In this Cranberry Cake Recipe, soft and fluffy vanilla butter cake is layered with vanilla buttercream and cranberry sauce for a festive show-stopping holiday dessert.
When it comes to holiday treats, I usually think of cookies first.
There are the classics that my mom made every year, like her frosted cut-outs and Russian Tea Cakes. And there are a few new favorites, like Maple Pecan Potato Chip Cookies.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to holiday deserts! There’s also fudge, rum balls, gingerbread caramels, chocolate covered cherries, and peppermint bark.
And of course there are also a ton of festive-flavored drinks and baked goods of every kind. The one thing that doesn’t come to my mind is usually a festive cake! But this Cranberry Layer Cake recipe changes that.
A couple weeks ago I was cleaning out my fridge and I noticed half a batch of cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving. I had been watching reruns of the British baking show and so I had a classic Victoria Sponge Cake fresh in my head.
And then an idea took shape.
What about using cranberry sauce instead of jam and buttercream instead of whipped cream to make a holiday spin on a Victoria Sandwich?! It was an epiphany.
Add a few sugared cranberries on top (because I had just made these beauties and they were stashed in my fridge anyway), and it’s a beautiful way to gild the lily.
Plus sugared cranberries look like they’re covered in snow, which makes this Cranberry Cake even more perfect for the holidays, right?!
Check out my step-by-step photo directions for how to make sugared cranberries.
I also added a little fresh rosemary for a pop of green to get the red and green color scheme. I also like to use rosemary here because it looks like pine. Alternatively, you could use fresh mint leaves if you like.
This is the perfect treat to whip up for the holidays when you want to make something that’s still festive, but just a little bit different.
The flavors in this cake go together really well. The sweetness of the vanilla buttercream is a wonderful pairing with the sweet/tart cranberry sauce. Sandwiched between layers of soft vanilla-scented butter cake, it really is a lovely Christmas or New Year’s Eve dessert.
Cranberry Cake Recipe
You might be surprised at how easy this beautiful Cranberry Layer Cake is to make! It doesn’t require any special equipment and it doesn’t really take that long. And I have to admit, it’s a pretty great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have leftover cranberry sauce on hand, this cake is worth whipping up a quick batch. My favorite is this Easy Apple Cranberry Sauce Recipe, which only takes 20 minutes to make!
For this recipe I tweaked my recipe for Yellow Cake, but you could use your favorite yellow or white cake recipe instead. And if you’re pressed for time, even a box cake mix will work!
How to Make Cranberry Cake
Measure out the ingredients to make this Cranberry Cake recipe.
Prepare two round cake pans. Butter and flour them, and line each with parchment paper.
Beat together the oil, butter, sugar, egg whites, and extracts, and then beat in the milk.
Add the dry ingredients and beat to combine.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.
Bake until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a paring knife along the outside of the cakes to loosen them from the pans, and then turn them out onto a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes and then peel off the parchment paper.
Let the cakes cool and then slice them in half horizontally.
Now it’s time to make the buttercream! Measure out all your ingredients.
Beat together the butter, extracts, and salt, and then beat in the powdered sugar.
While beating, drizzle in enough milk so the buttercream is thick and creamy.
Get ready to put this gorgeous Cranberry Cake together! Place one cake layer onto a cake plate and frost the top with buttercream.
Measure out 6 tablespoons of cranberry sauce on top of the buttercream.
And spread it out evenly.
Repeat this process twice, and then place the remaining cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake. I like to do a somewhat thin layer of frosting on the outside because I like the “naked cake” look.
If desired, decorate the top of the cake with sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary.
How Long Will Cranberry Cake Last?
Store this Cranberry Layer Cake wrapped in the fridge for up to 4 days.
How to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce
If you’re looking for more ways to use up cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving, here are some more ideas:
- Eggnog Muffins with Cranberry Filling
- Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
- Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette
- Grilled Cheese Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich
- Cranberry White Cheddar Cheese Ball with Fresh Rosemary
More Holiday Cake Recipes:
- Gingerbread Cake Roll
- Chai Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Eggnog Cake
- Caramel Apple Cake
- Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below because I love hearing from you! You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media. To stay up-to-date FOLLOW ME on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Xoxo, Faith
Cranberry Cake Recipe
- 1/2 cup avocado oil or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup butter softened but not fully melted (see photo in the post above)
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup egg whites
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract optional
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 15 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon butter flavor
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons milk plus more as needed
- Butter to grease the pans
- All-purpose flour to flour the pans
- 18 tablespoons cranberry sauce (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- Sugared cranberries for garnish (optional; or you can use fresh cranberries)
- Fresh rosemary for garnish (optional)
For the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans. Place a piece of parchment paper that’s been trimmed to fit in the bottom of each pan.
- Beat together the oil, softened butter, sugar, egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat in the milk. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and beat to combine.
- Pour the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Run a paring knife along the outside of each cake to loosen them from the pans. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks, let them cool for 5 minutes, and peel off the parchment paper.
- Cool each cake completely, and then carefully use a serrated knife to slice each in half horizontally, so you end up with 4 layers of cake.
For the Buttercream:
- Beat together the butter, vanilla extract, butter flavor, and salt in a large bowl.
- Beat in the powdered sugar, drizzling the milk in until it reaches a buttercream consistency.
To Assemble the Cake:
- Place 1 cake round on a cake plate. Spread on a layer of buttercream. Top with 6 tablespoons cranberry sauce, and then spread it out onto an even layer on top of the buttercream. Repeat this process twice.
- Place the final cake round on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake. I like to do a thin layer of frosting on the outside for a "naked cake" look.
- If desired, top the cake with fresh cranberries or sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary for decoration.
- Store this Cranberry Layer Cake wrapped in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- The nutrition information listed doesn’t include the sugared cranberries on top.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items. Thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!
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