Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

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

Cranberry Christmas Cake

Published By Jill
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.

5 from 68 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 16
Calories 243 kcal



  • 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: 16gCalories: 243kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 13mgPotassium: 31mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 310IUCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenfunwithmy3sons or tag #kitchenfunwithmy3sons!


Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe

about me


I am a mom of 3 awesome boys that love to get crafty with me in the kitchen. Our blog is full of all sorts creative food ideas for the Holidays, Party Ideas, Free Printables, Featured DIY Ideas, Recipes, & Kids Craft Ideas! Read more...

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This recipe is AWESOME!!!! I made it this evening before my wife got home from work. She immediately commented on how good the house smelled when she walked in and couldn’t wait for the cake to cool completely before digging into it.
One change I made came as a result of not reading the weight of the bag of cranberries. When I got home from the grocery store, I immediately started making the cake batter and saw that the bag of cranberries I had bought only contained 8 oz. and not the 12 oz. required by the recipe. I made up the difference with fresh blueberries, and boy did that turn out to be a great solution! WOW! I’ll definitely make this recipe again the exact same way. My wife and I have already gone through about 1/3 of the cake. Thanks for this fantastic recipe.5 stars

Does this work making one day ahead?

Absolutely.  I made mine on Tuesday for Thanksgiving.  It’s an awesome cake!  I’m going to stock up on fresh cranberries and freeze them.5 stars

What does the 2 C mean in measurements?

The C is for cups

Can this cake be frozen?

I love this cake! It’s my  “go to” when I need to make a quick dessert. I now keep a bag of cranberries in the freezer, just in case. I put a little cinnamon in the batter and sprinkle Sugar in the Raw on top instead of powdered sugar. Simple flavor but delicious. My favorite winter treat! 5 stars

This is probably my favorite cake on the planet.  Outstanding.   Be prepared – 12 oz of fresh cranberries is about 3 cups.   I thought that many sour cranberries would not be good but it’s perfect.  Trust me.  

I made this a bundt pan and added white chocolate chips…. turned out great !5 stars

How long did you bake in Bundt pan?5 stars

Terrific take along to a holiday gathering. So good, everyone loved it. Have to forward the recipe to a few people. Love having easy, good, crowd pleasing recipes. Thanks.5 stars

Outstanding cake!  Do you think fresh frozen (thawed) cherries would work in this recipe?  I have some in my freezer that need to be used.5 stars

This was really delicious! I loved the almond flavor and the texture was great. I added white chocolate chips to mine too (in the batter and sprinkled on top). One note – in your blog post you talk about mixing the butter and sugar together to form soft peaks, but in the recipe it says to mix the eggs and sugar together for the peaks. 

Thanks! 5 stars

I made last year everyone liked made several ! Light best part powdered sugar sprinkled on not so sweet.

Delicious! Easy to make and so good. 5 stars

Do you think this would be good in a Bundt pan?

So good. My sister-in-law made some for us recently, and I made it twice these holidays. Thanks so much. 5 stars

When I substituted Splenda for the sugar, the cake didn’t rise.    Can you suggest another artificial sweetener (there are several diabetics in my family)?

Sometimes I use half Splenda and half sugar in recipes. You might try that.

My daughter shared this with us and it’s to die for.  She cut down the almond flavoring, added orange zest to the cake and also used an orange glaze with this, which she poured on a hot cake that she thoroughly poked with a fork:
Orange Glaze
1/4 cup butter 
1/2 Cup milk
2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate 
3/4 cup powdered sugar 
Microwave. Stir. Pour on hot cake.
Because I am old and have health issues, I would cut down the glaze, but it was yummy.5 stars

Loved this recipe! Will definitely make it again. Tart with sweet – yum!

I love this cake! Works well with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free baking blend. Just found some frozen cranberries and there is a Christmas movie marathon on Hallmark this weekend in the middle of march!5 stars

Just made this, couldn’t wait for it to cool, I had to check it to make sure it was baked through, it’s delicious! I had to bake a few minutes longer as I used frozen cranberries, that were about 3/4’s thawed so when I mixed the cranberries in it kinda of chilled and seized the batter making it hard to smooth out in the pan. But over all a great recipe, love the tart of the cranberries and the simplicity of the recipe. Thank you. 5 stars

I made this and the flavor is fantastic but after cooking the cake was mushy inside ( it wasn’t raw but mushy).  Any idea of what I did wrong?