Friday, December 2, 2011

Cranberry Christmas Cake


Cranberry Christmas Cake recipe by Barefeet In The KitchenA few weeks ago, my friend Valerie made this to share with friends. The moment I tasted it, I asked for the recipe. Tart cranberries, sweet buttery cake and a fantastic texture all combined to basically beg me to eat another piece. This is an absolutely perfect cake that takes very little effort to make. No icing, no topping, nothing else is necessary at all. It was reminiscent to me of a coffeecake in texture, but much lighter than the typical heavy version.

This might be the only cake I've ever tasted that basically screams holidays to me. It is pure heaven to eat. I made nine different desserts for a Thanksgiving event and this was my absolute favorite, by far.  While I sent almost all the other leftover sweets home with friends and family, I saved two small pieces of this just for myself. I also picked up two more bags of cranberries, so that I will be able to enjoy this cake throughout the coming year!

Cranberry Christmas Cake
(printable recipe)

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
12 oz fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.

Spread in a buttered 9x13 pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 43 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting into small slices. I cut mine into fairly small pieces, about 1"x2", so that they could be easily eaten at a party. Enjoy!


Cranberry Christmas Cake recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen



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261 comments:

  1. Wow! This looks amazing. I love cranberries and one year bought a bunch of them. I ended up freezing them because I didn't know what to make. now I know :)

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    1. After you make the cake try a cranberry relish hot or cold with or without an orange..It is wonderful...

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    2. Nancy Hamm I made this cake today and it is quite bland. I feel it could benefit from a pinch of salt. Also, next time I will add some orange zest or cinnamon or maybe a pinch of clove. Otherwise the cake itself is very good. Don't be put off by the fact that the final batter looks and feels like cookie dough.

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    3. wasnt very pleased with this recipe very dense and heavy, not moist at all.\
      I was very careful not to overstir and beat the eggs with sugar very well.
      Would not make this again.
      Usually recipes that do not have either baking soda or baking powder can be tricky

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    4. I made this cake and received rave reviews from my family. Then sent some with my teenage son to his study group at a friend's house. It was all eaten and the friend's mother called me for the recipe.
      Orange zest would be good, but we liked it the way it was. I wonder if those who weren't pleased with the results used real butter or a substitute.

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    5. I made this cake, exactly as noted in the recipe, and then froze it. I brought it to work today and was worried it might be dry after being frozen. It was a hit! Everyone loved it. I think I might add a bit of lemon zest next time, but it was good as is. I baked mine for 45 minutes.

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  2. It does look like a holiday cake. It looks kind of buttery/eggy and I love how the cranberries just pop out of it. This would be great to serve at my in-laws for christmas because they don't like anything with icing or frosting. Look how short that ingredient list is...almost hard to believe you got that beautiful cake out of it! I wonder how they would translate into muffins, too?

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    1. I'd try it as muffins but keep an eye on them when baking...

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    2. I made muffins with this receipe and cooked for 30 mins. they turned out just right:)

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  3. What a festive looking cake. I have got to try it.

    When I make a cake for myself, I have to substitute the sugar and also use whole wheat insteat of white. They just never turn out the same, but I am going to try it and see what happens.

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    1. I will substitute coconut flour and coconut palm sugar. Hope it works!

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  4. And I have fresh cranberries! (Does a little dance!)

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  5. That is a beautiful cake for Christmas! I'm not generally a cranberry fan, but those pictures even make me want some!

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  6. Looks simple to make, sounds delicious to eat but equally important, the color of the cranberries make the cake look really really appealing, Christmassy color:) Have a nice weekend

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  7. Looks good, what a simple recipe. I love cranberries any time of year!

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  8. Beautiful cake, and so festive! I'm sure I would have asked your friend for this recipe too. Sure looks/sounds like a winner to me. :)

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  9. This cake looks incredible! I want to make it this weekend. I do think cranberries are such a nice tart addition to anything sweet and so festive for the holidays!

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  10. This is my favorite kind of cake for breakfast...are the cranberries very tart? The texture looks especially nice in the closeup.

