Holiday Cranberry Cake Recipe: Stay Off the Sauce!

cranberry loaf

As the holidays approach, it seems nearly every baked good has some variation on the pumpkin spice theme. But the holidays aren’t just about warm nutmeg and cloves. A cake filled with flavorful fruit is sometimes just what you need to get out of the cinnamon spice rut, and one of my favorites takes advantage of two winter fruits. The result is a cranberry cake that’s bursting with flavor.

This cake base will seem ferociously sweet as you’re mixing it together, but if you’ve ever had the misfortune to bite into a raw, unadorned cranberry, you’ll see why.

The sweet crumb balances out the acidic cranberries throughout the cake, making for a slice that combines the two flavors without making them homogenous.

Cranberry Cake Recipe (makes 1 large loaf)



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric beater until they double in volume. This is the only source of volume that the cake will get, as there is no chemical leavening in it, so be sure not to skip this step!

Add the molasses and beat until combined.

Cube the butter and add it to the batter. Beat until incorporated.

Fold in the flour and the salt until there are just a few streaks remaining.

Fold in the cranberries and the orange zest.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Remove the cake from the pan and remove the parchment paper. Allow to cool fully before slicing.

To make this cake a touch more special, juice the orange you used for the zest and mix it with just enough confectioner’s sugar to form a glaze. Drizzle over the cooled cake and allow to harden.

cranberry loaf

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Images via Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco