This Cranberry Christmas Cake is a deliciously soft and wholesome vanilla cake filled with fresh cranberries then topped with a warm buttery sauce! It’s perfectly festive for the holidays and full of irresistible seasonal flavors that are sure to impress your guests.
Cranberry Christmas Cake: A Festive Delight for Your Holiday Table
‘Tis the season for festive treats, and what better way to celebrate Christmas morning than with a slice of this delicious Cranberry Christmas Cake! Bursting with seasonal flavors and made with wholesome ingredients, this delightful dessert is sure to be the star of your holiday spread.
It’s an easy one-layer vanilla cake recipe 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 Christmas Cranberry Cake would make a wonderful dessert for just about any occasion but is especially festive during the holidays. Sure to impress your guests with a slice of pure joy that’s not only delicious but also gluten-free, paleo, refined sugar-free with low carb & keto sweetener options.and packed with nutritional goodness.
Recipe Ingredients You’ll Need:
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:
For the Cake
- Eggs (room temperature): Providing structure and richness to the cake.
- Unsweetened almond milk (or preferred milk of choice): Adding moisture to ensure a tender crumb.
- Maple syrup (or Lakanto maple syrup for low carb/keto): Sweetening the cake naturally.
- Organic refined coconut oil (melted and slightly cooled): For a moist and flavorful texture; can be substituted with vegan butter, ghee, or unsalted grass-fed butter if not dairy-free.
- Fresh orange juice: Infusing a citrusy brightness.
- Orange zest: Elevating the citrus notes.
- Vanilla extract: Enhancing the overall flavor profile.
- Superfine blanched almond flour: The base of the cake; can be substituted with tiger nut flour or finely ground oat flour for a nut-free option.
- Coconut flour: Providing structure and texture; can be substituted with tapioca starch or arrowroot starch for those with coconut allergies.
- Tapioca starch (or arrowroot starch): A binding agent for better consistency.
- Baking soda: The leavening agent for a light and fluffy cake.
- Fine sea salt: Balancing the sweetness.
- Fresh cranberries: Adding a burst of tartness and vibrant color.
Optional Buttery Sauce
For an extra indulgence, consider preparing the optional buttery sauce:
- Vegan butter (or ghee, butter-flavored coconut oil, or unsalted butter): Luxurious richness.
- Pure maple syrup (or 1 Tbsp Lakanto maple syrup for low carb/keto): Sweetness with a hint of caramel.
- Coconut cream: Creaminess and a tropical touch.
- Vanilla extract: A warm and inviting aroma.
Instructions: How to make Cranberry Christmas Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F: Ensure your cake bakes to perfection by preheating your oven and lining a 9×13-inch rectangle cake pan.
- Prepare the Batter: In a large mixing bowl, blend together eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla until smooth. Add baking soda and salt, sift in almond flour and coconut flour, and mix until well combined. Gently fold in a quarter cup of fresh cranberries.
- Bake to Perfection: Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spread it evenly, and top with the remaining cranberries. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool and Serve: Allow the cake to cool, and meanwhile, relish the anticipation of the delightful flavors about to be enjoyed.
Optional Warm Butter Sauce
- Prepare the Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine ghee, maple syrup, and coconut cream. Stir continuously until melted, then boil for one minute until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and pour the luscious sauce over the cake.
- Garnish: For an extra festive touch, consider topping your cake with sugared cranberries (optional).
Tips for Success
- Room Temperature Eggs: Ensure eggs are at room temperature for a smoother batter.
- Sifting Flours: Sifting almond and coconut flour ensures a lump-free mixture.
- Even Spread: Use an offset spatula for an evenly spread cake top.
- Fresh Cranberries: Fold in fresh cranberries gently to maintain their texture in the baked cake. This cranberry cake 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.
Variations and Substitutions
Feel free to customize the recipe to suit your dietary preferences. Substitute ingredients as needed, such as using alternative flours or sweeteners. Add chopped nuts or dried fruits for an extra layer of texture and flavor.
- Nutty Twist: Add a handful of chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts to the batter for a delightful crunch.
- Dried Fruit Medley: Incorporate a mix of dried fruits like chopped apricots, figs, or raisins for a rich and varied flavor profile.
- Spice Infusion: Enhance the festive feel by adding a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter.
- Citrus Blend: Experiment with different citrus zests or a mix of orange and lemon for a citrusy twist.
Serve this Cranberry Christmas Cake as a delightful dessert after a holiday feast or enjoy a slice with your favorite warm beverage for a cozy winter treat.
- Whipped Cream Delight: Serve each slice with a dollop of freshly whipped cream for an added layer of indulgence.
- Vanilla Ice Cream Pairing: Elevate your dessert experience by pairing the cake with a scoop of high-quality vanilla ice cream.
- Cranberry Coulis Drizzle: Create a quick cranberry coulis by simmering fresh cranberries with a bit of sugar and water; drizzle over the cake for a burst of fruity flavor.
- Tea Time Treat: Enjoy a slice with a cup of spiced chai tea or a comforting herbal blend for a cozy afternoon treat.
Storage, Make-Ahead, and Freezer Instructions
- Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Make-Ahead: Prepare the cake a day in advance; the flavors tend to meld and intensify. 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.
- Freezer: Freeze in slices or the entire cake in a layer of aluminium 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.
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This Cranberry Christmas Cake is a deliciously soft and wholesome vanilla cake filled with fresh cranberries then topped with a warm buttery sauce! It's perfectly festive for the holidays and full of irresistible seasonal flavors that are sure to impress your guests.
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or preferred milk of choice
- 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 , you can also sub with tiger nut flour or finely ground oat flour for a nut-free option.
- 1/2 cup coconut flour , you can also sub with 2/3 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot starch if you have any coconut allergies
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch , or arrowroot starch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup vegan butter , may also sub with ghee, 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).