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  11. I have a family of cranberry bread fans, so I have a feeling they would just adore this cake, too! (BTW, I did 3 cakes and 6 pies for Thanksgiving dessert. I think it's everyone's favorite part of the meal.)

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  12. Thanks, Sue. The cranberries were just tart enough to balance the sweetness of the cake. They didn't have a bite to them at all.

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  13. This looks delicious! I stocked up cranberries for the year too, and this looks like the perfect way to use them - your description totally sold me!

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  14. absolutely beauty:) Love cranberries:)

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  15. This recipe just come at the right time, I just bought a packet of fresh cranberries, still not decide what to do.,,I must make this today. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Thanks for this one! I got a tub of cranberries in my CSA box last week and I had no idea what to do with them. Bam! Holiday treat. Gracias. :)

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  17. Oh, so pretty! I've been eying a cranberry upside down cake for a while but this is so much more simple. And portable... ;)

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  18. Looks and sounds delish!
    Will be trying this one later in the month.
    -Renn

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  19. Really, this looks too easy for the look of the cake! Even though I'm a super beginner baker, I think I can manage to make this. I think... sorry to ask such elementary question, but what does "This mixture should form a ribbon" mean? Ribbon? Does it mean stiff? I need to go buy cranberries... I might need to bake this after my vacation but looking forward to it!

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  20. Hi Nami, the cake really is easy. The batter does not get stiff, but it does thicken a bit. When you lift the beaters out of the bowl, the batter sort of streams off of them like a ribbon. This would be an excellent cake to make as a beginner baker. Don't worry about the ribbon though. As long as you beat the egg/sugar mixture for at least five minutes it will thicken to exactly what it needs to be. :) Have a wonderful vacation!

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  21. I'm having a party Friday and am going to make this recipe! (I'll try to take a photo.) This is festive, yummy, and will be a nice contrast to all the chocolate baked goodies I have.

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  22. Hi Mary,
    I just made a big pan of this last night -- you're right, it's very easy.

    Have you ever baked it in smaller pans? I was wondering about baking it in loaf pans and serving it kind of like pound cake? Also, the smaller cakes would make nice gifts.

    Ever tried this recipe with blueberries?

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  24. Janeen, I bet it would be great in smaller loaf pans for gifts. It would look so pretty that way! Not sure about the blueberries. They would probably burst and color the cake differently. Plus, there is a LOT of sugar in this to balance the cranberries. If you do try it, I'd love to hear how it worked.

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  25. Mary,
    I served this at my birthday party tonight and three different people asked me for the recipe! It's a hit!

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  26. Just made this and it is a keeper. Absolutely delicious, pretty and easy to make. Thank you.

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  27. What is AP flour?

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  28. Is there a rule of thumb to replace the all purpose flour for us gluten intolerant people?

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    1. ITS A 1-1 RATIO WITH AN ADDED 1 TSP OF XANTHAN GUM... I DO DO THE G/F ALL THE TIME!

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  29. Did you use plain flour, instead of self-rising! Thanks in advance! Mary Rowe

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    1. Yes, the recipe is for standard all-purpose flour. Beating the eggs (as directed above) creates the leavening for the cake. (This recipe still fascinates me! I love that it actually works!)

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  30. Can you use splenda instead of sugar? I have a few diabetics in my family?

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    1. I've never used Splenda myself, but I've heard from others that it works well in a number of dessert recipes. It's worth a shot. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

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  31. can this be made with dried cranberries

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    1. You could try it with dried cranberries, but they won't contribute the same moisture to the cake that the fresh ones will. It's worth a shot. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out.

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  32. I don't like cranberries, can another fruit be substituted?

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    1. I haven't tried it myself, but you could probably fold in blueberries right at the end. If you try it, let me know how it works!

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  33. This looks like my kind of cake. Love cranberries. I'll have to try this.

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  34. do you sift the flour before measuring?

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  35. How do you store your cranberries in the freezer? In the bag it comes in, baggies, plastic containers? I have a recipe for buckwheat pancakes where cranberries would be fantastic.

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    1. I toss the bag straight into the freezer when I bring it home from the store. I was told a long time ago that it is designed for storage and I've never had a problem with them.

