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This cranberry pound cake recipe is the perfect dessert for your Christmas gathering! It is festive, delicious, and easy to make. The orange zest gives it a wonderful pop of citrus flavor, and the fresh cranberries add a touch of tartness that balances out the sweetness of the cake. I topped my cranberry cake with sliced almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar, but you can get creative and top it with whatever you like. This recipe is great with a cup of hot coffee or tea or an ice-cold glass of milk. Whatever you serve this cranberry almond cake with, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Cranberries and the holidays are synonymous with one another, and while the most popular dish to make around the holidays with cranberries has to be cranberry sauce, the sweet and tart fruit can also make its way into desserts. Not only do the cranberries add a beautiful vibrant red color and a pop of tartness, but they also help to keep the cake moist. This recipe for cranberry pound cake is one that I have been making for years, and it’s still one of my favorites.
why you’ll love this fresh cranberry cake
- Easy holiday cake. Making this cranberry almond cake is incredibly simple, and it’s perfect for the busy holiday season! If you have a Christmas party to go to and need a dessert to bring, this is the recipe for you.
- Festive flavor combination. The combination of cranberry and orange is a favorite one during the holiday season, and this cake has both in it. The sliced almonds get lightly toasted while baking adding a crunchy texture contrast and nutty flavor to the cake.
- Moist and delicious. Because of the fresh cranberries, this cranberry almond cake is incredibly moist, tender, and bursting with flavor. Once you take a bite of this dessert, you won’t be able to stop!
- Perfect for brunch. This cranberry cake is not cloyingly sweet, making it a great choice for brunch, dessert, or as a snack.
Ingredients to make an almond cranberry cake
- Cranberries: Fresh cranberries work best in this recipe, and are easy to find in November and December in your local grocery store. I like to snag a couple of bags and throw them in the freezer for year-round use in different recipes. If all you have on hand is frozen cranberries, you can use those.
- Orange zest: We won’t be using the orange flesh for this cranberry cake, just the zest. You want to be a little picky when picking out your orange, look for one that is relatively thick-skinned and firm to the touch. If you can, I’d also go organic.
- Almonds: You can get a bag of sliced almonds at the store for this recipe, or if you have a food processor, you can easily make chopped almonds to sprinkle on top. Just pulse some raw almonds until they are finely chopped. This will add nice texture contrast to the cake.
- Powdered sugar: A light dusting of powdered sugar is the perfect finishing touch to this cake. You don’t want to go too crazy with it, or it may become too sweet.
- Dry ingredients: I like to use all-purpose flour, which is a great choice for this cranberry pound cake. You could also use whole wheat or white whole wheat flour as an alternative. You’ll also need baking powder, baking soda, and salt to help the cake rise and offer flavor balance. Cane sugar and a pinch of cinnamon will also be added to this dry mixture.
- Wet ingredients: This cranberry cake also needs some butter, Greek yogurt in place of milk, and eggs. The Greek yogurt helps keep the cake moist, while the butter adds richness to it. I also add in some vanilla extract to punch up the flavor and gives the cranberry cake some vanilla undertones.
How to make a cranberry cake with fresh cranberries
- Cream together the butter, and sugar until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract. Add the Greek yogurt and orange zest. Until just mixed.
- Slowly add the flour mixture, allowing some to fully mix in before adding the next.
- Once the flour is incorporated, and the batter has formed, fold in the cranberries and sliced almonds.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly, so it reaches the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds on top.
- Bake until the coffee cake is cooked through in the center. Let cool and serve.
Tips for making cranberry pound cake
- Don’t thaw frozen cranberries. This recipe works well with fresh or frozen cranberries. If you want to use frozen ones, there’s no need to thaw. That way, they won’t bleed into the cake batter and turn it pink!
- Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. For best results when making a cranberry pound cake, it’s important to gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together. This will help prevent overmixing and ensure that the cake stays tender and moist.
- When zesting, avoid the white. Be sure to only get the orange peel and not the white pith, as that can add a bitter taste to your sauce.
- Let the cake cool completely before slicing. Be sure to let your cranberry almond cake fully cool before slicing and serving so that it holds together well. If you slice and serve while the cake is still warm, it may fall apart.
popular substitutions & additions
- Add some more warm spices. If you want to make your cranberry pound cake even more flavorful, consider adding some warm spices like nutmeg or allspice. This will complement the tartness of the fresh cranberries and add a comforting holiday feel to this dessert.
- Use lemon instead of orange zest. If you don’t have oranges on hand or prefer a slightly different flavor profile, consider using lemon zest instead. This will give your cranberry pound cake a bright and refreshing taste.
- Top with streusel or glaze. To take your almond cranberry cake to the next level, top it with a simple cinnamon-sugar streusel or a drizzle of glaze. This will add some extra sweetness and crunchy texture that contrasts nicely with the flavorful cake.
- Switch out the almonds. You can use walnuts or pecans instead of almonds for your cranberry cake, if desired.
how to store & reheat orange cranberry cake
To store your cranberry pound cake, let it cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. This will help prevent the cake from drying out or becoming stale. You can keep your cake at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for a longer shelf life.
To reheat your orange cranberry cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, place the cake on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until warm throughout. Alternatively, you can reheat individual slices in the microwave on medium power for 30-60 seconds, depending on the desired level of warmth. Be sure to check that your cake is not getting too hot or drying out, as you don’t want to damage the delicate sponge. Enjoy your warm cranberry pound cake with some whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream for an extra delicious treat!
how long will cranberry pound cake last in the fridge?
The shelf life of your cranberry pound cake will depend on a few factors, such as the storage conditions and if you let it cool completely. In general, properly stored cakes should last in the fridge for up to 5-7 days.
can I freeze almond cranberry cake?
Yes, you can freeze cranberry pound cake. To do so, let the cake cool completely and then slice it into individual servings. Place the slices on a baking sheet in the freezer until they are firm. Then, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag and store them for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let the cake thaw at room temperature for a few hours, or place it in the fridge overnight.
Alternatively, you can freeze it whole. To do so, wrap the cake tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. You can store your whole cranberry pound cake in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, let it thaw at room temperature before slicing and serving.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! You can use dried cranberries if that’s what you have on hand. Fresh adds a different flavor profile and, of course, the aspect of fresh fruit. If you do go with dried cranberries, look for unsweetened ones.
I would not recommend substituting the sauce for the fresh cranberries because it’s going to add too much moisture and sweetness.
Yes, use ¾ cup of milk in place of the 1 cup of Greek yogurt in this recipe.
Cranberry pound cake is a delicious and festive dessert that can be enjoyed during the Christmas season. The addition of fresh cranberries, orange zest, and sliced almonds gives this cake a bright and tangy flavor while also holding together well. Serve it for brunch alongside your favorite coffee or tea, or enjoy it as an after-dinner treat topped with a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of glaze.
More cake recipes:
- Semolina Cake
- Almond Cake
- Olive Oil Cake
- Coffee Cake with a Cinnamon Crumb
- Lemon Pound Cake with Cranberries
- Single Serving Chocolate Cake
- Single Serving Birthday Cake
- Single Serving Nutella Cake
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
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- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter room temperature, plus more for baking dish
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 orange zested
- 1 ½ cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1 cup sliced almonds roughly chopped
- Powdered sugar for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch round baking pan with butter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, and sugar for 3-5 minutes or until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract. Add the Greek yogurt and orange zest.
- Slowly add the flour mixture, allowing some to fully mix in before adding the next. Once the flour is incorporated and the batter has formed, fold in the cranberries and ½ cup of sliced almonds.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly so it reaches the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds on top.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is cooked through in the center. Let cool and serve.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.