These white chocolate cupcakes are filled with cranberry curd and frosted with white chocolate buttercream. For a festive finishing touch, top them with white sugar pearls and sugared cranberries.
Heat water and 1/4 cup of the sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add cranberries. Stir gently until they are coated in the syrup mixture.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer cranberries to a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath. Let dry for about an hour.
Place 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow bowl and roll cranberries a few at a time in the sugar until coated. Return to wire rack to dry.
Place cranberries, water, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or so, until cranberries have popped and the mixture has reduced and thickened (it will look like cranberry sauce).
Pour cranberry sauce into a food processor and puree until smooth. then, press the puree through a sieve to discard of any larger pieces of skin, seeds, etc.
Whisk in the softened butter until smooth, then return to the saucepan. Add egg, egg yolk, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk and cook over low heat until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Let the mixture cool slightly, then pour into a glass bowl. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and chill while you make the cupcakes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a cupcake tin with paper liners. This recipe makes about 16 cupcakes.
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl for about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to combine after each addition. Then, add melted white chocolate and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/2 of the milk, starting and ending with the flour and mixing until incorporated after each addition. You will have three additions of flour and two additions of milk.
Evenly divide the batter among the cups in the cupcake tin. Fill each one about 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 9 minutes, until the tops have risen. Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar gradually, with the mixer on low speed. Then, add white chocolate, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
Add heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until smooth.
To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped piece out of the center of each cupcake using a small paring knife. Start by cutting a circle on the top surface of each cupcake about 1 inch in diameter. Then, slice about 3/4 of the way towards the bottom of the cupcake all the way around the circle, while also angling the knife towards the center (in the shape of a cone). The point of the cone will be pointing downward. Remove the core from the cupcake and set aside.
Spoon cranberry curd into the center of the cupcake. Trim the cone-shaped core so that only the circular piece from the very top of the cupcake remains (about 1/4 of an inch thick). Replace this piece on top of the curd as a "lid" over the filling.
Frost as desired with the white chocolate buttercream. Sprinkle with the sugar pearls and top with sugared cranberries.
*Since the cranberries require some drying time, starting making them first, then continue with the rest of the recipe while you wait for them to dry.