I love when I go to the grocery store and see bags of FRESH cranberries in the produce section. Once I see them, I know baking this cake (or multiple cakes) is on the horizon! It always goes on my Christmas trays of cookies, candies and treats.
My husband LOVES this cake and waits all year for me to make it. I sent a loaf to my Aunt and Uncle once and they said it was “THE BOMBEST CAKE EVER”!
The recipe is a little different if you are used to cakes that rise using baking powder and baking soda to leaven the cake. This cake only uses the eggs, whipped to a light frothy mixture with the sugar, as leavening. For that reason, make sure that you don’t skimp on beating the eggs and sugar!
This Cranberry Cake is very dense and moist…almost like a pound cake with cranberries in it. Don’t open your oven door early in the baking process because that may cause your cake to sink in the middle. Smaller cakes will take 30 minutes or a a little more. Loaves or spring form pans will need at least an hour and I tent them for the last 15 to 20 minutes of baking to keep them from over browning.
The first thing I do, though, is to soak the fresh cranberries in sugar and water as soon as I get home from the store! I just dump them into a strainer, wash them and pick through to remove any bad berries. Then pour the berries into a large ziploc bag, add water and sugar and throw them in the fridge. I let them soak for anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks. They soften a bit while they soak and they suck up a bit of the sugar, reducing the tartness.
I have made this cake is so many different sizes and shapes and it is always amazing. Instead of a loaf pan, try a 9″ round spring form pan. I have used several small brioche tins and small bundt pans to make mini loaves to give friends and family for Christmas and I also made a small loaf and cut it in slices then cut each slice into ‘fingers’ to put on cookie trays that went to my office. So feel free to use what you have and adapt to your needs!
So even though I made several loaves before Christmas, I made sure to have some cranberries on hand to make a loaf for New Years Eve. And I REALLY wanted to share this recipe with you so you can make it too!
Please share your pics when you make this so I can what shapes and sizes you have tried!
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup butter, chopped, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Zest and juice of one orange
- 2 ¼ cups (10.1 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- Dusting of powdered sugar
To make candied cranberries:
- 2 ounces cranberries, set aside from above
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- Pour cranberries into a gallon size Ziploc bag. Add 1 cup cold water and ¾ cup granulated sugar. Shake to mix and store in the refrigerator for up to one week, until ready to make the cake. This gives the cranberries some time to soften and sweeten slightly.
- When ready to make the cake, preheat oven to 375°. Grease and line a 9×5” loaf pan or whatever pan/s you have chosen. Strain the bag of cranberries. Set aside.
- Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mixture has lightened and looks fluffy.
- Add the softened butter, vanilla, almond extract and zest and juice of the orange. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until incorporated.
- Mix flour and salt together in a small bowl. Using a spatula, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients just until combined. Stir in 10 ounces of the cranberries. Set the remaining 2 ounces of cranberries aside for garnish.
- Bake at 375° for 50 minutes and then cover with foil to prevent over browning. Bake for another 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If you choose different sized pans, you may need to adjust the baking time.
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan. Let cool completely.
- While the cake is baking, ½ cup sugar and water in a small pan and heat to almost boiling and the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil because that will cause the cranberries to burst. Turn off heat and add the cranberries. Stir to coat then toss into a separate bowl with the remaining ½ cup sugar. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries and shake gently to remove excess sugar. Lay the cranberries out on parchment paper and allow to dry while the cake bakes.