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Cranberry Christmas Cake

Want to infuse your holiday season with the vibrant flavors of cranberries and nuts? Check out this recipe for cranberry Christmas cake. 

It’s a simple, seven-ingredient cake for any beginner baker. It’s tart and tangy, sweet and nutty, and everything in between. 

Homemade Moist and Tender Cranberry Christmas Cake
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It’s sheer decadence on a cake platter. You’ll go nuts for it after the first bite. It’s a real head-turner, too. It’s gorgeous and festive, with tons of bright red cranberries in every piece. 

It’s moist, tender, and a real crowd-pleaser, no matter where you take it. Get ready to fall in love with cranberry Christmas cake. 

Cranberry Christmas Cake  

Okay, so here’s the deal. Yes, this cake is called cranberry Christmas cake. However, it’s far too delicious to whip up only at Christmas!

Since you can use frozen cranberries, it’s easy to find the ingredients for it any time of year. So feel free to call it cranberry summer cake, Halloween cake, or whatever works best for you. 

Trust me on this one. You’ll want to make this sweet and tart cake year-round.

Cranberry Christmas Cake Ingredients - Eggs, Sugar, Butter, Almond Extract, Flour, Cranberries, Chopped Pecans and Whipped Cream


  • Eggs. Remove the eggs from the fridge and let them come to room temperature before adding them. They serve as the leavening agent for the cake.
  • Sugar. Plain white granulated sugar works fine. 
  • Butter. Let the butter soften before adding it. It gives the cake its tender texture and rich taste. 
  • Almond extract. Some people also add vanilla extract, but I typically stick to almond extract only. It adds a hint of nuttiness that pairs well with the cake’s tart fruitiness. 
  • Flour. All-purpose flour is the best option for this cake. 
  • Cranberries. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for the cake batter. However, use fresh ones for the topping (if you add one). Sugar-coated cranberries are another good option for the topping. 
  • Chopped pecans. They add flavor and texture to the cake. 
  • Whipped cream. The whipped cream topping is optional but takes the cake to the next level. Be sure to add fresh or sugared cranberries on top, as well. Save these for each piece, though. (i.e., Don’t coat the entire cake in the topping.) Having leftovers topping-free makes them easier to freeze. 

How to Make Cranberry Christmas Cake

1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Set it out and pre-measure the ingredients. 

2. Make the batter. Start by mixing the eggs and sugar. Beat them together for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Then, add the butter and almond extract. Beat for another 2 minutes. 

Gently stir in the flour, but don’t overmix. It should just barely combine with the rest of the mixture. Finally, stir in the cranberries and pecans. 

3. Bake. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Use the toothpick test to check that the cake is done. 

4. Slice and serve. Remove the cake from the oven. Slice it into individual servings. Then, top each piece with whipped cream and a cranberry (if desired), and enjoy! 

A Slice of Cranberry Christmas Cake with Whipped Cream

Tips for the Best Cranberry Cake

  • Let frozen cranberries thaw. I prefer to use fresh cranberries for this recipe. However, if all you have is frozen, that’s okay, too. Just let them thaw for a while first. 
  • The 5 minutes are essential. Be sure you beat the eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes. Because there’s no baking powder or baking soda, the eggs make the cake rise. You will have a flat cake if you don’t beat them long enough. 
  • Take the ingredients out early. Let the eggs warm to room temperature and the butter soften. 
  • Don’t want to grease the pan? No problem! Use parchment paper instead. Or spray it with cooking spray. 


  • Swap out the berries. You don’t have to stick strictly to cranberries. You can make this cake with your favorites: strawberries, blueberries, etc. 
  • Use powdered sugar on top. Instead of whipped cream and cranberries, try a simple dusting of powdered sugar. 
  • Make it gluten-free. Simply use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose. 
  • Try additives. White chocolate chips make the cake sweeter. Orange zest gives it more of a citrusy flavor. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg provide that traditional Christmas warmth. 
Homemade Cranberry Christmas Cake Top View

Serving Suggestions 

People don’t always think about what to serve with dessert.

However, pairing them with the correct drinks can make all the difference. Here are a few of my favorite options: 

  • White hot chocolate. This rich, decadent drink perfectly accompanies this cake’s cool creaminess. 
  • Ghirardelli hot chocolate. Prefer traditional brown chocolate to white chocolate? Try this Ghirardelli hot chocolate recipe instead. 
  • McDonald’s iced coffee. This cool coffee drink pairs well with anything. That’s why it’s one of McDonald’s best sellers. And yes, this copycat recipe tastes just like the real thing. 

How to Store & Freeze 

If you have leftovers, you’re in luck. Storing leftover cranberry Christmas cake is as simple as it gets. Just cover or wrap it loosely in plastic wrap. Then, leave it in a room-temperature area away from direct sunlight. Don’t wrap it tightly, as that could negatively impact the cake’s texture. 

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To extend the life of your leftovers, consider freezing them. Here’s how: 

  1. Cut the cake into individual slices. Doing so makes it easier to thaw the perfect amount you want later. 
  2. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. 
  3. Wrap each plastic-wrapped piece in aluminum foil. 
  4. Add a date so you later know when you froze them. 
  5. Place the slices individually in the freezer. 

They should remain fresh for up to 3 months. When you want to serve them, simply let the slices thaw at room temperature. 

Cranberry Christmas Cake



Prep time


Cooking time





This cranberry Christmas cake is a must for any holiday! Learn how to make the easy recipe, plus, get tips for the best cranberry cake.


  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed

  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

  • whipped cream and cranberries (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Stir rapidly for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens and turns yellow.
  • Add the butter and almond extract to the mixture. Continue stirring rapidly for another 2 minutes. Slowly and gently stir in the flour. Don’t overmix – just until the flour is barely combined.
  • Add the cranberries and pecans. Stir gently to mix.
  • Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with butter or margarine. Then, pour the cake batter into the dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into its center. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, and slice it into individual pieces. Transfer the pieces to serving platters and top with whipped cream and a cranberry if desired. Enjoy!
Cranberry Christmas Cake

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

2 thoughts on “Cranberry Christmas Cake”

  1. I made this today. Followed your directions. The cake was light and the top was crunchy and super delicious! The cake was fluffy and airy because I followed your mixer directions exactly. I added a few more pecans because we love them and that just made the final result even better. Next time I’m going to try adding white chocolate chips. Thank you for a very good, easy recipe!


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