of my favourite recipes from you last year, the cranberry bliss bar, and gave it a new twist. Wow, does this cake ever look moist ‘n fluffy. My baking-list for this holiday season so far is full of your recipes, like this one.

    1. I didnt know you made those…or maybe I did but totally forgot. Well, I hope you love the cake just as much if you try it!

  8. I love the combination of cranberries and white chocolate together, these bars look really delicious, like everything else you make ;-) Xx

  9. Oh yes I remember those cranberry bliss bars very well, they are such a great combination of flavors. I love that you’ve created all sort of variations on them!

  10. Averie, I love it!! I can understand why he inhaled the cake… it’s gorgeous! You busted out the crans and white chocolate!! This makes me so happy! Holiday baking is ON! :)

  11. A teaspoon of finely grated (then let “sit” to dry) orange zest would be an awesome addition methinks!!…This offering is so very BRUNCH-WORTHY AVERIE!!!

    MUCH thanks from across the pond!

  12. I love this cake! I think it’s great you’ve used these flavors in so many ways. I can’t way to try them, too! First up, bar form :)

  13. I just recently became a white chocolate fan, and I don’t know why it took me so long! I think I was too addicted to dark chocolate to give it a try :). But Now I love it, and I feel like white chocolate goes perfectly with this winter/holiday season, right?
    This looks amazing, and the pictures are incredibly beautiful, as always!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi, Ari! Great to hear from you – and glad you’re on board with white choc now!:)

  14. I am totally buying that buttermilk like I already clicked and bought it ;) I never have buttermilk, or if I buy it then it goes to waste or I am too lazy to wait 10 minutes for it to become buttermilk!!! So this is fabulous!! This cake is two of my favorite flavors !! We use dried cranberries on a salad at work and I can’t help but take a cup full and munch on the cranberries all day at my desk. You’ve done it again :)

    1. or if I buy it then it goes to waste or I am too lazy to wait 10 minutes for it to become buttermilk! = EXACTLY!!! This is shelf stable, looks like yellow-ish powdered sugar. You basically use 1 tbsp per 1/4 cup of water. So 1/2 cup water = 2 tbsp powder, or 1 cup water = 4 tbsp of the powder. And then you have your half cup or cup of ‘buttermilk’. So simple girl. I thought there was a trick to it when I started using it about 18 mos ago b/c it was just way too easy. As you said, buying a jug only to have it go to waste is so frustrating. And sometimes even I who loves buttermilk and usually can find a use for it, I get to the point where I don’t need to make another cake, etc. JUST to use up my buttermilk :) Glad you already clicked on over$$ !

      And I could munch on dried cran’s all day. So addictive!

  15. I love the combination of white chocolate and cranberry. Usually I see that combo with bark or cookies but cake! Now that is AWESOME!

    1. I agree – usually it’s with bark which is why I was happy about this soft fluffy cake that uses those flavors!

    1. You don’t like cranberries? Ok wait though, I remember you don’t like raisins. Well, at least you’re consistent :)

  16. Gorgeous photos as always, Averie! Actually, your cake photos are probably routinely my fav ones of yours! This is cake is so beautiful but I also love how simple it is to throw together!

    1. Thanks for saying that about my cake pics b/c I struggle with photographing (large) cakes or pies. Anything big where you want to see the whole ‘big picture’ of the item is harder for me. Cookies and bars are easy, so thanks for the cake compliments!

  17. This sounds absolutely divine, I love cranberries so much and like you I am a little fussy about my white chocolate. There is nothing more frustrating then only being able to buy something seasonally when all you want is it year round!

    1. Amen to that – so I have to hoard it while I can, which is not great b/c I don’t have the space, but like I said, most other name brands of white choc chips taste like white wax to me…ha!

  18. I didn’t know that you could buy powdered buttermilk, what a good idea. I usually sour my milk, but sometimes hate waiting the extra time.

    1. And this I feel does a better job on a functional level, too, than the DIY method. Fine in a jam but I prefer this!

  19. You’ve got me thinking about Christmas with this post! Love the red accent of the cranberries with the powdered sugar on top, gorgeous!!

  20. I’ve been seeing fresh cranberries everywhere and deciding what to make with them. Love the idea of combining them with white chocolate!

  21. The fluffiness of this cake is so obvious in your photos and I love that. I agree, there is nothing worse than dry cake–bleh! I can’t wait to make this for my family for the holidays!

  22. looks so good.. i love the combo of cranberries and white chocolate, it’s like perfect for christmas. :-)

  23. I seriously LOVE cranberries and I can’t wait to start eating them in EVERYTHING this season!!! EVERYTHING. Dried cranberries, covered in white chocolate, with pistachios, just might be the best combination of flavors in the world. PERIOD.

    1. Thanks for saying you’ve tried the bars AND the cookies, Sarah, and loved them! I hope you love the cake just as much if you try it! :) Please LMK!

