Cranberries are the new pumpkin. I want fresh cranberries in everything lately. I had half of a bag of cranberries stashed in the freezer and almost made a second batch of Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal, but then I decided I wanted something a little sweeter. So I threw together this super festive and visually stunning Cranberry Almond Cake.
The concept is super simple, almond flavored white cake topped with fresh cranberries and almonds, but the flavor and presentation are nothing short of elegant. If you’ve never made a cake from scratch (in other words, not from a box), you might be surprised at just how easy it is. It literally took minutes. You don’t have to be “good” at baking to make this Cranberry Almond Cake, although you’ll probably want at least a basic hand mixer to help you get the light, fluffy texture going.
If you’re in charge of dessert for Thanksgiving, this Cranberry Almond Cake is simple and festive… and as for the rest of party season, this would be a really quick fix if you don’t want to show up at someone’s house empty handed. I just kept it all to myself in my fridge and have been sneaking a slice here and there all week (oops, now my coworkers are going to be mad). ;) NOM!
Cranberry Almond Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.20)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder ($0.06)
- 1/2 cup butter (salted, room temperature) ($1.04)
- 1 cup white sugar ($0.32)
- 2 large eggs ($0.54)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ($0.14)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract ($0.14)
- 1/2 cup milk ($0.16)
- 6 oz fresh cranberries (about 1.5 cups) ($0.50*)
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds ($0.66)
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder until very well combined. Set the flour mixture aside. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer until they are light and fluffy (start on low speed, then increase to high). Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and beat again until the mixture is very light and creamy in texture (start on low speed again, then increase to high. Beat for about one minute on high).
- Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low until the flour is incorporated. Add half of the milk and beat until incorporated (it may look a little lumpy at first). Repeat with the second half of the flour and then with the second half of the milk. The end product should be a light, fluffy cake batter.
- Rinse the cranberries and then roughly chop them so that that each berry is at least cut in half. Fold 1/2 of chopped cranberries into the cake batter. Spread the cake batter into a 9-inch pie plate coated with non-stick spray, the sprinkle the second half of the cranberries over top. Use your fingers to slightly poke the cranberry pieces down into the top of the batter. Sprinkle the almonds over top and press them lightly into the cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake and almonds are lightly browned on top.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Cranberry Almond Cake – Step by Step Photos
Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder until they are well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat together 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup sugar until it looks light and fluffy. Make sure the butter is room temperature or else it won’t incorporate with the sugar. Also, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times as you beat the mixture together so that there aren’t any large lumps of butter left behind.
Add 2 large eggs and a 1/2 tsp each of vanilla and almond extracts. Beat again until the mixture is very light and creamy, on high about one minute. (This is my favorite stage of any cookie or cake batter. I have to use all my will power not taste…)
Next, beat in half of the flour mixture. It will get pretty thick, so just beat it until it looks well incorporated (30 seconds or so). Then add half of the milk (1/4 cup) and beat it until it’s incorporated (it may look a little lumpy, that’s okay). Beat the rest of the flour in, followed by the rest of the milk (1/4 cup). In the end, it will look super light, creamy, and velvety like this. This is when I thought to myself, “Who decided to ruin cake batter by baking it?”
Lightly chop 6oz (1/2 of a standard 12 oz bag) of cranberries so that each berry its at least cut in half. I didn’t take the time or care to slice them all in half individually. You just want to make sure they’re at least cut so that they don’t swell and pop while they bake. Fold half of the chopped cranberries into the batter.
Spread the batter into a 9″ pie plate coated with non-stick spray. Sprinkle the rest of the cranberries over top, then push them down into the batter.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup sliced almonds over top and kind of push them down into the batter so that they stick. Then just pop the whole thing in the oven for about 35 minutes at 350ºF. When it’s finished, it should be golden brown on top (the cake AND almonds).
Let it cool a bit before slicing in.
I made this last thanksgiving and OMG it was wonderful. I want to make it again but can’t find fresh cranberries this time of year. Would blueberries work?
Since we haven’t tested it ourselves, I can’t be absolutely sure of the outcome. Blueberries do have a slightly higher moisture content than cranberries. If you can’t find fresh cranberries right now, I’d suggest looking in the frozen section, too! That’s usually the best way to find a high-quality version of any fruit or veggie that’s out of season since they are typically frozen at peak freshness. ~ Marion :)
Thanks so much, I really appreciate your fast response!
Hi Beth, looking forward to making this to take to dinner at at friend’s house. We are at 4500 foot level. Are any adjustments needed for baking at high altitude?
Hi, Trace! Since we are based in Nashville and cannot do any recipe testing at high altitudes, we try not to give any specific recommendations in terms of times and temperatures because we can’t promise they will be successful. However, the general rule for baking at a high altitude is that you want to RAISE the oven temperature by 15-25*F than the suggested temp. and bake the recipe for approx. 5-8 minutes LESS for every 30 minutes of baking time. I hope that helps a little! ~Marion :)
I made this for a last minute Christmas brunch and it was well received! I ended up using frozen cranberries (what I had) and defrosted them by running water over them. I substituted almond paste for almond extract, I didn’t have the extract. I could have used a touch more almond paste for more of an almond flavor. The actual cake was delicious and had a great texture. The cranberries being frozen did not affect the cake at all, I’ll have to keep that in mind!
Thank you Beth for an easy and tasty cake recipe. I did modify your recipe a bit: I used eggnog in place of milk for an extra Christmas flavour. And I used a food processor on pulse to coarsely chop cranberries.
Hi! Is it supposed to pass the toothpick test? It smells so good, but I can’t tell if it’s cooked or not. I’ll give it another shot if it doesn’t work out this time. I don’t want it to be dry from overcooking. Thank you!
Yep, it should pass the toothpick test. :)