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    1. How do you use the fresh cranberries? Just open the bag and put them in? Or do they have to be cooked first?

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    2. I rinse and dry them and then use them. No need to cook them first.

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  37. Just FYI, this is going around facebook courtesy Judy Norman:
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=574763992561267&set=a.530675680303432.1073741840.100000830141828&type=1&theater

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  38. I was just going to tell her that Barbara. It's shown up twice on my timeline today and I wanted to pin it so I searched for the recipe on google and it brought me here.

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  39. Wow! It doesn't get much easier than this!

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  40. Hi... I don't have fresh cranberries ... any substitution

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  41. Hi... I don't have fresh cranberries ... any substitution

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    1. You could try frozen cranberries or blueberries, Paola. I haven't tried it with anything else myself.

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  42. Made this last week with apple's and added cinnamon, I sprinkled a little bit of brown sugar on the top when it was done baking.

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    1. How many apples and how much cinnamon did you use?

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    2. I'd substitute chopped apples for the same amount of cranberries, about 3 cups. You could add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of cinnamon depending on how strong you would like that flavor to be.

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  43. Most baked goods need a little salt or they taste flat. Does this do alright without it?

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    1. I'm using regular salted butter. That probably makes the difference.

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  44. My family doesn't care for cranberries. Would tart pie cherries work?

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    1. It sounds good to me. I think it would be worth a try.

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  45. I made this last week and it is delicious. I do think next time I'll cut down the sugar to 1.5 cups. I'll make it again, for sure.

    Susan

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  46. Thanks for the recipe. It was fabulous. I tried it with blueberries and cardamon and that was good, too.

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  47. Hello
    You use plain flour instead of self raising flour.?
    Also, for storage and freshness if I wanted to make these for christmas can they be made in advance. How many days ?

    thank you

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    1. Yes, regular flour not self-rising. It should be fine for a day or two at room temperature in an airtight container. I've also frozen the cake for a month and then let it thaw for an hour at room temperature before serving. I hope that helps!

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  48. I made a single loaf for family testing of which I got two thumbs up. Made 4 more loaves, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap then foil before storing in the freezer for Thanksgiving. Thanks again for sharing this tasty recipe!
    Lea

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  49. I made this last week...very tasty with the cranberries. ..pops in your mouth. ..only thing I won't beat it as they said top did not look cakey like yours but more egg white looking. ..mind u I had the eggs out @ room temperature. .will definitely make again 2 see if I can match yours in looks...lol...

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  50. I made this on Halloween and took it to work. It was such a huge success! Thank you for the recipe.
    ~ Carrie

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  51. thank you so much for the recipe love the cake!!!

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  52. This was good. Like pineapple upside down cake w a kick.
    Kelly

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  53. I made this but I used raspberries. We loved it!

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  54. This recipe IS easy and delicious -- recommended! If anyone is looking for a little less fat and sugar in their cranberry dessert, this one, on the Ocean Spray website, is good too:

    http://www.oceanspray.com/Recipes/Corporate/Desserts---Snacks/Cranberry-Nut-Pie.aspx?courses=DessertsSnacks.

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  55. I love cranberries, but my husand is diabetic. Think I can replace the sugar with artifical sugar?

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    1. I don't know how that would work for this recipe, Sally. There are so few ingredients, the sugar might be adding some structure to the cake. It's worth a try though.

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  56. Made this and was very good. I am planning in making again this week. Thanks for all of your great recipes.

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  57. Can you make this with a gluten free flour...

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  58. I made this with dried cranberries which I presoaked for several hours to hydrate. Drained off the cranberry juice before adding to mixture:-) turned out great.

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  59. It is also good served with a butter sauce of sugar, butter and cream and served warm over a piece of cake or muffins like i make. So good.

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  60. Replies
    1. I think that canned berries might have too much moisture for this cake. The recipe would need to be adjusted to compensate. I've never played with that idea myself.

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  61. I made this yesterday ..it is so easy and tastes soooo delicious ...it's a keeper

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  62. This question might have been asked already but do you put the cranberries in the mixture whole or do you chop them. I see it didn't specify chopped but just wanted to verify. If whole, will the berries cook and pop open?

