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