December 23, 2019

RECIPE: Cranberry Orange Holiday Cake

Cranberry Orange Holiday Cake

I don't think I had ever used fresh cranberries in a recipe in my life until I made this cake. They intimidated me! But I had no idea that they aren't a complicated ingredient--you don't have to do anything special to them.

This cake is SO GOOD and the perfect dish to share at a holiday party. It's sweet, but not like the typical cake we're used to. The flavor reminds me a bit of shortbread (only the texture is soft and a bit spongy, with fresh tart cranberries and a subtle orange flavor throughout). This cake is actually great for breakfast with tea or coffee, too.

This recipe is a modified version of a recipe called "Cranberry Christmas Cake"--my mom introduced me to it. That original version is amazing as well, but I don't think anything goes better with cranberries than orange, and so I had to try making a version with the two flavors together. Oh, and chocolate? That just makes it over the top!

Definitely make this while cranberries are on sale and easy to find at any supermarket. It's a recipe that everyone will be asking for, too--more unique than typical Christmas cookies/bars, while still being festive and delicious!

Cranberry Orange Holiday Cake

Here is a link to a printer friendly copy

Cranberry Orange Holiday Cake


1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cups), softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips are great!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 pan to keep cake from sticking.

Beat the eggs and sugar together in a mixer on medium speed for at least five minutes, until combined well and light in color, almost double the original volume (I would actually set a timer for this, so you make sure to mix it for the full five minutes).

Add the softened butter and vanilla and mix for another 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and mix lightly just until combined (don't over mix with the flour). Gently fold in the whole bag of cranberries.

Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is just beginning to brown. Let the cake cool completely before cutting. If you cut it while it's still warm, it will be very crumbly and fall apart on you. (It was still a little warm in the photo I took above, which is why it looks so soft--if you let it sit longer to cool, it'll stay together more.) I hope you enjoy it!


  1. YUM! I have to try this! I love the cranberry/orange combo! Looks amazing!!

  2. This looks so delicious!

  3. Hi Katie! I made this cake for Christmas Eve and everybody loved it! I couldn't find fresh cranberries in two stores I went to but found some orange flavored dried cranberries so I figured those would work pretty well. Thank you for the recipe!

  4. All-purpose flour or self-rising?

    1. It's all-purpose flour (sorry, I should have specified). The cake doesn't use leavening because the beating of the eggs and sugar for so long make it fluffy. I have no idea how that works, but it does! haha

  5. Hi Katie! I made this cake for xmas day breakfast, it was great! Next time I will leave the choc chips out to give all the flavor to the cranberries (which I love!). Thanks for sharing, I enjoy new recipes!


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