  24. I’ve made the bars before and absolutely love them so I know this cake is a keeper. Pinning!

  25. You’re right, the cranberries give this cake a nice visual pop! I love the sprinkles of them throughout all that cake and powdered sugar. Gorgeous photos!! I usually force myself not to look at the baked goods at Starbucks so I won’t buy them all, but I’ll have to try these. Or just make your cake version. :)

  26. I love the combo of cranberries and white chocolate. Cranberries are fantastic in baked goods – like you said, that unexpected tartness to offset the sweet.

  27. This looks fantastic! I have been loving cranberries lately; they scream November to me. Over the weekend, I made cranberry dark chocolate scones. So yummy! :)

  28. Hi Averie–

    I too am a huge fan of buttermilk–it’s a trick I learned in my Weight Watchers days to give baked products the moistness and texture I wanted with less fat. I have found that buttermilk freezes well. I have tried the powdered version and the adding-lemon-juice-to-milk version and haven’t been as happy with the results. Thought I’d throw that out there if anyone is interested. :)

    1. I like the powdered buttermilk and get good results with it. I rarely (almost never) curdle my own just b/c I always have either real buttermilk or the powder. And yes, it’s paradoxical but ‘butter’milk is quite low fat!

  29. I remember your bars from last year but I think I like this cake even better – it looks so fluffy and delicious!

  30. I love those cranberry bars – but this cake looks even better – now I need to find that buttermilk powder

  31. This cake is beautiful Averie! So festive. I’ve never had the cranberry bliss bars at Starbucks, but I know, just looking at this, that this wins hands down. Oil and buttermilk definitely are the best for producing moist, tender cakes!

    Love it.

    1. Oh you’ve gotta try the Starbucks version at least once and then you can try the DIY versions :) And yes to oil and buttermilk!

  32. I’ve never tried Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars but this cake looks beautiful. The color is gorgeous, perfect and festive for the holidays!

    1. You’re bad at cake? Ok well this one is impossible to screw up. No mixer, just a whisk-together easy one-layer cake, no frosting even needed! Super easy!

    1. I love those things and have to ‘forget’ they’re for sale this time of year or I’d want one every day!

  33. I am imagining this on Christmas morning. Maybe warm out of the oven, the tree lit. You officially have me in the holiday spirit!

    1. Oh that’s great that I have you in the holiday spirit! Means I did my job with the recipe/photos. Thanks for saying that!

  34. This cake is gorgeous, Averie!! So festive for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It kind of makes me really excited for things to come! I too love using buttermilk, oil and greek yogurt in my cakes. It always keeps everything so moist! And cranberries and white chocolate are made for each other. Such a perfect cake!

    1. Didn’t love the pics, but thanks for saying you think it’s gorgeous. And yes to buttermilk, oil and greek yogurt! Oh and just saw 2 of your recipes on Tasteologie. Speak of the devil :)

  35. I recently bought some KAF buttermilk powder, and it’s been so handy to have in the kitchen! Perfect for recipes like this that call for it. Cranberry and white chocolate is always a fabulous combo, and it certainly looks amazing in this cake! Love the look of powdered sugar sprinkled over top.

    1. That’s great that you have some on-hand and it’s so handy, I agree! For those times when you need like a half-cup, it’s the perfect solution! Always there, doesn’t spoil!

  36. I love cranberry bliss bars too! I can’t believe how fast these come together! Great recipe!

  37. I remember those cranberry bliss bars–and now a cake! I’d be very tempted to pour the vanilla cream cheese glaze over it. I have used Saco powdered buttermilk–it’s great to have on hand when you just need a little. I also remember you saying white cc’s are seasonal in your area. My husband was in Indy on Fri. and called to tell me TJ’s was right down the road so he decided to stop in. I couldn’t think very fast at that moment but should have had him get me a bag of those. He did surprise me with some random goodies, salsa, and coconut oil spray.

    1. That’s pretty remarkable he brought home coc oil spray and salsa. I’m impressed! And if I wasn’t taking pics of this cake, a cream cheese glaze all over it would have been awesome. But a thick, white, gloppy liquid is a photography nightmare that I wasn’t in the mood for…haha! But it would have been amazing :) And yes, stock up on those white choc chips. They’re light years ahead of other brands!

  38. I AM a fan of all those things-although I am on a mission to rename white chocolate since it isn’t chocolate, haha.
    This cake looks deeeeeelightful:)

  39. These look so good. I went to Trader Joe’s last week and picked up the dried cranberries and 2 bags of the white chocolate chips. The funny thing was I ultimately did not know what I was going to do with them. Now I know :) Thanks for the recipe.

    1. No way. That is too ironic!! White choc chips AND cranberries? It’s fate! LMK if you try this what you think!

  40. The combo of cranberries and white chocolate is so perfect, no wonder people have tried to create this at home. I might not have star bucks in Australia but I am sure going to try these.

    1. Good question and I addressed it under the 3rd photo in the post – lots of variables to ponder in doing that. LMK if you try!