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 112 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 was the  best recipe!  Made it for a luncheon and everyone wanted the recipe! Amazing! Easy to make and very straight forward! Ingredients you have on hand!

Merry Christmas!5 stars

Wonderful!  This was a great tasting cake and guests raved about it (most who said they don’t normally like cake)! Not sure we can wait until cranberries are in season again to make, but it will become a Christmas favorite. 5 stars

Can this be baked in a bundt pan, and if so, for how many minutes to bake?  Thank you and happy new year!5 stars

Did you ever make it in a bunt??? And how long did you cook it for ??? I’m trying it now… fingers crossed  

Looks delicious! One question, though. All purpose or self-rising flour? 

All-purpose flour

Plain or self rising flour??


The recipe says “all purpose.”

all purpose which is plain flour 

If the recipe says all purpose that’s what you use

Which is it, self-rising flour or all purpose..?.. I used Dried cranberries softened in very hot water!5 stars

This is a wonderful cake. I have made this same cake for several years. The only difference in my recipe is I add orange zest in the cake mix and top it with a orange glaze of powdered sugar, water and orange zest.5 stars

Ooooh that sounds equally delicious!

Does it need to be refrigerated ? I made the cake a day ahead. 

Do you use all purpose or self-rising flour?

All-purpose Flour

How does it ride

I made it and put it in Santa’s sleigh. He called me when he got home to say it rode just fine. 😉


This seems more like a quick bread which is denser and doesn’t really need to rise much, so the eggs are sufficient to provide leavening.

Wonder if you could substitute blueberries…

Exactly what I was thinking. I love cranberry/orange! Great idea for t juthe frosted glaze.

Yum! Blueberries with lemon zest…apples with cinnamon…can’t wair to explore the possibilities!

Looks awesome

Could this be made Gluten free. 

I’ve just made it with Robin Hood All
purpose gluten free and it’s come out fine. Cooling in the pan, will let you know what it tastes like! Doesn’t rise much but it’s a heavy mixture with lots of heavy fruit so more like cake fingers if that makes sense?5 stars

Can this be made with gluten free flour? Thank you

Bet this would be great with some added orange zest.

Thank you for this recipe cant wait to bake it

What adjustment needs to be made for high altitude on the Christmas cranberry cake?

I am going to try to make this at my 6000 feet altitude. Because it has no leavening, I don’t believe any adjustments need to be made. I will keep watch on it. It may need a few extra minutes in the oven, same temperature.

Hi! Thanks for the recipe! Sounds delicious! If I can’t get fresh cranberries, which would be the better substitute? Canned, frozen or dried?

Frozen berries are fine, I’ve used them. Dried are sweetened and would not produce the same cake. Canned are too saucy for this recipe.

My first choice is frozen. Just let them defrost on the counter overnight. 
Second would be dried. I use dried a lot in fruited muffins. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling watt for a few minutes to soften. Drain, pat dry and use. 
(As for canned, it won’t work. It’s already in a sauce, the cake may survive the bake, but it won’t be anything like this recipe. )

Has anyone tried this with gluten free 1 to 1 flour?

I did and also used Monk sweetener. I also added orange zest. Everyone loved it.

Could you please share with us which GF flour you used? I’d like to try to make this gluten free as well.

I used Robin Hood all purpose gluten free. Going to also try it with Red Mill 1:1 gluten free too. First attempt came out well5 stars

Would you be able to make with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar??5 stars

this sounds lovely. Question. Do you just throw the Almond out or add it when you add the Vanilla.
Thanks. Excited to try for the Holidays! Merry Christmas!!!

Add the almond when adding the vanilla.

sounds so good.

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