Saffron & Cranberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting





These festive saffron & cranberry cupcakes are topped with a simple vanilla cream cheese frosting.

I’ve focused a lot on saffron lately. As mentioned previously, saffron is a huge part of the festive season here in Sweden, beginning in November with St Lucia, when we make Lussekatter (Lucia buns).

Saffron is such an amazing, exotic spice. It still amazes me how such a cold country, with fairly neutral food, ever came across the exuberant saffron.



If you’ve never tried saffron in baked goods, its taste is hard to explain. It is gives a powerful, distinctive punch and there is nothing else quite like it. I like to use lots in my bakes, often doubling required amounts. Mind you, when I say lots, I mean ½ gram. This stuff is expensive but thankfully, small quantities are all you need.

Saffron is an ancient spice. It comes from the crocus flower and is so expensive because it only flowers in the autumn. Harvesting the strands needs to be done by hand and is therefore very labour intensive. Luckily, as I said, you only need a tiny bit for it to work its magic.



This latest gold-hued creation is saffron & cranberry cupcakes, making them ideal for the festive season. I made them gluten free, using a store-bought blend, but you could easily use regular flour instead without changing the ratio at all.



They are topped with a gorgeous, not too sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting. I don’t do piping. I am a frosting dumper and runner. Feel free to add a little more finesse and pipe yours but they are so good, they don’t need anything fancy. There’s also a sprinkling of more dried cranberries and chunks of pistachio nuts (both of which are optional).




If you like saffron, check these other amazing recipes:


Swedish saffron cake

Saffron and white chocolate buns

Saffron Swedish skorpor (biscotti)

16 stunning saffron recipes (round-up)





Saffron and Cranberry Cupcakes

These festive gluten free saffron & cranberry cupcakes are topped with a rich vanilla cream cheese frosting and have a sprinkling of pistachios.
Course Cake
Cuisine Swedish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Servings 8 cupcakes



  • 100g (¼ cup + 3 tbsp) butter
  • ½ gram (⅛ tsp) ground saffron
  • 1 egg
  • 80g (⅓ cup) sugar
  • 75ml (⅓ cup) milk
  • 120g (1 cup) spelt flour (see note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 80g (2¾ oz) dried cranberries


  • 200g (7 oz) cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80g (⅘ cup) icing sugar


  • chopped pistachios and dried cranberries (optional)



  • Pre-heat the oven to 175ºC (350ºF).
  • Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  • Melt the butter and then stir in the saffron. Set to one side.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and sugar together until nice and fluffy.
  • Add the butter/saffron and milk and stir just until combined.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Then, stir into the wet ingredients.
  • Lastly, gently stir through the cranberries until evenly dispersed.
  • Split evenly between eight cupcakes cases.
  • Bake for around 16-18 minutes, just until an inserted skewer comes out almost clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely.


  • Beat the cream cheese together with the vanilla and half of the icing sugar. Continue to add as much icing sugar as you need to achieve a very thick frosting.
  • Spread over the top of each cupcake (or pipe if you prefer).
  • Finish iff with a sprinkling of pistachios and cranberries (optional). Enjoy!


  1. I have made these cupcakes with both gluten free and spelt flour. Alternatively, you could use regular flour (just use the same amount of flour for all three).
I have converted grams to cups/ounces/tablespoons using online converters. Although I have no reason to believe they are inaccurate, please be aware that I have not made the recipe with imperial measurements.
In addition, many ingredients are different in Europe compared to North America (and the rest of the world). I do all I can to offer possible alternatives and to ensure the best possible outcomes for everyone. However, results cannot always be guaranteed if you have not used the same ingredients, measurements or methods as me.
Lastly, I do everything I can to ensure that my recipes (and instructions) are accurate and easy to follow. However, I am human, and don't always get it right. If you notice anything strange, a mistake, or even a typo, please let me know in the comments. 


Saffron & Cranberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese FrostingSaffron & Cranberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese FrostingSaffron & Cranberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese FrostingSaffron & Cranberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

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