Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quick Cranberry Cake (with our without Lemon Curd)

Time for some cake! Even though Christmas has come and gone, a treat here and there should still be allowed, right? Plus, the New Year is here! Welcome 2012! Let's continue to celebrate. Cranberries should still be in season at your grocery store...

I love the change in seasons--all seasons have something so wonderful to contribute to our lives--I can even stomach the shorter days of winter knowing that I can come home, cuddle with my loved ones, have candles burning, or be forced to read--but I just can't take the illnesses from winter anymore! And we've been sick some more. Baking cheers me up, so I wanted to post on this super easy cranberry cake I tried in between rocking my daughter for comfort, doing laundry, and trying to pack for a trip that no longer happened (thank you viruses)--then again, this may also have saved me from another speeding ticket...

Hope everyone had wonderful holidays! Here is what I've enjoyed so far in this winter season:

I had my husband take some of this lovely cranberry cake over to the neighbors on Christmas for good cheer and made a second one for us just to use up the frozen cranberries in my freezer. The first batch I made with the addition of lemon curd and the second, just plain. I loved them both. However, here is what I learned:

  1.  I preferred to use the 9X13 pan better than the 10-inch round pan. The 10-inch round pan will give you more of a gooey center--which is alright--almost pudding-like. But, I think I preferred a more sponge-like cake and settled on the longer, thinner pan. But, either way is wonderful. 
  2. For the second cake, I sprinkled a little Turbinado sugar on top before baking. I love the crunch! 
  3. I'm sure the cake would also benefit with the addition of lemon or orange zest--but it's also nice to not have all cranberry recipes taste the same and this one really pulls out the freshness of the berry when it stands alone.
  4. I used half light butter and half regular fat butter for the first recipe and all light butter for the second recipe and preferred the first version better due to the moistness (so, it's fine to use a little light butter--probably not for the whole cake, though if you do, you will still like it a lot).
  5. You could also replace the cranberries with blueberries if you prefer--but I love the tartness of the seasonal cranberry! YUM!
  6. *Like my first cake, you could add 2-3 tablespoons of lemon curd (add 1 extra Tbsp. of flour if you add lemon curd)

This is a wonderfully rustic dessert with vanilla ice-cream or with a hot drink like cocoa. Or eat it on its own. Though not terribly healthy, it is tart and sweet, and seems to fill the need for comfort. Enjoy!


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks (I used salted, but original recipe calls for unsalted)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. kirsch (optional)--I skipped this even though I had it
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. of milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups cranberries (1 bag)
  • *2-3 Tbsp. lemon curd (OPTIONAL--see Point #6 above)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan or a 10" springform pan.

Beat eggs and sugar together for 5-7 minutes; the eggs will increase in volume quite a bit, streaming into ribbons when you lift the beaters. They will also turn pale yellow.

Add butter and extracts (and lemon curd, if using). Beat for 2 minutes. Add the milk and salt and mix for another 30 seconds.

Stir in flour and fold in cranberries. Pour into greased pan.

Bake 45-50 minutes for a 9x13, or a little over an hour for the springform. You may need to tent the cake with foil in the last 15 minutes or so to keep the top from browning. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Hello my little bright spot in a dreary day.


  1. That cake looks so moist and the cranberries would add such a nice tartness to every bite. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your cake up.

  2. Thanks so much! It looks so good I want to make a few batches. One for now, some for later. Looks great!