Monday, December 26, 2016

Orange Cranberry Cake

This lovely cake is perfect for Christmas dinner!
The orange and cranberry flavors are light and refreshing after a heavy meal. And those sugared cranberries on top..... so cute for the holiday! It looks fancy schmancy but is super easy to whip up AND to decorate. Plus, the cake can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. 
What are you waiting for?

Orange Cranberry Cake
(ever so slightly adapted from Baker By Nature)

1 cup butter, room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 large orange (about 1 Tbsp)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp flour

Orange Frosting
1 brick cream cheese (8 oz), room temp
1/2 cup butter, room temp
4 cups icing sugar
zest of 1 large orange (about 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
pinch salt
2 Tbsp milk

1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 3, 8 inch pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. 
Prepare cake - In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla until well combined, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. There should still be some floury streaks throughout. (Don't over mix!)
Gently stir in the sour cream and orange juice.

Toss the 2 1/2 cups cranberries in 2 Tbsp of flour to coat (this helps prevent them sinking down in the cake). 

Fold them into the batter.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake at 350 until cake is done - about 35 to 40 minutes. Tops will be golden brown.

Let cool in pans for about 8 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, invert onto wire rack to cool completely. 
Prepare frosting - Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Gradually beat in icing sugar, orange zest & juice, salt, and cream until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. (You may need to add a bit more icing sugar or cream.)
Assemble cake - Place one layer of cake on a serving platter. Top with about a third of the frosting. 

Repeat with 2nd, and 3rd layers.

Place cake in fridge to set up a bit while you prepare the sugared cranberries.
Prepare cranberries - Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Simmer for 3 minutes then remove from heat. 
Stir in the 1 cup of cranberries (if using frozen then do not allow them to thaw first). Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries to a wire rack and allow to dry for 20 or so minutes (cranberries should be tacky but not wet). 
After 20 minutes, roll the cranberries in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

Let the cranberries dry for another 30 minutes. Decorate cake as desired with the cranberries.

FYI - The sugared cranberries are safe to eat but taste quite sour if you do eat them. 

Chill until ready to serve!

You can make this cake the day before and will last very nicely, covered, in the fridge. Just take it out about an hour before you want to serve it so it can come up to room temp. 
Impress your family and friends with this beautiful and delicious dessert perfect for any family gathering! 
If you would like to see the original recipe, pop over to Baker By Nature - HERE

We're sharing over at Carole's Chatter. Be sure to pop by and say hi!


  1. It's not a Christmas Party without...Orange Cranberry Cake! I love how you topped this cake, I haven't ever made sugared cranberries and now I know how!

    1. Right!?! This was the first time I had made sugared cranberries and I really loved how pretty they look :)

  2. I'm obsessed with orange and cranberry this holiday season! And this cake embodies those flavours perfectly. Love those layers and the sugared cranberries on top are a nice touch!

  3. This is a gorgeous cake, Jo and Sue. It would look beautiful at any holiday feast. I am definitely pinning to try. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love that this is so festive, yet simple! And the orange icing... WOW- that's something I wasn't expecting. But it's perfect because it's such a fabulous combo!

    1. Thank you! I love how festive this cake is too :)

  5. Orange and cranberry is one of my favourite holiday flavour combos... it's just so sunny and bright and fresh! This looks like the perfect way to finish off off a fancy celebratory meal.