Baking Cranberry Christmas Cake Will Be Your New Holiday Tradition!

Cranberry Christmas Cake

yield: 16 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 40 MINUTES

total time: 55 MINUTES

Ingredients

For the cake:

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Directions

1

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.

2

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix eggs with granulated sugar for about 5 minutes until the mixture gets fluffy and doubles in size.

3

Add butter and vanilla, and mix for another couple of minutes. Fold in the flour until combined and then fold in the cranberries.

4

Pour batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-43 minutes until lightly browned. The middle will be cooked through when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool.

5

For the Glaze:

Whisk powdered sugar with orange juice and orange zest until smooth. Drizzle it over the cake, and serve. YUM! This made 16 two-inch squares.

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This cranberry cake recipe is all things merry and bright!

cranberry christmas cake

Looking for a festive cake to bake this holiday season?

If you’re in the mood for an easy-to-bake holiday-themed dessert to share with your loved ones, check out this unique cranberry Christmas cake recipe! It’s become a Hip2Save team favorite over the years, and we’re hoping you’ll love it just as much as we do. If you have any leftover fresh cranberries from the holidays, this is a great way to use them.

Cranberry Christmas cake slices on plate

The result is a sweet/tart cranberry orange cake that you can cut up and serve into bars as a brunch treat or special dessert. The red and white color is beautiful and the texture is more like a quick bread. Plus it tastes sweet, but not overly sweet.

pouring glaze on cranberry christmas cake

Hooray for a simple to bake treat!

This cake is so easy and definitely suitable for those that don’t bake often or want to switch up from traditional cakes. With just six easy main ingredients, you’ll be able to whip it up in no time!

Drizzle the top with a simple orange glaze to take this sweet and tart treat to the next level.

ingredients for cranberry christmas cake

Tips for baking the best cranberry cake:

  • Although this recipe calls for fresh cranberries, frozen cranberries will work as well. I would let them thaw on the counter first so they will be easier to incorporate into the batter. If you’re not a cranberry fan, then blueberries would be a yummy alternative!
  • The orange zest and juice are kind of optional but I love the flavor it adds so much! I had tangerines on hand and used that instead of oranges and they worked great, too.
  • The addition of white chocolate chips would be yummy. Using white chocolate and swapping the glaze for cream cheese frosting would result in a cake similar to Starbucks cranberry bliss bars! YUM.

butter stick in batter

mixing eggs and sugar in a batter bowl

mixing ingredients

pouring in cranberries to christmas cake

mixing cranberries

spreading cranberry Christmas cake in a baking dish

squeezing oranges

pouring juice in measuring cup

zesting orange for glaze

orange glaze being poured onto cake

baked christmas cranberry cake in the oven

pouring glaze on christmas cake

cutting cranberry cake

holding cranberry cake slice


Print

Cranberry Christmas Cake

yield: 16 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 40 MINUTES

total time: 55 MINUTES

Sweet and tart vanilla cake with a zesty orange glaze for a perfect holiday dessert.

Ingredients

For the cake:

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Directions

1

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.

2

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix eggs with granulated sugar for about 5 minutes until the mixture gets fluffy and doubles in size.

3

Add butter and vanilla, and mix for another couple of minutes. Fold in the flour until combined and then fold in the cranberries.

4

Pour batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-43 minutes until lightly browned. The middle will be cooked through when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool.

5

For the Glaze:

Whisk powdered sugar with orange juice and orange zest until smooth. Drizzle it over the cake, and serve. YUM! This made 16 two-inch squares.

Additional Notes

Adapted from BarefootInTheKitchen.com.

Brought to you by Hip2Save.

woman holding tray of christmas cranberry cake bars

My family LOVES this Christmas cranberry cake!

I think the texture is more like a muffin or coffee cake, and it is so delicious served with coffee. The glaze adds an awesome orange flavor. I like to cut up the squares and serve them on a tray with fresh rosemary and a few extra cranberries so the presentation is festive.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Cranberry Christmas Cake on a Platter

Check out what my teammate Bryn (Collin’s sister!) has to say about this recipe:

“This cake is the ultimate holiday treat! It tastes like Christmas and is perfect for breakfast, dessert, or anytime & anywhere in between! It has become a family favorite that we make every year!”


Need a last-minute decor idea? Pick up some extra oranges for Pomander balls!


Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 10 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.


Join The Discussion

Comments 87

  1. Jackie

    Looks divine! I’ll try it this year, thanks!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Enjoy and thanks Jackie!

  2. Love From Munchkintime.com

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing! – Love

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Yay – thanks!

