A pink bowl of roasted cranberry cream cheese frosting on a plate with a knife

Sweet & Tart Roasted Cranberry Cream Cheese Frosting

We’re celebrating Canada with cranberries, one of just a handful of native fruits and berries grown commercially. These delicious treats are wonderful in desserts, and roasting them really brings out the flavour. Not too sweet and with a tongue-pleasing hint of tartness, you can use this beautiful frosting for a tasty change from your usual filling.


3 cups (750 ml)


20 minutes + 1 hour chilling time


20 minutes


For the roasted cranberries:

  • 1½ cups (165 g) fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) orange or lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, packed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp (2 g) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp (2 g) salt

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup (113 g) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (227 g) brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp (4 g) orange or lemon zest, finely grated
  • ¼ tsp (2 g) salt
  • 3½ cups (420 g) Redpath® Icing Sugar


For the roasted cranberries:

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).

In a large bowl, toss the fresh cranberries with the orange or lemon juice. Sprinkle the Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, sprigs of thyme, ground cinnamon, and salt over the cranberries. Toss to evenly coat.

Transfer cranberries into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Spread into a single layer. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until softened and slightly caramelized. Allow cranberries to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Place into a sieve to strain any excess liquid. Discard the sprigs of thyme.

Set aside to cool. Transfer cooled cranberries into a wide, airtight container and place into the fridge to chill completely; approximately 1 hour or up to a week.

For the cream cheese frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the room temperature butter until light and fluffy on medium-high speed. Scrape down sides of bowl, add softened cream cheese, and beat on low speed until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain; 1 minute. Add in vanilla extract, zest, and salt. Blend until fully incorporated.

Sift in the Redpath® Icing Sugar in three parts. After each addition, cream on low speed until smooth. After all the sugar is added, increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute; do not overmix.

Carefully fold in the chilled roasted cranberries. If necessary, blot off any excess syrup that may have formed with paper towels.

Place the cream cheese frosting into the fridge to chill and firm up; 30 minutes.

Use as a filling for cakes, cupcakes, or whoopie pies.

A vanilla Swiss roll filled with roasted cranberry cream cheese icing


*Frozen cranberries can be used if fresh ones are not available.

*Roasted cranberries can be made a few days in advance. This also ensures that the cranberries are cold when folded into the cream cheese frosting.

*Fresh rosemary can be used in place of thyme, or you can omit herbs entirely.

*If using the roasted cranberries as a side dish or in place of cranberry sauce, it is not necessary to strain the liquid from the roasted cranberries.

Related recipe: Golden Vanilla Swiss Roll