Cranberry Christmas cake is a show-stopping dessert you have got to try this holiday season! It’s an amazing white cake filled with cranberries and topped with indulgent white chocolate buttercream!
Cranberry White Cake With White Chocolate Buttercream Recipe
If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas dessert, this is it! Not only is cranberry Christmas cake a beauty, but it’s also moist and delicious! The tender cake, white chocolate buttercream, and tart cranberries make each bite perfectly balanced! This festive cake isn’t too sweet or too tart, and everyone will want a piece! Trust me when I say this- this cake tastes just like something you’d get from an upscale bakery. I couldn’t believe it when I had my first bite! This cake will both impress your guests and leave their stomachs happy.
I start with my tried and true white cake recipe, which never lets me down. In this recipe, I also add orange zest and juice for added holiday flavor! Then, I seal up my cake layers with easy white chocolate buttercream. It’s as delicious as it sounds! It whips up in minutes and honestly, the hardest part is refraining from eating all of it straight from the bowl! Add the finishing touch of sugared cranberries on top and you have an A+ Christmas dessert. It almost looks too good to eat! Let’s get baking!
Cranberry Christmas Cake Ingredients
Here is the master list of everything you need for this spectacular cake! Don’t let the hefty ingredient list fool you. I bet you’ve got most of these in your pantry right now! And if you’re looking for measurements, they can be found in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.
- Granulated Sugar: White sugar is a must to sweeten up your cake batter!
- Orange Zest: Orange just screams Christmas. I love adding both zest and juice to my cake for aromatics and flavor!
- Cake Flour: I use cake flour in this recipe for a light, fluffy structure. You can also use all-purpose flour, but keep in mind it will alter the crumb slightly.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Add both or you’ll end up with a cake that’s flat and dense!
- Salt: Used to enhance overall flavor.
- Buttermilk: The fat content in buttermilk helps to make your cake nice and moist! You can buy it at the store, but I prefer to make it at home. It’s super easy!
- Fresh Orange Juice: Added to your batter for zesty flavor.
- Vanilla: Added for flavor! I suggest using pure vanilla extract if possible.
- Vegetable Oil: Used to add moisture to your cake and bind ingredients together.
- Egg Whites: Since this is a variation of white cake, I use just the egg whites and not the yolks.
- Cranberries: You can use either fresh or frozen!
White Chocolate Buttercream
- White Chocolate: Use your favorite here! My personal favorite is Lindt.
- Butter: I add softened, unsalted butter for richness.
- Powdered Sugar: For adding sweetness and a smooth texture to your frosting. Powdered sugar is also used to coat the cranberries used for garnish.
- Vanilla Extract: No frosting is complete without a little vanilla flavor!
- Salt: I add a dash of salt to enhance flavor.
- Heavy Cream: A little heavy cream is added to this buttercream for a richer taste!
- Sugared Cranberries: Sugared cranberries are a tasty, beautiful garnish!
How to Make Your Cranberry Christmas Cake
Since we use egg whites in this recipe instead of egg yolks, it doe take a bit more preparation to put together. But it is well worth it! You’re going to love what you create! Cranberry Christmas cake is absolutely delightful.
- Preheat Oven, Prep Pans: First, preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
- Combine Sugar and Zest: In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the zest of the oranges until fragrant.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the orange sugar, 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add Wet Ingredients: To the same bowl add the buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla, and oil and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or a hand mixer just until fully combined.
- Prepare Egg Whites: In another bowl, whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the cake batter to loosen it up, followed by the remaining egg whites. Fold until only a few streaks of egg whites remain.
- Toss Cranberries: Next, toss the cranberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Fold into the cake batter until just combined.
- Bake: Separate the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool completely before frosting. Top with sugared cranberries and enjoy!
Making Your White Chocolate Buttercream
- Melt: In a small bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Allow the fully melted chocolate to cool down for at least 10 minutes, until it is room temperature, not warm to the touch.
- Mix in Butter: In a large bowl add the softened butter and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and light. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the cooled white chocolate until fully combined and smooth.
- Mix in Remaining Ingredients: Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and mix on low until nearly completely absorbed before increasing the speed to high. Whip for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Add the tablespoon of heavy cream and mix on medium speed until smooth and silky.
Christmas Cake Tips
Here are some simple things to keep in mind while you make your cranberry Christmas cake! They’re easy fixes to help it turn out perfectly every time. Honestly, this cake is so good, you might just want to make it year-round! I know I will!
- Use Room Temperature Wet Ingredients: The key to a smooth batter with no lumps is to make sure all of your wet ingredients are at room temperature before mixing in. I will usually set them out 15-30 minutes before I begin preparing my cake.
- Measure Flour: I know this seems like a given, but not measuring out your flour properly will leave you with a cake that’s hard and stiff.
- Don’t Overmix Egg Whites: Only mix your egg whites until they reach medium stiff peaks. If you overbeat the egg whites, they may fall apart and ultimately your cake will have a more dense texture.
- Flour Your Cranberries: Make sure you toss your cranberries in flour before adding them to your cake. This will help them disperse evenly and not just sink to the bottom of the pan.
Storing Leftover Cake
If by some slim chance you’ve got leftovers of this mouthwatering cake, here’s how to store it for best results! I’m sure you won’t have leftovers for long! It’s too good to pass up.
- In the Refrigerator: Since we use buttercream in this recipe, you’re going to need to keep your cake in the fridge. Keep wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. It will last for up to 4 days.
Cranberry Christmas Cake
- 1 ½ Cups Granulated Sugar
- Zest of 2 Oranges
- 2 ¼ Cups Cake Flour divided
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- ¼ Cup Fresh Orange Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
- 4 Egg whites
- 1 ½ Cup Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
White Chocolate Buttercream
- 12 Ounces White Chocolate
- 1 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter Softened
- 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Dash Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
- Sugared Cranberries for Garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease 2, 8 inch round cake pans and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the sugar with the zest of the oranges until fragrant.
In a large bowl whisk together the orange sugar, 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl whip the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the cake batter to loosen it up, followed by the remaining egg whites. Fold until only a few streaks of egg whites remain.
Toss the cranberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Fold into the cake batter until just combined.
Separate the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool completely before frosting. Top with sugared cranberries and enjoy!
White Chocolate Buttercream
In a small bowl melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Allow the fully melted chocolate to cool down for at least 10 minutes until it is room temperature, not warm to the touch.
In a large bowl add the softened butter and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and light. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the cooled white chocolate until fully combined and smooth.
Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix on low until nearly completely absorbed before increasing the speed to high. Whip for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Add the tablespoon of heavy cream and mix on medium speed until smooth and silky.
The Recipe Critic