  3. Kase120

    We do this with a sweet, not orange glaze….more like liquid sugar cookie frosting……very yummy!! Been a huge hit around the holidays for years πŸ™‚ thanks for posting πŸ™‚

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Oh awesome! πŸ‘

    • Andrea

      How do you make the sweet frosting? I don’t like orange too much. Thank you.

      • Erin

        Use water or milk instead of juice.

    • kase120

      Our recipe for the sauce is 1 C sugar, 1 pint whipping cream, some canned milk, 1 stick butter, 1 t vanilla
      Combine all ingredients in a double boiler and melt over medium heat until thickened. We store the sauce (or glaze) separately in a jar in the fridge. πŸ™‚

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Thanks for sharing! Yum

      • laura

        Yummy, thanks for sharing..What kind of canned milk do you use?

      • Janea

        This sounds yummy. How much canned milk do you use?

  4. Laurie

    Does this recipe not need any baking soda or baking powder? thanks

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      No it’s interesting. If you beat the eggs and sugar for that long it gets super fluffy. Thanks

  5. Kay

    Made this a few weeks ago! Yummy and not overly sweet (without glaze)

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Awesome – thanks Kay!

  6. Sue

    I think I’d try adding some white choc chips & cream cheese frosting to make it similar to Starbucks cranberry bars

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great idea!! Thanks sue πŸ‘πŸ»

    • liz

      Yummm

    • Amy

      That’s exactly what I was thinking……..Their cranberry bars are the best

    • doubletrouble

      Could you make this into muffins?

  7. AJ

    Can we freeze this if we have leftovers?

    • Erin

      I haven’t made this, but I’ve frozen almost everything at one point or another. I’d probably try freezing without the glaze, though it probably wouldn’t matter. Just wrap well.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I haven’t tried but I’m sure you could. -thanks Aj!

  8. HeatherG

    Looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Emulvey2001

    Great way to use those fresh cranberries that have been sitting in my freezer! πŸ™‚

    • Maggie

      Emulvy2001, if you want a healthy, non-fattening use for those frozen berries, put a few of those extra frozen cranberries in (real) oatmeal, with the cooking water, along with some chopped fresh apples and walnuts for a very healthy breakfast! (Use old fashioned oats, not quick-cook!) Put a few them in smoothies with other fruit for a tart, nutritious burst!

      • Jessicac

        Love your oatmeal idea!!

  10. jennifer

    Yum! thanks Lina!

  11. Jill Werda

    You made my heart sing when I saw this!! This has been a family tradition of our for over a hundred years! It’s so delicious!! πŸ™‚

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Really? That’s so neat. Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about traditions ❀️

  12. Valerie H

    This looks so good! We’ve recently had to go gluten free because my son was diagnosed with celiac disease. I usually make cranberry cake on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. Just in case anyone else is GF I make the Pioneer Woman’s Cranberry “Pie” but substitute the all purpose flour with GF all purpose flour. It turned out great! I think because there’s less than a cup of flour a straight substitute works. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/nantucket-cranberry-pie/

    • JO

      I made the this recipe today with gluten free, Cup4Cup, flour. Turned out great. Didn’t change the recipe at all, just the flour. Cup4Cup subs so great in all recipes I’ve made gluten free.

      • Cathy

        thanks

  13. Abby

    I’m so gonna make this! Thanks Lina! Quick question could I also try this with blueberries and just switch the orange to lemon????

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Awesome idea!! – thanks Abby
      I’m so trying that!

  14. Susan

    This looks delicious! I will be making this, for sure!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Enjoy Susan!

  15. Juanita

    Could you do this is a bundt or loaf pan instead??

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I would think so. If you click through on the original recipe we linked under title, people have been commenting they have baked in loaf pans. πŸ‘

  16. Melissa

    I made this recipe for Thanksgiving! Loved it! I followed this recipe exactly (with the exception of omitting orange zest) and it was so tasty. I will definitely be making this again!

  17. Michelle

    Holy Crap! I’m just now seeing this! This is MY recipe that I’ve been making for years! The only difference is that I don’t do the glaze, but I add sliced almonds, chocolate chips, and almond extract to balance the tartness of the cranberries. I call mine a cranberry almond tart and bake it in a pie pan. It’s a great holiday dessert but also goes great with a cup of coffee in the morning!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Yum! Thanks for sharing Michelle! πŸ˜€

    • Donna

      I make a similar recipe using almond extract and that is devine. I bet orange flavor is wonderful too.

  18. Tracy

    Thank you so much for this recipe. Our couponing and frugality includes not wasting what we have. Every year our local grocery has fresh cranberries on a BOGO and every year I have a left over bag. Now I have a great recipe to use those cranberries!

    • Lina D

      Yes! Enjoy. πŸ‘

  19. Rachel

    Someone made this for work today and it was WONDERFUL

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      How awesome – thanks for sharing!

