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Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. www.modernhoney.com #cranberry #cranberrycake #cranberryorange #cranberryorangecake

Cranberry Orange Cake

A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. 

I am just going to start off with this — THIS CAKE IS INSANELY AMAZING. Okay I said it. It is ridiculously moist with a burst of fresh orange flavor and tangy tart cranberries. Then the cream cheese orange zest frosting puts it over the top. This is the perfect holiday cake to highlight fresh cranberries that are in season right now.

Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. www.modernhoney.com #cranberry #cranberrycake #cranberryorange #cranberryorangecake

We live by groves and groves of orange trees. This is the time of year where fresh oranges are in abundance and we have dear friends who let us picks fresh oranges and lemons from their trees every year. I love using fruits when they are in season because they are at their peak ripeness. Both oranges and cranberries are in season in December and this cake highlights them perfectly.

I absolutely love baking homemade cakes because they taste so much better than boxed cake mixes. I only put my very favorite cake recipes on Modern Honey and my Mom has declared this her new favorite MH recipe. If you have tried my ORANGE CAKE RECIPE before, you will fall in love with this Fresh Cranberry and Orange Cake.

Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. www.modernhoney.com #cranberry #cranberrycake #cranberryorange #cranberryorangecake

So what makes this Cranberry Orange Cake so special? It all starts off with making it extra moist. This is accomplished by using a mix of oil, eggs, orange juice, and sour cream.  Each of them plays an integral role to not only make it moist on the first day…but even after five days.

Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. www.modernhoney.com #cranberry #cranberrycake #cranberryorange #cranberryorangecake

This Orange Cranberry Cake uses both orange juice and orange zest. The orange zest is where so much of the vibrant orange flavor comes from. One of my favorite gadgets is a zester. You can grab one here for about $13. I like to use freshly squeezed orange juice but you can use any orange juice from the grocery store as well.

I use fresh cranberries when they are in season to make this cake. Cut the cranberries in half and toss in flour to ensure the cranberries don’t sink to the bottom of the cake.

Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. www.modernhoney.com #cranberry #cranberrycake #cranberryorange #cranberryorangecake

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST CRANBERRY ORANGE CAKE:

  • Start with the dry ingredients. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. The two leavening agents – baking soda and baking powder – give the cake a perfect rise. Keep in mind that homemade cake recipes don’t dome in the center like boxed caked mixes do. This cranberry cake recipe stays pretty even.
  • Adding Oil makes the orange cranberry cake extra moist. You can use your favorite type of oil, as long as it is fresh. I tend to reach for canola oil in most of my cakes.
  • Use Orange Juice and Fresh Orange Zest to impart orange flavor into the cake. This gives it an all-natural orange flavor. A zesteris an essential tool in the kitchen to ensure you only get the orange peel, instead of the bitter white rind.
  • Sour Cream helps to create a perfect texture. By using sour cream or buttermilk, it creates a moist and tender crumb. I use full-fat sour cream in all of my cakes.

Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. www.modernhoney.com #cranberry #cranberrycake #cranberryorange #cranberryorangecake

  • Use Fresh Cranberries, if available. Cut the cranberries in half and toss in flour to ensure the cranberries don’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
  • Bake just until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cake. If you want the cake to be extra moist, you may brush the layers with a simple syrup, which is a water and sugar syrup mix.
  • Once the cakes are cool, frost with homemade orange cream cheese frosting. The frosting is made by whipping butter and cream cheese for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest.

Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. www.modernhoney.com #cranberry #cranberrycake #cranberryorange #cranberryorangecake

More favorite Modern Honey cake recipes:

My favorite cake baking essentials:

USA 8-inch cake pans
USA 9-inch cake pans
Icing Angled Spatula

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4.97 from 26 votes

Cranberry Orange Cake

By: Modern Honey - www.modernhoney.com
Cranberry Orange Cake. A moist orange zest cake with fresh cranberries with a sweet cream cheese orange frosting. A sweet yet tart holiday cake. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients  

Cranberry Orange Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Oil (such as canola oil)
  • 1 cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1 cup Sour Cream (preferably full-fat)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Orange Zest
  • 1 1/2 cups Fresh Cranberries (cut in half)

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 cup Butter (softened)
  • (1) 8-ounce pkg. Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another mixing bowl, cream oil, orange juice, eggs, sour cream, and orange zest until completely mixed.
  • Fold in dry ingredients, mixing only until combined. Cut cranberries and toss in a bowl of flour (this helps to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Fold in cranberries. Pour into greased (3) 8-inch or (2) 9-inch cake pans.
  • Bake for 19-22 minutes, depending on the size of pan used. To test if the cakes are done, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl halfway through mixing. Stir in powdered sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.
  • Once cakes are cooled, frost with orange cream cheese frosting.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16
Keyword: cranberry orange cake
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Hi, I'm Melissa Stadler!

I am an Award-Winning Recipe Creator. Cover of Food Network Magazine. Two-Time Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist. I am passionate about sharing the best recipes so you have success in the kitchen!

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Recipe Rating




26 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just finished making this for Christmas Day dinner. Based on the crumbs in the cake pans and licking frosting off the spatula, this is absolutely delicious! Looks pretty too. Can’t wait to eat a whole piece tomorrow!

  2. 5 stars
    This is my 2nd year in a row making this delicious cake. It was such a big hit last year so I made it again this year.
    At least we could have company this year for dinner. This was one of my Thanksgiving Desserts. A must try,

  3. 5 stars
    My family and I loved this cake! I used half a cup orange juice, 1/2 cup grand marnier in the cake. I also didn’t have sour cream on hand and used a block a cream cheese with 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 tbs of half and half (beaten separately and then incorporated into the wet ingredients.

  4. I did this cake today and i respected exactly the measurements and ingredients were fresh and everything but after 25 minutes in the oven the cakes were still wet in the middle,like undone or so,…I left them an additional 5 minutes and still was undone but the edges started to brown too much regarding the fact I had to leave them longer because the middle wasn’t completely cooked!!! Any opinions why thi happened!?!

    1. The same thing happened to me.I used 2 9 inch pans,so I knew it would take longer,but I think my total was 42 minutes.Upon first glance,it did look like a very high wet to dry ratio. I still have them cooling,my tester finally came out clean,but it was no 22 minutes.

      1. This cake is the bomb. I had the same experience with the cake in the 9 in cake pan. Left in over for a total of 10 more mins checking every 5. Interestingly the published cook time was perfect for cupcakes though. I’m definitely making this again.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was “FANTASTIC”! I have never been disappointed with anything I have made using Melissa’s recipes! And I have made a lot of them!