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    1. The cranberries are whole. They pop as it bakes.

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  63. I'm going to make this. It looks yummy. Also, thanks for using "Christmas", instead of hoilday. I'm beginning to hate that word.

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  64. I made this cake and it was delicious

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  65. Made it, very easy and delicious~I put the entire bag of cranberries in the cake, and also zested with orange, delish!!! Donna

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  66. Hi there. i've had to go gluten free for an intolerance that I have. I'm a hoping you have a flour substitute what I can use instead.

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    1. I would just use an all purpose gluten free flour.

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  67. Great recipe! I made it tonight and served it warm with a little vanilla ice cream on top. I also sprinkled a little sugar in the raw on top before baking.

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  68. I made this cake last night but I used almond extract. It's awesome. I do have one question about consistency. Is the cake supposed to be slightly dense texture and slightly chewy? Want to make sure I didn't do anything wrong.
    Also, have you ever added any kind of nuts to it?

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    1. It is not a fluffy cake, more chewy than not. I've never tried it with nuts. I'm glad you liked it!

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  69. My husband would like this recipe but,I would add 1/2-1 tsp of orange extract to the mix.

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  70. I just popped mine into the oven and the batter was so stiff, did I over beat the eggs and sugar? And it is super sugary (2 cups) ever tried with less sugar? Will update how it turned out.

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    1. The batter is fairly stiff. I haven't tried it with less sugar, but I'm planning to next time. Cranberries are naturally so tart, I've been hesitant to mess with it too much.

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  71. oh My Mary, this is heaven reminds me of a Cobbler. Delish, i could see it with a slash of cream or vanilla ice cream. Wonderful. And yes the batter is stiff but just perfect.

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  72. Loved it. I am going to add orange zest the next time I make it!
    Bonnie

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  73. Family loved it- even the hubby who doesn't care for sweets loved it! Making another for work tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!

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  74. Hi! This recipe was so awesome! I tried and blogged about it on my blog (http://soeasymycatcouldbakeit.blogspot.com/)

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  75. I made this,today! Simple and yummy

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  76. I've made this twice and it was awesome! I put 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips in it the second time and will do so when I make it again but will increase the baking time a few minutes because of the addition.

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  77. I made it last week using Grandpa's Kitchen gluten-free flour. It was super delicious.
    Michelle

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  78. The top looks like it has a glaze on it. Did you add something to the top after baking? I'm making this for work this week.

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    1. I was also wondering about that, but since so many people here have posted that they made it and no mention of a glaze maybe its just a trick of the light? I have another cranberry cake recipe that calls for a glaze made with milk, powdered sugar and orange zest that would be good here.

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    2. There is not a glaze on the cake. It forms that layer on top as it bakes.

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  79. What about some orange zest? I love cranberry orange scones. Too tart for this? Love the look of this cake. So pretty.

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  80. Stupid question but if you make it the night before should you store it in an airtight container? Refrigerate? Freeze?

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    1. It should be fine at room temperature, just loosely covered.

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  81. Just put it in the oven, I am using splenda. will let y'all know how it turns out and if it's a hit after the dinner tonight, have a Blessed day everyone :))

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  82. Hi! I baked this cake last night and it was splendid! The cranberries looked beautiful against the brown cake and the sweet-tart combination was divine! However, it sank after coming out of the oven and was never fully baked through even though I baked it in excess of 50min. I did use granulated sugar instead of caster. Is that what made the difference?

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  83. I just made it with granulated sugar & it turned out fine. It was more of a dough vs batter when I put it together. I only baked about 45 minutes.

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  84. I made these as cupcakes, greasing muffin tins, no papers. My oven runs a little cool, so they took 35 min. Very sweet & buttery. I can't imagine adding icing or a glaze. They had a nice sugary crust over the top which was hard to keep intact while extracting them.

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  85. just made this and oh my god! its so delish i cant stop eating it...i have to stop tho..cuz i cant eat the whole thing lol

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  86. Gonna try. Thanks!

