Cranberry Christmas Cake

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Cranberry Christmas Cake is incredibly simple to make and delicious. It has a nice balance of sweetness with a slight hint of tanginess. It feeds 16 which means it’s perfect for a holiday party.

Fresh cranberries are plump, deep red, tart, and in season during the holidays. This cake is a wonderful way to enjoy the fruit while it’s fresh. By the way, if you love fruit you should give our Instant Pot Strawberry Jam or Baked Strawberry Donuts a try!

A delicious Christmas cake recipe with cranberry.

Cranberry Christmas Cake

One of the things I love about this cake is that it is garnished with powdered sugar rather than covered in frosting.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big, big fan of frosting. You might even say I’m addicted.

But sometimes during the holidays, it can all get to be a bit too much. You know what I mean?

Between the fudge and the pies and the cakes, even I can start to feel like I want something that’s not as overpoweringly sweet.

If you have people in your world who aren’t into all the sugary confections, this cake could make a great treat for them.

Cranberry Christmas Cake on a plate

The Eggs and Sugar Peaks

For this recipe, you’ll be mixing the eggs and sugar to make a soft peak. They’re the magic that’s responsible for making the cake rise beautifully.

If you’re a seasoned baker, you know all about “peaks.” I’m sure you could probably teach me a thing or two!

If you’re new to this, it’s super easy.

(A quick and easy tip to know whether an egg is fresh is to put it in a bowl of cold water. If the egg sinks to the bottom and then lays over on its side, it’s fresh.)

To make the soft peak for our Cranberry Christmas Cake, beat the eggs and sugar until you can lift the beaters out of the mixture and see a little peak on the end.

Don’t overbeat the ingredients. You don’t want a hard peak – which means the sugar and butter stand straight up and are quite thick.

Cranberry Christmas Cake

Softening the Butter

If you’re anything like me, you sometimes forget to take the butter out of the fridge before baking.

You definitely can’t make this Christmas Cranberry Cake recipe with hard, cold butter.

You can soften the butter in the microwave, but you need to be careful that you don’t completely melt it.

The thing I hate about that method is that I wind up with a butter splattered microwave and I always, always, always melt it rather than soften it.

Melted butter will ruin all the work you did making sure you got a nice, soft peak with your eggs and sugar.

Instead, cut your butter into chunks and put it on a plate or saucer. Turn the faucet on hot and fill a glass.

Let the water sit in the glass until it feels warm to the touch.

Turn the glass upside down and cover the butter. Let it sit until the butter softens. It only takes a couple of minutes.

Cool, right?

It’ll make all the difference when you’re making this Christmas Cranberry Cake, and keep things moist and sumptuous!

Sprig of mint on the cake

5 from 180 votes

Cranberry Christmas Cake

Cranberry Christmas Cake is incredibly simple to make and delicious. It has a nice balance of sweetness with a slight hint of tanginess. It feeds 16 which means it's perfect for a holiday party.

Servings: 16
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 50 mins



  • 3 large eggs room temp
  • 2 C sugar
  • 3/4 C unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • Powdered sugar for garnish



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prep an 9 x13 pan with non-stick baking spray.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer until slightly thickened and light in color.
  • This mixture should form peaks when you lift the beaters out of the bowl.
  • Add the butter, almond and vanilla extract to the egg mixture and continue to mix.
  • Mix for two minutes.
  • Slowly add in the flour but just until combined.
  • Add the fresh cranberries.
  • Stir the cranberries to mix throughout.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting into slices.
  • Garnish with powder sugar.
  • Makes 16 servings.


Serving: 16g | Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg



Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe

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117 comments on “Cranberry Christmas Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    Everyone really liked this! Question though – in a 9×13 pan mine was only half as thick as the photo. Wondering if I did something wrong? I couldn’t really get peaks to form. Maybe I should beat the eggs before adding the sugar?

  2. 5 stars
    I made this cake for Christmas last year and it’s now a favorite! Especially with some added dark chocolate chips! I’m wondering, can I make this cake in a bundt or springform pan? If so, for how long should it bake and at what temperature? Thank you!

  3. Another way to quickly ‘thaw’ butter is to grate it on a box grater. I’ve been using that method for years. I will make this cake for Thanksgiving.

    1. Then you have a messy grater to clean, plus losing some butter due to sticking.  Remember to take it out of the frig.☺️

  4. This looks amazing! It seems to be less sweet and heavy than many holiday desserts.  I will have a few Thanksgiving guests with gluten sensitivities- has anyone made this using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour?  I will make it another time as written, but I want to be a good hostess and have an amazing dessert all guests can enjoy.

  5. 5 stars
    Years ago my stepmom made a cranberry cake that their housekeeper used to make at Christmas. I loved it. I wanted something a *little* healthier and easier to make. 
    There were so many sweets at Christmas this year that I waited a month to make this holiday cake. It was easy, though like others I could not get the “soft peaks” to form. I finally gave up after almost 10 minutes of mixing. I didn’t have almond extract so I doubled the vanilla. I used organic cranberries which only came in an 8oz bag. The batter was quite thick, almost like cookie dough rather than a cake batter. I checked the cake after 40 minutes and the toothpick came out clean. A big perk- the house smelled wonderful! 
    I made the tangy butter sauce from the original recipe I had and it was perfect. EVERYONE liked it a lot. My granddaughters (2 & 4) ate their entire piece (they usually eat frosting and leave the cake), one person who doesn’t like cranberries said it was good and that he’d like it again. I thought it was a bit too moist and that I should have baked it for another 5-7 minutes yet everyone said it was perfect and it would possibly have been too dry it I had baked it longer. 
    All in all, it was a big hit and I came home with only a single serving!

  6. Michelle R Southard-Thompson

    5 stars
    I just made this cake today… the aroma was absolutely heavenly while it was baking.  I love cranberries so, this is a huge go to cake for me now.  Thank you so much

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