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Cranberry Christmas Cake

This easy Cranberry Christmas Cake has a light streusel topping and it’s perfect for dessert, a holiday morning breakfast, or for homemade gifts.

a closeup of cranberry christmas cake topped with fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary

The first thing I do on Christmas morning is make a cup of coffee, turn up the heat, and set out this Cranberry Christmas Cake that I’ve baked the day before.

It’s that magical time of the morning when the rest of my house is quiet and peaceful. For a few precious minutes, everything is magical and still. When my girls were younger, they’d come bursting into my bedroom, begging me to get up because Santa had come and could they please please please open their presents now??

I’ll admit that I’d trade my beloved quiet mornings for just one more of the chaotic ones. But while the kids are still young, and I’m the one waking them up these days, they do still get excited on Christmas morning.

Is there anything more magical than Christmas morning?

I always make a few things ahead of time so I can relax and enjoy the day as much as possible. This year it’s Cranberry Christmas Cake, a Hash Brown Casserole, and later in the day, a Warm Christmas Cocktail.

a closeup of a slice of cranberry christmas cake

Tips for making Cranberry Christmas Cake

  • Despite its name, I make this cake year-round. It’s especially good for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but delicious any time of the year.
  • When I make Cranberry Cake outside of the holidays, I’ll often replace the cranberries with fresh blueberries. Everything else in the recipe remains the same.
  • Take the time to make some sugared cranberries for the topping. I’m constantly scolding myself for not remembering to do this in time because it makes this Cranberry Christmas Cake that much better. I make them every year but they get eaten long before I start baking for Christmas Day. They’re delicious on their own and are gorgeous as a topping!
  • Cranberry Cake makes a wonderful homemade gift. I pick up gift boxes every year after Christmas and use them all year long. Just add a big bow!
cranberry christmas cake topped with fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary

Can frozen cranberries be substituted for fresh?

Yes, frozen cranberries can be used in place of fresh. I buy quite a few bags of fresh cranberries every year and pop them in the freezer to use all year long. Be sure to thaw them first in a colander so the liquid drains off, then gently pat them dry with a paper towel.

What can you do with cranberries besides Cranberry Christmas Cake?

There are so many wonderful recipes out there using cranberries, and not all of them are desserts! Here are a few of my favorites:

cranberry christmas cake topped with fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary

If you make this Cranberry Cake and share it on social media, be sure to tag me @thewickednoodle so I don’t miss it! Don’t forget to snap a pic, I’d love to see your creation!

cranberry christmas cake topped with fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary

Cranberry Christmas Cake

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This easy Cranberry Cake has a light streusel topping and it's perfect for dessert, a holiday morning breakfast, or for homemade gifts.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup half & half (can also use buttermilk)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Streusel Topping

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Additional Toppings

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until it's lighter in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until it's combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, the salt and baking powder.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until it's combined. Add a third of the half & half and blend it again. Continue until all of the flour and half & half has been added and mixed in. (Note: take care not to over-mix the batter; beat just until it's combined).
  5. In a small bowl, toss the fresh cranberries with the remaining flour until they're completely coated. Fold the cranberries carefully into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch springform pan, then spread it out evenly to the edges. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the top of the batter, gently pressing them into the batter to adhere.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Add the butter and, using a fork, mix and press it together until it's blended and the mixture forms small crumbs.
  8. Quickly remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle on the streusel mixture, then sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Return the pan to the oven and bake another 20 minutes or until the top of the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a crumb or two.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully release the cake from the pan and remove it, then cool it completely on the wire rack. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and top with more fresh or sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 481Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 299mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 3gSugar: 47gProtein: 8g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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