Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce is the perfect dessert for a holiday party made with tart cranberries and drizzled with warm butter sauce. This cranberry Christmas Cake is easy to make and bring to your holiday gatherings or to serve your family for dessert. This is a real treat that no one will be able to turn down!
If you’re a fan of cake then you should try my other holiday cakes, Pecan Upside Down Cake and Easy Chocolate Peppermint Cake. Something so cozy about cake at the holidays. You can even enjoy it for breakfast with a cup of coffee!
What is cranberry cake with butter sauce?
This easy cranberry cake recipe with warm vanilla butter sauce is the perfect pairing.
It starts by making a fluffy orange flavored cake with cranberries in a cake or bundt pan and baking it until it’s golden brown.
Then, here comes the best part – the warm butter sauce!
The sauce is made with butter, sugar, cream, vanilla, and orange zest on the stovetop, and while the sauce is still warm, is poured over the top.
This allows the sauce to soak into the cake and makes the entire thing wonderfully buttery while balanced with the tartness of the cranberries.
Cranberry cake with butter sauce is exactly what you need for your Christmas dinner party.
Cranberry cake uses simple ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store. Here is what you’ll need to get started.
- All-purpose flour – Coating cranberries in flour helps them stay suspended in the batter.
- Cranberries – Use fresh or frozen cranberries.
- All-purpose flour – Use white, unbleached flour for the batter.
- Baking powder – This leavener helps the cake rise.
- Kosher salt – Salt enhances the flavors and helps even out the sweetness.
- Butter – Use unsalted, room-temperature butter.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar is best for this cake.
- Orange zest – This adds a bright, festive flavor.
- Olive oil – You can use any neutral oil.
- Vanilla extract – Buy pure vanilla extract or make homemade vanilla to use in your baking.
- Eggs – Make sure the eggs are at room temperature before adding them to the cake.
- Whole milk – Heat the milk up in the microwave, so it’s no longer cold and around room temp.
- Butter – Unsalted butter allows you to control how much salt is added.
- Sugar – A little sugar sweetens the classic flavor of this sauce.
- Heavy cream – A splash of heavy whipping cream makes this sauce rich and creamy.
- Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract deepens the flavor of the sauce.
- Kosher salt – Salt helps balance out the sweetness.
- Orange zest – Fresh orange zest adds brightness and a hint of citrus flavor to this butter sauce recipe.
These are the kitchen tools I used to make cranberry cake with butter sauce.
These tips and tricks will help you make the best cranberry cake for holiday gatherings.
- This simple cake can be made 1-2 days ahead of time but make the butter sauce right before serving.
- Toss the cranberries in flour to help them not sink to the bottom of the cake during baking.
- Use fresh orange zest rather than dried zest.
- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. I order mine from Cape Cod Select, and they have a wonderful product you can get year-round.
- Make the cake in disposable pans so you can easily clean it up afterward.
Serving cranberry cake
Serve this warm cake with sugar-dusted cranberries on top for a beautiful presentation. Don’t forget a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee. Serve it on Christmas morning for breakfast, brunch, or an after-dinner dessert.
How to make cranberry cake with butter sauce
This easy make-ahead dessert is perfect for the holiday season. The steps to make it are simple your whole family will love it!
Coat the Cranberries
Toss the cranberries in a medium mixing bowl with flour to coat.
Mix Dry Ingredients
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Mix the Wet Ingredients
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer, then mix in the oil and vanilla.
Add the eggs one at a time, then slowly pour in the milk while mixing.
Mix in the dry ingredients and remove the bowl from the stand mixer.
Gently fold in the flour-coated cranberries.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until it’s cooked through and golden brown.
Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack while you make the sauce.
Make the Butter Sauce
Simmer the ingredients for the sauce over medium heat, constantly whisking until thickened.
Pour the hot butter sauce over the top of the cake and serve the cake warm or at room temperature.
This delicious cake recipe is easy to adjust and make changes based on your favorite additions. Here are some options to get you started.
Cinnamon: Add ½ tsp cinnamon to the dry ingredients.
Walnuts: Fold in ½ cup chopped walnuts to cake batter.
Dried apples: Add ½ cup of dried apple pieces to the batter.
Refrigerate: Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Reheat: You can eat this cake cold right out of the fridge! Otherwise, you can allow it to sit on the counter for a few minutes to heat to room temperature or heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm it up slightly.
Should I use fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe?
Either fresh or frozen cranberries work just fine. As long as they are raw, do not use cooked cranberries or dried cranberries. While dried cranberries can be great for baking, this recipe is meant for raw cranberries.
Do I need to thaw the cranberries if using frozen?
Yes, you should thaw the cranberries first if you’re using frozen cranberries. Drain any excess juice that may drain out of them before tossing them in flour.
Can I freeze this cake?
Yes, you can! Let the cake cool completely, then wrap it in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat the cake, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and right before you serve it, pour the butter sauce over the top.
Can I use other berries besides cranberries?
You sure can! You can use fresh raspberries or blackberries for this recipe. However, cranberries are really nice around the holidays.
Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups cranberries fresh or frozen raw cranberries, thawed
- 2¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter room temp
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk room temp
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- zest of half an orange
Coating the Cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F then spray and line a 9" cake pan
- Toss the cranberries in a medium mixing bowl with ¼ cup all purpose flour then set aside
Mixing Dry Ingredients
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl then set aside until needed
Mixing the Wet Ingredients
- Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes
- Mix in the oil and vanilla
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the edges of the bowl between each addition
- Add the milk and mix on low speed until combined
- Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until combined, do not over mix
- Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the flour coated cranberries
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, covering the cake the last 20 minutes loosely with foil
- Allow cake to cool on a wire rack while you make the sauce
Making the Butter Sauce
- Add all sauce ingredients except the orange zest to a medium sauce pot and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently
- Simmer the sauce for 12-15 minutes, whisking frequently until thickened
- Pour the sauce over the top of the cake and serve warm or at room temperature