Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (2024)

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I can’t imagine the holidays without this easy Cranberry Christmas Cake! I love cranberries! It’s a sweet buttery, no eggs cake – great for breakfast or dessert with tart cranberries and a rich, warm vanilla butter sauce.

This cranberry Christmas cake recipe might look plain, but is anything but plain! I made it again recently and once people tried it they were all asking for the recipe! It’s so tender, buttery, decadent and flavorful! Who doesn’t love cranberries?

Try some of my other favorite cranberry recipes Oatmeal Cranberry Bars, this Nantucket Cranberry Pie, Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip, Lemon Cranberry Bars, and this Cranberry Bourbon Sour co*cktail.

Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (1)

I enjoy giving precise details in my recipe posts to lead my readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, use the Jump to Recipe to head straight there!

Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, so the fresh cranberries are the only thing you’ll need to add to your shopping list. Frozen cranberries may be used as well! I also have tips for how to make this scrumptious dessert gluten-free.

I love to add Vanilla Butter Sauce over any dessert to make it decadent, and it works so well for this dish. Here’s my Christmas Cranberry Spritzer, an ideal drink for young and old alike! The simple syrup and lemon-lime soda combo is refreshing and fancy. I also love this amazing Cranberry Walnut Overnight Bread.

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Simple Ingredients Cranberry Christmas Cake (no eggs)

  • Cranberries | These tart cranberries can be fresh or frozen. I use fresh whenever possible. For frozen, just rinse them before tossing them in the bowl instead of thawing.
  • All-Purpose Flour | One of my favorites is King Arthur’s organic flour.
  • Sugar | Dixie Crystals is made from pure cane sugar and is my go-to for baking recipes.
  • Milk | I use whole milk in this recipe to achieve the perfect texture when baked.
  • Butter | You will melt it, real butter is magic in baked goods because it’s richer than margarine! It makes your cranberry Christmas cake tender, velvety smooth, and delicious!
  • Vanilla Butter Sauce | You’ll need butter, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract for this. Try my Bourbon Vanilla Extract for this recipe or bottle it up for neighbor gifts!

Get the full recipe in the recipe card below.

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Notice a typical ingredient that is missing from this recipe? No EGGS! Perfect for your friends and family with egg allergies! The secret is in the milk!

How to Make Cranberry Christmas Cake

Whether you are baking this for Christmas morning breakfast or enjoying for a holiday dessert, this recipe comes together quickly and tastes great. Truly a one bowl, no egg cake — from scratch!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9×13 inch pan, a pretty pan makes this perfect for Christmas morning. May also be made into a cranberry bundt cake!

Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt.

Gently stir in the cranberries, coating them with the flour mixture.

Then, stir in milk, vanilla and slightly cooled melted butter.

Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (4)
Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (5)
Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (6)
Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (7)

Pour the batter into your pan(s) smoothing out and bake for about 40-50 minutes.If desired, sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, adds a snowy touch. May add before or after the cake bakes, I like it after as it sits on top better.

When done, remove your cranberry Christmas cake and cool it on a wire rack.

Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (8)
Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (9)

After it’s cooled (may be served warm), slice and serve with some vanilla butter sauce and sugared cranberries, if desired.

Variations for Cranberry Cake

  • If you can’t find fresh or frozen cranberries, see FAQ’s below for how to rehydrate dried cranberries.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of fresh grated orange zest for a cranberry orange Christmas cake.
  • Instead of the Vanilla Butter Sauce, you could also make this browned butter glaze, drizzle this basic vanilla buttercream glaze over the top, or serve with some fresh whipped cream or keep it plain.
  • Try adding ¼ – ½ teaspoon almond extract.

Gluten-Free Cranberry Cake

For a gluten-free cranberry cake, replace all of the flour with GF All-purpose flour OR 2 ½ cups flour with your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour and the other 1 ½ cups almond flour or oat flour.

Cranberry Christmas Bundt Cake

In your favorite 10 or 12-cup bundt pan, spray well with a good baker’s spray or butter well and then dust with a little flour. You will increase your baking time to about 50-60 minutes, cake is done when skewer inserted comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my cake sinking in the middle?

This takes a bit of troubleshooting.

1. Don’t open and close the oven door. When you do, you lose about 50% of the heat!
2. Too much leavening (baking powder) will cause the cranberry cake to rise too quickly then collapse.
3. If it’s humid where you live, the batter will absorb extra moisture from the air. Let it rest for about 15 minutes before baking. You can also increase the baking time by 2-3 minute increments, but watch it so it doesn’t over-bake.
4. Baking at high altitudes is another tricky situation. Try adding 15-25 degrees to the temperature see below for high altitude cake recipe instructions.

