This Cranberry Cake has only a handful of ingredients and comes together in a snap! A moist butter cake bursting with flavor is speckled with tart, sweet cranberries. It is truly the most perfect holiday cake. This simple cranberry Christmas cake will be on your dessert table again and again!
Cranberry and almond flavors are bursting out of this moist, simple buttery cake and will whisk you away to a winter wonderland.
As I took my first bite I knew this was THE cake of the season — perfectly flavored and a crowd-pleaser.
Even my picky family loves everything about this Christmas cranberry cake. My nieces literally picked the pan clean!
Need a handheld treat instead? You’ll love these cranberry shortbread cookies!
And you can never go wrong with sweet and tangy Cranberry Bliss Bars just like Starbucks.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour – Regular all-purpose flour will do it, though you should be able to use a 1:1 gluten-free blend if needed.
- Sugar – Granulated is preferred here, as brown sugar would add too much moisture to the batter.
- Butter and Eggs – Bring these to room temperature to ensure a well-combined, smooth batter for your cranberry Christmas cake.
- Cranberries – The star of the show! Be sure to give them a quick rinse and pat dry.
Then, pick them over and remove any discolored or overly soft berries along with stems and sediment.
- Sliced Almonds – Add a lovely crunch and perfectly complement the other flavors in this cranberry Christmas cake recipe.
Tips for Making Cranberry Christmas Cake
- Be patient when creaming the sugar and eggs.
The eggs act as the leavener in this cranberry Christmas cake since there isn’t any baking powder or baking soda.
You’ll need to beat these with an electric mixer for 5 whole minutes, until the mixture thickens and increases by almost half. If you stop too soon, the cake will fall flat.
- Handle cranberries carefully.
Fold them into the batter by hand so they don’t get crushed or broken by the mixer.
If you’ll be using frozen, thawed berries, toss them in a little bit of flour first. This will prevent the color from bleeding into the cake and also help prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom.
- Keep the almond topping browned, not burnt.
If the almonds start getting too browned too quickly, you can tent a piece of aluminum over the pan for the remaining cooking time.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Electric Hand Mixer – I’ve had this one in my kitchen forever, and it still works beautifully.
- 9×13 Baking Dish – This set is one of my favorites! It comes with a lid for easy storage and is great for casseroles too.
Storing Leftover Christmas Cranberry Cake
For the best texture, store this cranberry cake at room temperature loosely covered. It will keep for up to 5 days.
You can use an airtight container if you’d like, but it will cause the crust to soften quite a bit. If stored in the refrigerator, cranberry Christmas cake is likely to dry out.
Cranberry Cake Recipe FAQ
Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the very center of the cake, avoiding any cranberries if possible.
When it comes out clean, your Christmas cranberry cake is done! If you see a smear of wet batter, it needs a few more minutes in the oven.
Yes! In fact, I highly recommend grabbing a few extra bags of fresh cranberries when they appear in stores for this reason. Simply toss the bags in the freezer so you always have some on hand.
You’ll need to thaw frozen cranberries before using them in this recipe. Otherwise, it will cause the batter to become extra thick and will affect the total baking time.
The thicker the batter, the better! This helps prop up the berries and slow the rate of sinking as the cake bakes.
It’s also important to gently fold the berries into the batter so they are evenly distributed throughout.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Simple Cake Recipes
Cranberry Cake for Christmas + Video
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries, or frozen and thawed
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13 baking pan. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs for 5 minutes with an electric mixer on medium. The volume of the mixture will increase by almost half and will be thickened. Do not skip this step. The eggs will work as the leavening the cake needs to rise.
- Add butter and extracts and beat for 2 more minutes. Slowly add flour and beat until combined. Fold in cranberries.
- Using a spatula, pour and smooth into prepared pan. Sprinkle almonds over top.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting.
- Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published November 2013, updated and republished November 2023
Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.