Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe

Cranberry Christmas Cake

Introduction to the Recipe

The Cranberry Christmas Cake is a delightful embodiment of holiday cheer, a dessert that has woven its way into the fabric of festive traditions. This cake’s origins are as rich and varied as the cultures that embrace it, evolving from simple holiday recipes to a beloved seasonal staple. The unique allure of this cake lies in its harmonious blend of tart cranberries and sweet, buttery cake, a combination that tantalizes the taste buds and brings a sense of warmth and comfort during the chilly holiday season.

Its popularity has surged not just because of its delicious taste but also due to its simplicity. The cake is remarkably easy to prepare, making it a favorite among both seasoned bakers and those just starting their baking journey. The Cranberry Christmas Cake stands out for its vibrant red cranberries, which not only add a burst of flavor but also create a visually stunning presentation, embodying the festive spirit of Christmas. This cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of holiday flavors and traditions, bringing families and friends together during this special time of year.

Ingredients and Substitutions

The Cranberry Christmas Cake is a delightful blend of simple yet flavorful ingredients. Here’s what you need to create this festive treat:

  • Fresh Cranberries: 2 cups, for that quintessential tartness.
  • Sugar: 1 ½ cups, to balance the cranberries’ tartness.
  • All-Purpose Flour: 2 cups, forming the cake’s base.
  • Butter: ¾ cup, softened, for a rich, moist texture.
  • Eggs: 3 large, to bind the ingredients together.
  • Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon, for an aromatic touch.

For those seeking gluten-free options, replace all-purpose flour with an equal amount of your favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you’re catering to a vegan diet, substitute eggs with flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water) and use plant-based butter. Learn more about the Health Benefits of Cranberries.

Step-by-Step Baking Instructions

Creating the perfect Cranberry Christmas Cake involves a series of simple steps:

  1. Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. Mixing the Batter: In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together for about 5-7 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. This step is crucial for the cake’s texture.
  3. Adding Flavor: Mix in the softened butter and vanilla extract until well combined.
  4. Incorporating Dry Ingredients: Gently fold in the flour, being careful not to overmix as this can affect the cake’s texture.
  5. Adding Cranberries: Stir in the fresh cranberries, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  6. Baking: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cooling: Allow the cake to cool in the pan before slicing and serving.

Tips for Perfect Texture and Flavor:

  • Ensure your ingredients, especially butter and eggs, are at room temperature.
  • Be patient while mixing the eggs and sugar; this step adds volume to the cake.
  • Avoid overmixing the batter once the flour is added. For more detailed instructions and baking tips, check out Expert Baking Tips.

Variations of the Recipe

This cake is wonderfully adaptable. Here are some variations to try:

  • Nuts: Add chopped pecans or walnuts for a crunchy texture.
  • Berries: Swap cranberries with blueberries or raspberries for a different flavor profile.
  • Citrus Twist: Add the zest of an orange or lemon for a refreshing citrus note.
  • Spices: Incorporate spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for a warm, festive flavor.
  • Chocolate Chips: For a sweet twist, mix in some dark chocolate chips.

These variations allow you to customize the Cranberry Christmas Cake to suit your taste preferences or to simply try something new each holiday season.

Serving Suggestions

The presentation of the Cranberry Christmas Cake can elevate it from a simple dessert to a festive centerpiece. Here are some tips for serving:

  • Dust with Powdered Sugar: Just before serving, lightly dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar for a snowy, festive look.
  • Garnish: Add a few fresh cranberries or a sprig of mint on the side for a pop of color.
  • Serving Size: Cut the cake into small squares or slices. This cake is rich, so a little goes a long way.

When it comes to pairing, this cake’s versatile flavor complements a variety of beverages:

  • Coffee or Tea: Serve with a hot cup of coffee or tea. The warmth of the beverage pairs beautifully with the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Milk: A classic pairing, especially if serving the cake as a dessert for children.
  • Dessert Wine: For an adult gathering, pair with a sweet dessert wine that contrasts the tartness of the cranberries.

Storage and Freezing

Proper storage is key to maintaining the cake’s freshness and texture:

  • Room Temperature: Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Refrigeration: If you prefer, you can refrigerate the cake for up to a week. However, be aware that the refrigerator can dry out baked goods.

For longer storage, freezing is an excellent option:

  • Freezing: Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Thawing: To thaw, leave the cake at room temperature for several hours or overnight. Avoid microwaving as it can alter the texture.
  • Serving After Freezing: Once thawed, if the cake has lost some of its crispness, briefly warm it in the oven to revive its texture.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can enjoy your Cranberry Christmas Cake in the best possible way, whether freshly baked or as a delightful treat later on.

Health Benefits

The Cranberry Christmas Cake is not only a treat for the taste buds but also offers some nutritional benefits, primarily from its star ingredient, cranberries. These vibrant berries are a powerhouse of health benefits:

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Cranberries are high in antioxidants, which help in fighting free radicals and reducing oxidative stress.
  • Vitamin C and Fiber: They are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, contributing to overall health and digestion.
  • Low in Calories: Cranberries themselves are low in calories, making them a healthy addition to the cake.

