cranberry cake featured image
Cranberry Cake has a sweet buttery base studded with tart cranberries. It's an easy-to-make recipe that's perfectly festive and flavorful for any holiday or party. Perfect for Christmas and Thanksgiving.
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Table of Contents
  1. Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake
  2. Why We Love This Cranberry Cake Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Cranberry Cake
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Cake Recipes
  11. Cranberry Cake Recipe

Cranberry Cake is an easy-baked treat made with a simple batter that quickly comes together in one bowl. Use fresh or frozen cranberries to create this deliciously flavorful dessert, with its bright pops of scarlet tart fruit in every buttery bite!

cranberry cake hero image

Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake

This Cranberry Cake resembles the soft, tender crumb of my Blueberry Coffee Cake or a classic cranberry Christmas cake, but my recipe removes the baking powder and simply bakes it without a topping — no frosting or icing needed.

Instead, this old-fashioned favorite is leavened by whipping together the eggs and sugar, creating the moistest, yet slightly dense cake with a golden sweet crumb.

The sugar in this easy recipe beautifully balances the tartness of the cranberries, which soften and burst as the cake bakes in the oven. Flavoring the batter with fresh orange zest and hints of vanilla and almond extracts makes this simple cake seem so special; it’s a festive holiday dessert that can be served at a fall brunch or even eaten for breakfast.

If you like cooking with the tart taste of cranberries, check out my Easy Cranberry Meatballs and Cranberry Brie Bites!

Why We Love This Cranberry Cake Recipe

  • Quick and easy to prepare in 15 minutes.
  • Uses basic ingredients to make the simple batter.
  • Orange zest makes the tart cranberry flavor pop.
  • Moist, and dense without being heavy, with juicy explosions of tart cranberries.
  • Decadent breakfast or delicious dessert for the holiday season.
cranberry cake square

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salted sweet cream butter
  • Fresh orange zest
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Pure almond extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Powdered sugar (optional garnish)

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Substitutions and Additions

  • Tasty Toppings: This cake can be served as is, or you can add powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, sliced almonds, sparkling sugar, a drizzle of icing, or a scoop of ice cream on top.
  • Use Your Favorite Flour: You can substitute unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour.
  • 9×13 baking dish
  • Parchment paper
  • stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment or handheld mixer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring tools
cranberry cake squares with powdered sugar on top

How to Make Cranberry Cake

Cranberry Cake is so easy to make in one bowl and is studded with fresh cranberries that burst as it bakes. This simple recipe can be prepared in minutes — it’s filled with sweet and tart flavors in every buttery bite!

  1. Whip: Whip the eggs and sugar on high speed for 5 – 6 minutes.
    Pro Tip: The mixture will be a light yellow color and thick in consistency; it should form a ribbon.
  2. Mix: Add butter, orange zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix on high for 1 ½ – 2 more minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in the flour in ½ cup at a time.
  3. Dump In Baking Dish: Fold in the cranberries and spoon the cake batter into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes away clean.
  5. Slice and Serve: Allow the cake to completely cool before removing it from the pan and slicing it into pieces. Lightly dust with the powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!
cranberry cake collage process

Tips

  • Be sure to use pure almond extract, not imitation, for the best flavor. Almond extract is much stronger than vanilla extract, so use it sparingly.
  • Butter should be room temperature so that it blends easily.
  • You can omit the orange zest, but it really adds a citrus zing to the cake. 

Storage Tips

  • To Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the cooled cake for up to 3 months. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
cranberry cake squares on top of chopping board

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use frozen cranberries instead of fresh cranberries?

Yes, you can substitute frozen cranberries for fresh cranberries. Do not thaw the cranberries before adding them to the cake batter.

Can I use dried cranberries instead of fresh or frozen cranberries?

No, I do not recommend using dried cranberries in your cake. Dried cranberries will not produce the same results. Fresh cranberries soften and burst into the batter as they bake so you get that tart juicy flavor.

Do I have to bake my cake in a rectangular baking dish?

This cake can be made in a variety of different cake pans and baking dishes. It can also be made into cupcakes, bundt cake, and mini loaves. Make sure to watch the baking time and adjust as needed. For holiday gifting, it’s fun to bake this cake in 9-inch disposable cake pans with a domed lid.

cranberry cake

Other Easy Cake Recipes

5 from 1 vote
cranberry cake featured image

Cranberry Cake

Serves — 20
Cranberry Cake has a sweet buttery base studded with tart cranberries. It's an easy-to-make recipe that's perfectly festive and flavorful for any holiday or party. Perfect for Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup salted sweet cream butter room temperature
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange zest (1 medium size orange)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • tsp pure almond extract
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 12 ounce fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional garnish)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350*. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. Set it aside.
  • Using either a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment, or a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on high speed, whip the eggs and sugar for 5 – 6 minutes until light yellow in color and thickened in consistency. (The mixture should form a ribbon)
  • Add the softened butter, orange zest, vanilla extract and almond extract. Continue mixing on high for 1 ½ – 2 more minutes.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low and add the flour in ½ cup at a time. Mix just until combined.
  • Fold in the cranberries.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes away clean.
  • Allow the cake to completely cool before removing from the pan and slicing into 20 – 2 ½ inch x 2 inch pieces.
  • Lightly dust the cake with the powdered sugar before serving.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the cooled cake for up to 3 months. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Tips:
  • Be sure to use pure almond extract, not imitation, for the best flavor. Almond extract is much stronger than vanilla extract, so use it sparingly.
  • Butter should be room temperature so that it blends easily.
  • You can omit the orange zest, but it really adds a citrus zing to the cake. 
  • You can substitute frozen cranberries for the fresh cranberries. Do not thaw the cranberries before adding to the cake batter.
  • You can substitute unbleached all-purpose flour -or- gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 261IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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