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  87. This is an awesome recipe. I have made it once and certainly will, again.

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  88. I made it & found the top to be sugary, left it for a day or so & it was much better. Served it as is but will make it again & try it with a sauce.

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  89. Can I use frozen "fresh" cranberries? And how?

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    1. Yes, just add the frozen berries same as fresh. I almost always use frozen.

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  90. I have pommagranates that I need to use. I am thinking they might be just fine in this. Any thoughts?

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    1. I really don't know. I've never baked with pomegranates. I did find this recipe that bakes them into a cake. The writer mentions that they will release their juices, but still remain crunchy. Here's the link, if you'd like to see that recipe: http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/2012/11/24/dark-chocolate-pomegranate-cake-2/ I hope that helps!

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  91. I made this yesterday and served it with a dollop of orange-flavored whipped cream. It was a big hit!

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  92. Made this yesterday (again) from your 'famous' recipe! Delicious! I used frozen berries and increased the baking time to 60 minutes. Perfect. Only 2 small pieces left for today's coffee. Fantastic recipe. Absolutely one of our favourites.

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  93. This was easy to make and really good!

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  94. 2 quick questions, how do you convert it for a smaller pan ( I want to take one to work), and for a diabetic what can I use beside Splenda of is that the best sugar substuite?

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  95. I made this today, came out exactly as pictured. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  96. This was so moist and delicious! Definitely bookmarking it. Might try making it with blueberries next time

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  97. Just made this and popped it in the oven. The batter was reallllly thick so I came back to check and make sure I didn't forget something but I have read in a few comments that it can seem really stiff, like cookie dough, whew! Can't wait to see how it comes out tonight!

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  98. awesome cake..thinking of adding some dark chocolate next time!

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  99. Happy Thanksgiving! Made your Christmas Cranberry Cake. One of the best desserts I've ever put in my mouth! Lol!

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  100. ontario canada : Made these AM and couldn't wait till they cooled . Delicious ! think I ate 5 pieces .

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  101. Wonderful cake!! Made it tonight. Made one slight change. I put a crumble top on it. It was excellent!

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  102. I LOVE THIS CAKE, THE BEST EVER. I DID DO A POWDERED SUGAR GLAZE THAT PUT IT OVER THE TOP!!!!!!!!

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  103. made this for family Thanksgiving it was a hit. I sprinkled a little sugar on top before it went into the oven. it is delicious.

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  104. Yes it was good. Reminds me of upside down cake. Yummy

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  105. I made this 2 nights ago for a go, really stays well and is a fantastic cake. We added a dooup of vanilla ice cream and was even better. Took the tartness of the cranberries away.

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  106. I made 2 of these the other day, one for a bake sale & one to try here. It's delicious!!!

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  107. Just tried this cake. Delicious!

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  108. I just put one these cakes in the oven, it was amazing easy, and I wanted to take the time to thank you for sharing it with me, so I can share it with my family. I know you work hard on your blog, webpage and facebook and I don't think you hear thank you often enough.

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    1. We sprinkled a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Its amazing. We couldn't even wait for it to cool. Next time we are going to add some orange zest and drizzle with white chocolate and crushed macadamia nuts.

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  109. I'd like to make this, but wondering if anyone has tried putting a little almond or orange extract in the batter?

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    1. I've heard from people that tried both of those versions. Some orange zest is good as well. I hope that helps!

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  110. I will be making this for Christmas. The orange zest sounds good and so does the powdered sugar on top.

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  111. I have self rising AP flour. Would any adjustments need to be made using this? Would like to make it for a party. Thanks!

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    1. I've heard that it will work fine with either flour. It shouldn't make a big difference, Enjoy!

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  112. I've made it twice since thanksgiving. Went and bought 3 more bags of cranberries and froze them for later!

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  113. I love this cake. I warm it for a few seconds in the microwave. Next time I'm going to add the white chocolate chips.

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  114. Made this for Thanksgiving! Everyone loved the sweet and flaky crust with the tart cranberries!

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  115. Made this last week and everyone loved it! Making it again tomorrow!! It is a keeper!

