Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake

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

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.


  • 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)


  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:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 3g
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Strawberries and Cream Coffee Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze – One of the best coffee cakes ever. Use your favorite fresh, frozen, or seasonal fruit this incredibly moist and soft cake batter

Blueberry and Jam Buttermilk Coffee Cake with Buttery Vanilla Glaze – One of the best coffee cakes or cakes I’ve ever made. Highly recommended – tied with the one above

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Fan of cranberries? White chocolate? Cranberry Bliss Bars?