  20. Erika

    My daughter requested a cranberry cake for her birthday cake in March this year. I made this after hearing about it. I think this is a new staple in our house! It is so good!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yay! That’s so great – thanks for sharing ❀️

  21. Olgraygirl

    Yum! Dessert one night-breakfast next morning-love it!

  22. Ashley

    This looks amazing!!! I love anything cranberry. FYI fresh ocean spray cranberries are .99 at my Aldi – but almost triple that price at Kroger. I grabbed a few extra for my freezer and this will be a perfect use for them later in the winter! Thank you πŸ’

    • Joy

      My Aldi’s had OS fresh cranberries for $.59! And they were super fresh and firm still. ☺

  23. Juma

    This looks delicious I can’t wait to try this I live cranberries. I have made quite a few of Justapinch recipes and they are awesome. Thanks for another great dish happy Turkey day.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes -Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. Carlene

    Can’t wait to try this! I make desserts once a month for community meals that goes out to the shut-ins. Always looking for something new and easy.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      How nice of you! Enjoy πŸ˜‰

  25. countrygal

    This looks yummy, thanks so much for the recipe, I’ll be trying this for sure.
    Happy Thanksgiving

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great! Enjoy this, and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  26. karen

    Looks delicious, Lina! Could you make this with Craisins?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I’m sure you could – maybe consider lowering sugar as those are sweetened. Thanks so much!

  27. Rosamag

    Has anyone used a springform pan for this recipe?

  28. Arpita Patel

    Although I’ve made countless fruit cakes, this was my first attempt at an authentic Christmas cake and I now wonder why I hadn’t made one before! I followed the recipe exactly and stored it as prescribed for a month before unwrapping. It is a resounding success – moist, fruity and rich. I used rum instead of brandy and next time I might try port and soak the fruit overnight. But still, no complaints. It makes a generous sized cake. Many thumbs up!

  29. Carol

    Just made your cake last night!! It is a keeper!
    The drizzle on top adds an elegance😊😊

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      YAY!! That makes me so happy! Thanks for sharing <3

  30. Jo Ann

    I’ve made this for years and we love it, but have always used almond rather than vanilla extract. So good πŸ™‚

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yum! Thanks for sharing πŸ₯°

  31. CarrieN

    This looks great! I will add it to my Christmas morning menu!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yum! Enjoy and Merry Christmas! πŸŽ„

  32. MaryKay

    Hi Lina, My husband and I made this tonight and it is amazingly delicious!🍊🍊 We added some orange zest to the cake batter as well as the glaze. This is definitely going to be more than a yearly tradition. We have a friend who works in the Cranberry Bogs in Wisconsin so we can get fresh cranberries year round. Thank you for another big hit!!😁🍊

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I am so glad! That is neat! Merry Christmas MaryKay, thanks for sharing your success.

  33. Jen

    I’ve been making this for years, since I first saw it posted on your site. People love it! I omit the glaze and it is still delicious since the cake is so sweet. People have started calling it “Jen’s Cranberry Cake”. πŸ™‚

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ohhhh love this! Merry Christmas Jen!

  34. Pumpkin1

    Whoaaa that’s awesome! It looks so elegant definitely trying this. Thank you

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yay! You’ll love it πŸ₯°

  35. t

    This is an incredible recipe. Made them into cupcakes this year. 350 on convection for 20-22 minutes. Fill the cupcake liner 1/2 full to 2/3 full.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for that info!

  36. Anne

    I made this last year when this was posted. This is very good. Everyone loved it. This is such a nice recipe and easy to make and really delicious. I had planned to search for the recipe to make again but here it is. Thanks for posting.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I am so glad! Yay! Merry Christmas πŸŽ„πŸ’•

  37. Jill

    I’ve also made this every year since its original post. Instead of the orange glaze I make a basic butter/confectionary sugar/milk glaze but add almond extract. It makes the cranberries taste like cherries. Always a hit. And it does freeze beautifully even with the frosting.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ohhh love that idea, YUM. Thanks Jill!

  38. MaryKay

    Since Lina posted this a few years back, I’ve been making it for Christmas πŸŽ„ Easter 🐰✝️ and in the fall when cranberries come fresh from the Bogs in Wisconsin. It’s super easy to make and super delicious πŸ˜‹ Thank you Lina!πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that’s so fun to hear that this is a fav. Merry Christmas MaryKay!

  39. KatieM

    Do you add the orange glaze out of the oven, when cake is almost cool, or completely cooled? Thanks! Not a baker, but just made this for Christmas this year!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I think you can do either! I usually let it cool for a bit though. Enjoy and Merry Christmas Katie!

  40. Eva Biggs

    Oooh that looks good.

  41. Tanya

    Do you refrigerate the leftover portion, or leave it out?

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