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  116. I prefer it with almond extract and add 3/4 cup chopped pecans. Will it bake okay in a bundt pan?

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    1. I think it will bake fine in a bundt. However, it might not slice nicely. I haven't tried it that way, so I can't say for sure.

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  117. I saw a comment that said this was dry....can't understand that. They are moist and delicious and festive!

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  118. Probably the easiest, best cake to make when you want something sweet but not too decadent....it was so good and so easy to make!
    Rose

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  119. MADE IT ONE DAY FOR MY HONEY HE LOVED IT NOW SECOND TIME IT GREAT

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  120. I made this last weekend for the ladies in my Bible Study class...they all want the recipe...it was a big hit!! thanks for sharing.

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  121. Made with gluten free flour very yummie, everyone loved it, and they are not gluten free. I made it with Pamala's Artisan blend flour.

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  122. I will add to this long list, AMAZING and easy to make!

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  123. I tried to substitute dried cranberries in this recipe...well this cake came out like a brick....very dry...what else did I need to add...?

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    1. The fresh or frozen cranberries add a lot of moisture to the cake. Without them, it would have been too dense and dry. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you!

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  124. I tried this on a whim though I only had a stick blender not a mixer. I was concerned that the sugar/egg mixture would not thicken enough but it did. I baked for 43 minutes and when completely cooled, dusted with powdered sugar.The final product was perfection!

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  125. I made this cake and it was awesome!!! I also made it with blueberries and it was a definite hit !! Thank You for the recipe.

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  126. Made this a couple weeks ago and we loved it...I followed the directions exactly....it's a keeper for sure !

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  127. Made this cake twice and can't get enough of it ! Love this cake and your website !!

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  128. I made the mistake of trying a cranberry while making htis and spit it out right away. So when the cake was done i didn't want to even try it. the top got a little soggy after a day but when i finally did try it after my family told me it was amazing and asked for the recipe it was delicious. I could not believe it tasted just like what i imagined it would taste. i cant wait to make this for xmas. how long do cranberries stay fresh? the week after thanksgiving aldi's had them for 49 cents a bag and didnt know if they would last to xmas to make the cake.
    Renee Marie

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    1. Renee, I tried one the first time I worked with them as well and couldn't believe how sour they taste fresh! When they are cooked, they are simply amazing, but dang, they are super tart!

      Your cranberries should be fine until Christmas. They last for a month or two in the fridge and I've kept them for a couple years in the freezer.

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  129. I have made this 3 times..and all 3 times it was a winner!!

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  130. It is so yummy!!! Love it.

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  131. Amazing..bought more cranberries yesterday!

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  132. It was great! Trying with orange zest today!

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  133. It's also yummy with blueberries!

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  134. this is a winner! LOVE LOVE LOVE

    Pam

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  135. I made it for Thanksgiving and am making it again for a potluck next week...FABULOSO!!!

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  136. Have made it several times,always wonderful !

    Alice

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  137. Glad I read the comments first. As a result, I added the zest of one small lemon. Also, I live at 5300 feet and it only took 40 mnutes.

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  138. This is delish!!! Reading the recipe I realized I had all the ingredients so made it. Num num

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  139. This is a perfect balance with the tart cranberries and the cake.
    Rose

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  140. I made this today!! And it is wonderful a very easy , very tasty recipe.

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  141. This was a hit with the guys at the fire department! I have made my second batch in a week to try on my co-workers. Thanks! Is there any way to find out what the calorie count is on this? I imagine it is rather high, so I need to make sure I am not indulging too much ;-)

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  142. What does the one to one ratio mean on gluten free?? Please reply to cathygem@yahoo.com I couldn't get it to accept my other acct i.d.?

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  143. Made it into cupcakes & topped with buttercream frosting. They were divine!

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  144. I made this late one night, it was so easy! My son and I absolutely loved it! And a guest the next day had 3 pieces. Will be making this again and again. From your new loyal follower, Laura

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  145. Made this and loved it

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  146. I made this for thanksgiving using gluten free flour. Was delicious!!!

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  147. I made this and it was awesome!!!! I also made it with blueberries and it was a big hit! Thank you for this great recipe.......

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