Cranberry Cake

Helene

(1)

This Cranberry Cake is pretty and delicious! This layer cake features moist vanilla cakes, a homemade cranberry filling, and an ermine buttercream. Elegant with simple decorations, this cake will be fantastic for the holiday season or any special occasion.

cranberry cake on a cake stand

If you like cranberries, so you will love this cranberry cake. The combo of vanilla and cranberries pairs deliciously. The vanilla cake’s sweetness contrasts with the cranberry filling’s tartness. Every bite is full of flavor. Try this cranberry cake if you’re still looking for your next holiday dessert.

Why you’ll love this Cranberry Cake 

  • An easy layer cake: each step is approachable and doesn’t require much time.
  • The recipe features a moist vanilla cake recipe with oil, so the cakes won’t dry if you want to prepare them a day in advance.
  • Simple decorations made with cranberry and rosemary but still a festive cake with a wow effect to impress your guests. 
  • Vanilla cake and cranberry filling pair well together. It’s a perfect holiday baking project.
cranberry layer cake cut in half

Ingredients 

The cranberry cake doesn’t require special ingredients.

The vanilla cakes are made with all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, caster sugar (or granulated sugar), salt, large eggs, milk, vegetable oil, water, and vanilla extract.

The cranberry filling is made with cranberries (fresh or frozen), sugar, water, lemon juice and cornstarch.

Ermine buttercream: all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, and butter.

How to make the Cranberry Cake

Easy vanilla cake: in one large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Then, add the wet ingredients. Mix both. Divide the batter into three 6-inch cake tins and bake.

A cranberry filling ready in 15 minutes. In a nutshell: Heat cranberries, sugar, and water until it begins to break down. Blend with an immersion blender to smooth the texture. Add a mixture of lemon juice and cornstarch and continue to cook until it thickens.

The Ermine buttercream: check the blog post about the ermine frosting recipe. You will find the full recipe, the step-by-step process, and tips to succeed.

Full instructions are at the bottom of the page. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable version at the end of this post.

top view of a cranberry cake

FAQs 

How do I store the Cranberry Cake?

At room temperature, if it’s not too hot, otherwise in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Before serving, let the cake on your countertop for 15 minutes to allow the buttercream to become soft again (adjust the time according to your room temperature.)

Can I make it ahead?

  • You can prepare the cakes one day ahead of time. Once baked, let them cool, and then wrap the cakes (without any frosting or filling) tightly in cling film and place in the fridge or on your countertop if it’s not too hot. Otherwise, you can freeze the cakes for up to 1 month.
  • The cranberry filling can be made a few days in advance.
  • The ermine buttercream requires 2 steps (pudding base and butter mixing). You can prepare the pudding base 1 day in advance and let it in the fridge overnight. Make sure to bring it back to room temperature before using it.
  • Alternatively, prepare the cake the day before serving it and place it in the fridge. As long as the cake is frosted, it won’t dry.

Tips

Read the entire cranberry cake recipe before starting.

Vanilla cake: ingredients at room temperature.

Do not overmix the batter.

Weight your batter to divide it evenly into the three cake tins. For me, it was about 300g into each tin.

Cranberry filling:  Cook on medium heat. Don’t try to speed up the process with high heat.

Ensure the cornstarch is fully dissolved with the lemon juice before adding it, and ensure the cranberry compote is hot when ready to add it. If it’s not hot enough, you may have lumps.

When ready to use, give a stir with a spoon/spatula to smooth a little bit. After a couple of days, it may look like jello, don’t worry, just stir, and the texture will back.

Ermine buttercream: Check the ermine buttercream’s blog post: There are full of tips and lot of details.

slice of a cranberry cake in a plate

Try these cakes, next:

If you tried this Cranberry Cake or any recipe on the blog, let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment below.

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Cranberry Cake

  • Prep time: 45 minutes
  • Cook time: 55 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours
  • Serves: 8

This Cranberry Cake is pretty and delicious! This layer cake features moist vanilla cakes, a homemade cranberry filling, and an ermine buttercream.

Ingredients

Vanilla Cakes

  • 310 g (2 cups + 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 200 g (1 cup) caster sugar, or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) milk, 2% fat
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 90 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil, neutral flavor
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cranberry Filling

  • 250 g (2 cups + 1/2 cup) cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 75 g (1/3 cup + 1tbsp) caster sugar, or granulated sugar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) water
  • 20 ml (1 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 15 g (2 tbsp) cornstarch

Ermine Buttercream

  • 35 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 125 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) caster sugar, or granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 275 ml (1 cup + 2 tbsp ) milk, whole or 2% fat
  • 250 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Decoration

  • cranberries
  • rosemary

Method

Vanilla Layer Cake

  • 1)

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), fan off. Line three 6-inch (15cm) round cake tins with baking paper or grease with baking spray.

  • 2)

    In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add in the sugar and salt. Whisk until combined.

  • 3)

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients: eggs, milk, water, oil, and vanilla. Mix until combined but do not over-mix.

  • 4)

    Divide the batter between three 6-inch cake tins (about 300g in each tin) and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Note: I place wet cake strips around the pans. It helps keep the sides moist and limits the dome on the top, but it usually takes 5 extra minutes to bake the cakes. So, start to monitor the cake after 20 minutes of baking.

  • 5)

    Let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.

Cranberry Filing

  • 1)

    Add the cranberries with sugar and water into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, frequently stirring, until the cranberries boil and begin to break down.

  • 2)

    With an immersion blender, blend the berries until they completely break down and the mixture is smooth. (The texture should be similar to a jam)

  • 3)

    In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and cornstarch until fully dissolved. Then, pour the cornstarch juice into your hot cranberry compote and turn your heat to medium-low. Stir constantly with a whisk for a few additional minutes or until everything thickens and the cornstarch turns clear.

    Note: the cranberry filling will thicken as it cools.

  • 4)

    Pour the cranberry filling into a separate bowl to cool. Cover with plastic wrap, touching the surface to prevent a skin, and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. When ready to use, stir with a spoon to smooth a little bit.

Ermine Buttercream

  • 1)

    Prepare 1 batch of the ermine frosting.

    Note: the pudding base need to cool down before adding the butter.

Assembly

  • 1)

    Proceed when the cakes are completely cooled.

    Using a cake leveler or a long-serrated knife, level the cakes if needed to remove any domes and to have flat cakes.

  • 2)

    Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cake board. You can put some frosting in the middle of the cake board to prevent the cake from moving.

  • 3)

    Pipe a rim of the ermine buttercream around the edge of the first layer cake. (It will create a dam, and your cranberry filling won’t slip.) and spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top of the cake.

    Then, spoon the cranberry filling in the center over the buttercream until the edge of the dam.

  • 4)

    Top with the second cake layer and repeat the process.

  • 5)

    Top with the third layer, making sure the layer cake is upside down to have a perfectly flat surface on the top.

  • 6)

    Using an offset spatula, cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of ermine buttercream and place the cake in the fridge until the frosting is set (about 20-30 minutes).

  • 7)

    Remove the cake from the fridge. Frost the top and the side of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Smooth the side with a scraper.

  • 8)

    Decorate the top with rosemary and fresh cranberries.

Notes

– US/UK Baking Spoons:  teaspoon: 5ml / tablespoon: 15ml / cup: 240ml

– I used Aluminum Cake Pans for this recipe.

– Scroll back to read tips and frequently asked questions within the blog post that you might find helpful

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