Can I use dried cranberries in place of fresh cranberries?

Yes! The best way is to soak the cranberries in boiling water to plump them, let sit for 10-15 minutes, then pour through strainer and use as planned in recipe.
To give your fruit some extra flavor, swap the water for fruit juice or a liquor, like rum, bourbon, or brandy.

Can I make this cranberry cake recipe in a bundt pan?

Yes! It’s a gorgeous way to serve this dessert. You will need to increase your baking time and remember that the final product might be more dense.. Begin testing it at about 45 minutes, remove when toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then invert cake onto cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

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  • 9×13 inch Pan | I love this Dansk Koebenstyle baker, it’s pricey though, this pan is also gorgeous and a bit more reasonable — or check out TJ Maxx or similar stores, they probably have some pretty bakers.
  • Mixing Bowl | since this cranberry recipe is a one bowl recipe, you want a decent sized bowl, I am in love with my Mason Cash stoneware bowl!
  • Liquid Measuring Cup | these are my favorite, they don’t get cloudy over time.
  • Sturdy Spatula or Wooden Spoon | these babies are the workhorses in the kitchen, I love these spatulas since you can remove the silicone top and pop in your utensil slot in the dishwasher.
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Storage Tips

This cake will keep covered in an airtight container on the counter for about 3 days, in the fridge up to 7 days and frozen up to 3 months. If freezing, wrap well in plastic wrap and then again in foil to prevent freezer burn.

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High Altitude Cranberry Christmas Cake

This recipe is pretty forgiving when it comes to high altitude, but I have a few adjustments for you.

  1. Increase all-purpose flour between 2-4 tablespoons, I increased by 2 tablespoons for 5280 above sea level.
  2. Reduce granulated sugar to 1 ½ -1 ¾ cups
  3. Reduce baking powder to 3 teaspoons.
  4. Batter should be thick, if too dry then add a little extra whole milk, water or orange juice a tablespoon at a time, do not overmix. I used an extra tablespoon.
  5. Increase baking temperature to 375 °F degrees and check for doneness at 30 minutes, covering with foil if browning too quickly.
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Serving Suggestions for Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce

  • Serving with butter sauce will make you swoon!
  • Drizzle with this brown butter sauce or this basic vanilla buttercream glaze.
  • Serve as is, cooled or warm from the oven.
  • Add a dollop of whipped cream and grate a little fresh nutmeg over the top, or try a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • For the best texture cool completely. If desired to serve warm, rewarm covered in 150-175° F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Drizzling with warm vanilla butter sauce? You might also want to make these simple sugared cranberries, they add such magical sparkle!
Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (15)

More Cranberry Recipes

  • Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini
  • Easy Turkey Cranberry Sliders Recipe (Baked)
  • Fresh Cranberry Relish
  • Cranberry Simple Syrup

More great Holiday treats

These are a few of our favorite recipes to make over the holidays.

  • Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies | a hit any time of the year!
  • Traditional Tiramisu | a no bake, sensation!
  • Key Lime Pie | might seem untraditional, but it’s popular for the holidays!
  • Scottish Shortbread | just a few simple ingredients!
  • Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls | A Christmas morning tradition
  • Eggnog Coffee Cake | Another Christmas morning winner, this overnight coffee cake rocks!
  • Try this easy Gingerbread bundt cake for another winner!
Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (16)

This recipe is lovingly adapted from Brenda at A Farmgirl’s Dabbles, it’s one of those family recipes passed down for generations and it’s a winner!

Be sure to browse all of the wonderful Cranberry Week recipes below! So many options, so little time!

What to serve with this Christmas Cranberry Cake recipe

  • Easy Breakfast Egg Sandwich Recipe
  • Mock Eggs Benedict
  • Biscuits and Gravy Casserole | Breakfast Casserole
  • Air Fryer Hashbrowns and these air fryer sausage links!

Best drinks to serve with Cranberry Cake

A cake like this deserves a special drink to serve with it! Be sure to browse all of my holiday drink recipes! Something for everyone!

Best Cranberry Mimosas co*cktail Recipe

In just 5 minutes, and with only three ingredients, you can craft the best Cranberry Mimosas co*cktail Recipe Poinsettia Christmas co*cktail.

Read more

Homemade Eggnog Latte Recipe (Starbucks Copycat)

Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with my rich, creamy Copycat Starbucks Eggnog Latte recipe. This homemade eggnog latte is so simple to make and so festive to drink!Enjoy this warm eggnog coffee drink before a crisp morning walk, or as a special treat on a chilly afternoon.

