This Cranberry Christmas Cake is a delicious soft vanilla cake filled with fresh cranberries and served with a warm buttery sauce making it perfect for the holidays! It’s gluten-free, paleo, refined sugar-free with low carb & keto sweetener options.
Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe
Looking for an easy and festive cake for Christmas morning? This Cranberry Christmas Cake is a delicious one-layer vanilla cake with fresh cranberries and bright citrus. The cake batter comes together easily in just one bowl and instead of frosting, each slice gets drizzled with a deliciously rich, warm buttery sauce made with just 4 ingredients.
This Cranberry Christmas Cake would make a wonderful dessert for just about any occasion. It’s wonderfully soft and my family says it’s not too heavy or sweet. Other delicious cranberry recipes we love include our Apple Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Shortbread Bars, Cranberry Truffles and Cranberry Cake.
Why we love this Christmas cake recipe
- The best part about this moist and decadent paleo cake is that it comes together so quick and easy. Just ONE bowl and NO mixer required.
- This cranberry recipe is also grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free and includes a option to make this a vegan cake
- Another bonus is that this cake is refined-sugar free and can easily be low-carb or keto using your favorite sugar-free substitute and can be served for breakfast, an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or dessert on Christmas day
- This cranberry cake can easily be made ahead of time as a healthy and delicious breakfast with your morning cup of coffee — or toss a few of these into your lunchbox to enjoy throughout the day.
- Always a hit at holiday parties and the bright cranberries add the perfect festive touch for any new year celebrations
Many old fashioned cranberry Christmas cake recipes call for cake recipes call for all purpose flour, butter, heavy cream and baking powder. Since we are trying to keep our cranberry Christmas cake grain-free and paleo-friendly, you are going to need:
- Eggs: Bring your eggs to room temperature. Want vegan cranberry cake? Try swapping the eggs with flax eggs to make this cranberry cake vegan.
- Unsweetened almond milk – you may also sub with any other dairy-free milk you like.
- Coconut oil – be sure to use organic refined coconut oil to avoid the coconut flavor if you are not a fan. You may also sub with vegan butter (not paleo) or ghee or grass-fed butter (if not dairy-free)
- Fresh orange juice and orange zest – Adds a bright citrus flavor to make this cranberry cake delicious
- Pure maple syrup – Adds natural sweetness and extra moisture. You can sub with another liquid sweetener of your choice such as coconut nectar syrup, Lakanto Sugar-free maple syrup for low carb or honey if not vegan.
- Vanilla – adds flavor and makes this gluten-free cranberry cake delicious
- Baking soda: a paleo leavener that helps the paleo cranberry cake rise
- Super fine almond flour and coconut flour: our favorite combination of gluten-free flours to use in place of all purpose flour
- Ground cinnamon and sea salt – add flavor and balances out the sweetness
- Fresh Cranberries
Warm buttery glaze topping
- Ghee, unsalted butter OR sub with butter flavored coconut oil for a dairy-free
- Pure maple syrup
- Coconut cream
How to make Cranberry Christmas Cake
- Prepare for Baking: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13-inch rectangle cake pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang.
- Mix the Wet Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs until smooth. Add the almond milk, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Add the Dry Ingredients: Add the baking soda and salt. Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and sift in the almond flour and coconut flour. Mix until batter is combined. Fold in 1/4 cup of the cranberries.
- Assemble: Transfer batter to the prepared pan, spread the top evenly using an offset spatula. Top with remaining cranberries.
- Bake: Bake in preheated oven for 35-38 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let Cool: Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut and slice into squares.
To make the buttery sauce
- Combine the ghee, maple syrup and coconut cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, while continuously stirring.
- Once melted, turn up the heat and boil for one minute, until thick and bubbly.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour hot sauce over warmed cake.
- Top with sugared cranberries (optional).
Tips for the Best Cranberry Christmas Cake
- Let Cake Cool Before Slicing: If your cake hasn’t completely cooled before you slice it, it could be too crumbly. Let it cool before serving so it’s nice and firm.
- Use Fresh Cranberries: This recipe is perfect during the fall and winter during fresh cranberry season! Frozen cranberries may also be substituted but be sure to add them frozen and not thawed as they may add too much moisture. You may also have to reduce the amount of frozen cranberries to 1/3 cup instead.
Cranberry Orange Cake Variations
Want to switch up this cranberry recipe?
- Fresh or Frozen Berries – we love adding blueberries to add some extra moisture and sweetness.
- Nuts. We love adding chopped walnuts or pecans
- Spread a dollop or a smear of nut butter or dairy-free cream cheese on a slice for a delicious afternoon snack or after-dinner dessert
Make ahead and Storage
The great thing about this healthy cranberry coffee cake is that it can easily be made ahead of time. Once the cake is fully cooled at room temperature, you can wrap the pan in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To store any leftover cake, simply transfer the cake to an airtight sealed container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you want to freeze gluten free cake, I recommend wrapping it in a layer of aluminum foil followed by a layer of plastic wrap. It will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months! When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen cake, just thaw it on the counter overnight before serving.
More Christmas recipes you will love:
This Cranberry Christmas Cake is a delicious soft vanilla cake filled with fresh cranberries and served with a warm buttery sauce making it perfect for the holidays! It's gluten-free, paleo, refined sugar-free with low carb & keto sweetener options.
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup OR may sub with 1/3 cup Lakanto maple syrup for low carb / keto
- 1/4 cup organic refined coconut oil , melted and slightly cooled - may also sub with vegan butter (not paleo), ghee or unsalted grass-fed butter if not dairy-free
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/3 cups superfine blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup ghee , may also sub with unsalted grass-fed butter OR butter-flavored coconut oil for dairy-free
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup OR may sub with 1 Tbsp Lakanto maple syrup for low carb / keto
- 1/4 cup pure coconut cream , we like the one from Trader Joe's. Or you can also scoop out the thickened part of a chilled overnight can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch rectangle cake pan, leaving a slight overhang.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs until smooth. Add the almond milk, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Add the baking soda and salt. Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and sift in the almond flour and coconut flour. Mix until batter is combined. Fold in 1/4 cup of the cranberries.
Transfer batter to the pan, spread the top evenly using an offset spatula.
Top with remaining cranberries and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttery sauce, if using.
Combine the ghee, maple syrup and coconut cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, while continuously stirring.
Once melted, turn up the heat and boil for one minute, until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour hot sauce over warmed cake.Top with sugared cranberries (optional).