This orange cranberry cake promises to be the star of your Christmas table. It is a velvety and spongy cake with a delicate orange flavor and filled with cranberries, both inside the cake and as a filling. This orange cranberry cake pairs perfectly with the smooth orange-flavored cream cheese frosting. The tanginess of the cranberries balances with the sweetness of the frosting. And the orange just gives a nice and flavorful extra touch. Read my instructions and tips carefully to get the fluffiest cake and learn an easy way to decorate this cake!
How to make an orange cranberry cake?
Get to know the recipe! Follow these steps to make this cake:
- Flavor the sugar with the orange zest.
- Cream the sugar with the butter.
- Add the eggs one at a time until combined.
- Add the yogurt and mix.
- Add the dry ingredients alternating with the orange juice.
- Cover the cranberries with flour and add to the batter.
- Bake, let cool, and cut the cake tops.
- Prepare the cranberry sauce and let it cool.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting and assemble the cake with it and the sauce.
- Cover the cake with frosting and add the toppings.
I used cranberries, as I feel it’s the official Holiday fruit, and it’s available in most stores! But this cake will go wonderfully with the berry of your choice or a combination of them. Cherries are also a great idea for this cake. All of them can be used fresh or frozen, both for the cake batter and the sauce.
Why does cream cheese frosting work with orange cranberry cake?
Cranberry and orange are a classic combo that never gets old. But why does it go so well with cream cheese frosting? Cream cheese frosting is usually sweet since it has a good amount of icing sugar to keep its shape. That sweetness balances the tanginess of the cranberries, making the flavors the perfect match. Also, cream cheese frosting goes very well with citrus flavors such as orange or lemon and is a beautiful choice for winter celebrations.
Use room temperature ingredients
It is super important for this recipe to use butter, eggs, yogurt, and orange juice at room temperature. This will help them blend more easily, creating a smooth batter and a soft crumb with good structure.
The moisture of this cake lays, for the most part, in not overbaking. Even leaving the cake in the oven for an extra few minutes could make it dry. Start testing in the time called for in the recipe. If it is not ready, test again every 2 to 5 minutes.
Fluffy and Delicious Orange Cranberry Cake
- 3 6-inch cake pans
- Straight spatula for decorating
- Piping bag
- Wilton 2D piping tip
- 300 g Granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 Orange
- 180 g Unsalted butter soft
- 3 Eggs
- 140 g Greek yogurt
- 100 ml Orange juice
- 290 g Cake flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp Baking soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- 200 g Cranberries frozen or fresh
- 15 g Cake flour
- 120 g Cranberries
- 60 g Granulated Sugar
- 40 ml Orange Juice
Orange-flavored cream cheese frosting
- 320 g Firm cream cheese
- 200 g Unsalted butter soft
- Zest of 1 orange
- 520 g Icing sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and line with parchment paper three 6-inch cake pans.
- In a bowl, place the sugar with the orange zest and rub with your hands until the sugar is moist and scented with the orange essential oils.
- Beat the sugar with the softened butter until pale and creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Then add the yogurt and continue mixing until smooth.
- Mix the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add half to the batter. Continue beating until combined.
- Add the orange juice and mix. Then, add the rest of the dry ingredients and continue beating until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, toss the cranberries with the flour until they get fully coverd with the flour.
- Mix the cranberries into the batter and combine gently with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the three cake pans, splitting it into equal parts. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Leave in the molds for 10-15 minutes and unmold.
- Let them fully cool, and remove the cake tops to get even layers. Wrap each layer in plastic. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- In a saucepan, place the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice. If you’re using frozen cranberries, add them directly from the freezer. Mix and bring to medium heat. When the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat and continue cooking until the fruit softens and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 5 minutes).
- Let cool before filling the cake. As it cools, it becomes firmer.
Cream cheese frosting and decoration
- Bring the cream cheese to room temperature an hour beforehand. Beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment on a stand mixer (or a handheld mixer) until the cream cheese softens.
- Add the soft butter and orange zest and continue beating until you get a creamy mixture.
- Add the icing sugar and salt and continue beating on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes until you get a fluffy and stable frosting.
- To assemble the cake, set a layer of cake on the plate. Place cream cheese and spread it, creating a rim of frosting on the edge of the cake layer. Add the cranberry sauce and spread it.
- Cover with another cake layer and do the same with the next layer. Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting and let cool in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Once the crumb coat is set, add more cream cheese on the top and sides of the cake. Spread the frosting with short strokes to get a rustic design.
- Set a piping bag with a star tip and fill it with frosting. Make small rosettes around the top of the cake.
- Decorate with cookies, dried orange slices, and sugared cranberries and rosemary.