Read more

The Best Christmas Morning Chai Recipe (Dutch Bros)

This holiday season enjoy this copycat Dutch Bros Christmas Morning Chai recipe. A chai latte that is spicy and flavorful chai tea mixed with half and half and swirled with white chocolate syrup. Delicious hot or cold.

Read more

Easy Cranberry Spritzer (by the glass or pitcher)

Read more

Easy Pomegranate Moscow Mule co*cktail Recipe (Holiday Mule)

Make this holiday mule in minutes! Our pomegranate mule is a fresh, festive, and easy co*cktail! With fresh pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice, vodka and finished with spicy ginger beer. You might call it a Yule Mule!

Read more

Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (22)

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Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe

I can’t imagine the holidays without this easy Cranberry Christmas Cake! It’s a doubly good dessert or breakfast treat with tangy cranberries and a rich, warm vanilla butter sauce. This cranberry cake is sweet enough to entice a smile out of any grinch. High altitude, gluten-free options and Cranberry Bundt Cake too!

4.85 from 26 votes

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Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes minutes

Servings: 15 + servings

Calories: 431kcal

Author: Kathleen Pope

Ingredients

Cranberry Cake (see notes for high altitude adjustments)

Vanilla Butter Sauce

US CustomaryMetric

Instructions

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F (375 for High altitude) and lightly spray a 9×13 inch pan (or 2 8×8 square or round pans). High altitude 375 degrees F.

  • Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

  • Add cranberries and stir to coat, then add milk, vanilla and melted butter to dry ingredients, mixing well, batter will be thick.

  • For high altitude you may need to add additional 1-2 tablespoons milk, it should still be thick, but all of the ingredients incorporated, don’t overmix.

  • Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 40-50 minutes (for high altitude check at 35 minutes), until the top is golden brown. A toothpick or skewer inserted should come out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool on wire rack. If needed, cover cake with a loose piece of foil the last 10-15 minutes.

  • If desired, sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar.

  • Meanwhile make the butter sauce, In a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter, sugar, heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and has a syrup consistency, bring to boil for about 1 minute. Sauce will thicken as it cools, delicious thin or thick.

    TIP | It should coat the back of a wooden spoon.

  • Sauce is best served warm, it will thicken as it cools, so if you need it thicker, allow it to cool until desired consistency.

Last step! Leave a RatingRate this recipe here. This helps other readers and helps support this website.

Notes

High Altitude Cake Recipe Instructions

This recipe is pretty forgiving when it comes to high attitude, but I have a few adjustments for you.

  1. Increase all-purpose flour between 2-4 tablespoons, I increased by 2 tablespoons for 5280 above sea level.
  2. Reduce granulated sugar to 1 ¾ cups
  3. Reduce baking powder to 3 teaspoons
  4. Batter should be thick, if too dry then add a little extra whole milk, water or orange juice a tablespoon at a time, do not overmix. I used an extra tablespoon of milk.
  5. Increase baking temperature to 375F degrees and start checking for doneness at 30 minutes, covering if needed if browning too quickly.

Variations

  1. For a gluten-free cranberry cake, replace the flour with your favorite all-purpose GF alternative. You can also use oat or almond flour. It’s just as delicious this way!
  2. If you can’t find fresh or frozen cranberries, see below for how to rehydrate dried cranberries.
  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons of fresh grated orange zest for a cranberry orange Christmas cake.
  4. Instead of the Vanilla Butter Sauce you could also make this browned butter glaze or drizzle this basic vanilla buttercream glaze over the top, or serve with some fresh whipped cream or keep it plain.
  5. Try adding ¼ – ½ teaspoon almond extract.
  6. Cranberry Bundt Cake | In your favorite 10-cup or larger bundt pan, spray well with a good bakers spray or butter well and then dust with a little flour. You will increase your baking time to about 50 minutes, cake is done when skewer inserted comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

Serving Suggestions

    • Add a dollop of whipped cream and grate a little fresh nutmeg over the top, or try a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
    • For the best texture cool completely, then if desired to serve warm, rewarm in 150-175 degree oven for 20 minutes.
    • If you are drizzling with vanilla sauce, then you might also want to make these simple sugared cranberries, they add such magical sparkle!

Serve as is, cooled or even warm from the oven, sprinkle a little sparkling sugar on top.

Storage | This cake will keep covered in an airtight container on the counter for about 3 days, in the fridge up to 7 days and frozen up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from Brenda at A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 369mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 515IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 2mg

Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (24)

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Welcome to Cranberry Week!

This week we are celebrating all things cranberry! We have delicious recipes from across the country to celebrate all things cranberry!

#CranberryWeek is an annual blogging event that is hosted by Ashley fromCheese Curd In Paradise

Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce (2024)
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