It is the most moist and tender cake I have ever made. It is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas (or any time in the winter season).
I made it back in February (just before Texas’ unprecedented Snowmageddon), and I made it again and took it to my family’s Thanksgiving gathering. It was a big hit:
It is a fairly easy, but involved, recipe. Trust me though, it is worth the time!
You can used canned/store-bought frosting, but it is so much better when you make the frosting in the recipe below.
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The Best Cranberry Orange Cake
- 4 eggs (separated)
- ½ cup salted butter (softened)
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 Tbs orange zest
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup salted butter (softened)
- 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 1 Tbs orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbs fresh orange juice
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar (depending on the consistency you desire)
This is an optional layer. If you want jam between the layers, I highly recommend my Cranberry Sauce. If you don’t want to add the jam layer, layering frosting between the cake layers is tasty too.
I wrote a whole post about making my simple (and delicious cranberry sauce). I made it ahead of time and let it cool.
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and line three 8” round cake pans.
Separate your eggs, then set them aside. (Egg whites whip better when they are at room temperature.)
With a mixer beat the butter until it is fluffy and then add the oil. Beat together until they are well combined. Add the sugar – one cup at a time – making sure the mixture is well combined each time before adding more.
Next, add the egg yolks one at a time – beat well after each addition.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda. After combined, set the mixture aside.
In another separate bowl combine the vanilla extract, milk and orange zest.
With the mixer on the lowest speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients with the butter mixture – start by adding the dry ingredients and end with them too. Mix until well combined.
Transfer the batter to a large bowl. Wash the mixer bowl and then add the egg whites to the mixer bowl and beat on high for 1-2 minutes until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the rest of the batter. Fold until well combined.
Next you will add the cranberries to the batter. (To prevent them from plummeting to the bottom of the pan, toss the fresh berries with some flour.) After coating them lightly with flour, gently fold the cranberries into the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the three pans.
Bake for 24-30 minutes – until the top is a light golden-brown color and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven. After 10 minutes, run a butter knife between the edge of the cake and the side of the pan. Turn the cakes out onto a wire cooling rack and let them cool.
While the cakes are cooling, beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Add the zest and vanilla extract and mix well.
Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time- starting with 4 cups. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides, to ensure everything is well mixed together.
Add the orange juice and mix on low. If the frosting is a little on the runny side, add more powdered sugar until you are happy with the consistency.
If you want to decorate the cake with candied cranberries, start by adding the water and sugar to a saucepan. Line an edged cookie sheet with foil (this makes clean up easier) then place a wire cooling rack on the foil. As it warms (but before it boils), add the cranberries. Stir the berries to coat then with the simple syrup. Then pour the contents of the saucepan over the cooling rack, then sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Leave them there to cool.
Cranberries are really pretty when candied. They look very wintery.
To assemble, put the frosting into a piping bag or a gallon size Ziploc and cut the tip off one of the bottom corners.
Place one of the cakes in the center of your serving plate. Squeeze the frosting out of the bag in a line on the top edge of the cake. Either fill the center with the cranberry sauce or more frosting, spreading the filling evenly to cover the center completely.
Add the second layer of cake and repeat the process. Top it off with the last layer of cake.
Squeeze more frosting out on top of the third cake and use and angled cake spatula to evenly spread frosting over the top and sides of the stacked cakes.
Once you are pleased with the frosting, move on to decorating. You can decorate however you want, I personally like to add a line of the candied cranberries along the bottom where the cake meets the plate. It gives it a nicely finished look. I also like to add the cranberries to the top of the cake. I think it looks like something you’d see on The Great British Baking Show.
That’s it! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.