While the cake is a dessert and should be enjoyed in moderation, it’s worth noting that it does contain sugar and butter, contributing to its calorie count. For those watching their dietary intake, it’s advisable to enjoy this cake in small portions. The inclusion of cranberries adds a nutritional boost, making it a slightly healthier option compared to other holiday desserts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make This Cake Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can bake the cake a day or two in advance. Just store it in an airtight container at room temperature.

Can I Use Dried Cranberries Instead of Fresh?

Fresh cranberries are recommended for their tartness and moisture, but in a pinch, you can use dried cranberries. Soak them in hot water for a few minutes to plump them up before using.

Is This Cake Freezable?

Absolutely! Wrap the cake well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Can I Make This Cake Gluten-Free?

Yes, simply substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.

How Do I Know When the Cake is Done?

The cake is done when it’s lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Can I Add Other Fruits to This Cake?

Certainly! Feel free to experiment with adding other berries or fruits like blueberries or chopped apples.

Is There a Vegan Version of This Recipe?

Yes, use plant-based butter and a vegan egg substitute like flax eggs.

By addressing these common queries, you can bake the Cranberry Christmas Cake with confidence, knowing you’re prepared for various dietary needs and preferences.

Additional Cranberry Recipes

Cranberries, with their vibrant color and tart flavor, are a versatile ingredient in many holiday recipes. Beyond the Cranberry Christmas Cake, here are some delightful cranberry-based desserts and creative culinary uses:

  • Cranberry Orange Muffins: These muffins are a perfect blend of tart cranberries and citrusy orange, ideal for a festive breakfast or brunch.
  • Cranberry Cheesecake: A creamy cheesecake with a tangy cranberry sauce topping makes for an elegant dessert.
  • Cranberry Pecan Pie: Add cranberries to your traditional pecan pie for a burst of tartness.
  • Cranberry Sauce: Homemade cranberry sauce, with its simple preparation, can be a great addition to your holiday table.
  • Cranberry Glazed Ham: For a savory twist, use a cranberry glaze over your holiday ham for a balance of sweet and tart flavors.

These recipes showcase the versatility of cranberries, making them a staple ingredient for holiday cooking and baking.

Holiday Baking Tips

Holiday baking is a cherished tradition in many households. Here are some tips to make your holiday baking, including the Cranberry Christmas Cake, a success:

  • Plan Ahead: Read through recipes in advance and ensure you have all the ingredients and equipment needed.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: For most baking recipes, including our cake, ensure ingredients like butter and eggs are at room temperature.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality ingredients for the best results, especially when it comes to the main components like cranberries.
  • Baking in Batches: If you’re baking multiple items, organize your baking schedule to manage oven space and time efficiently.
  • Incorporating the Cake into Meals: The Cranberry Christmas Cake can be a versatile addition to your holiday meals. Serve it as a dessert after dinner, or cut into smaller pieces for a sweet treat with coffee or tea. It can also be a delightful addition to a holiday brunch table.

Remember, holiday baking is not just about the end product but also about the joy and memories created in the process. Happy baking!

Cranberry Christmas Cake recipe

Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe

This Old Fashioned Spaghetti Recipe brings the authentic taste of Italian cuisine right into your kitchen. Perfect for a comforting family meal, it combines al dente spaghetti with a rich, homemade tomato sauce, infused with fresh herbs and spices. Easy to prepare, this dish is not only delicious but also a journey into the heart of traditional Italian cooking.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 400 kcal


  • Large pot for boiling pasta
  • Skillet or saucepan for the sauce
  • Colander for draining pasta
  • Wooden spoon or spatula for stirring
  • Cheese grater for Parmesan cheese


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting optional


  • Preheat Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
  • Beat Eggs and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together using an electric mixer. Continue beating for about 5-7 minutes until the mixture is light in color and fluffy. This process is crucial as it adds volume to the cake.
  • Add Butter and Vanilla: To the egg mixture, add the softened butter and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until these ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Fold in Flour: Gently fold in the all-purpose flour into the mixture. Be careful not to overmix at this stage, as it can affect the cake's texture.
  • Incorporate Cranberries: Stir in the fresh cranberries, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Bake the Cake: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The cake is done when it's lightly golden on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool and Serve: Allow the cake to cool in the pan. Once cooled, you can dust the top with powdered sugar for a festive look. Slice and serve.
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cake can also be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.


  • For added depth, consider a splash of red wine in the sauce.
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes can introduce a gentle heat.
  • Fresh herbs yield the best flavor, but dried herbs are a suitable substitute.
  • The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for extended storage.
Keyword Cranberry Christmas Cake

Laura Mariano

Written by Laura Mariano

Laura Mariano is a food blogger who founded Recipes By to make cooking easier. Growing up on a farm in Spain, Laura was inspired by exquisite dishes prepared using simple ingredients. Laura Mariano is particularly known for making anyone can cook.

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