Christmas Orange Cranberry Cake Recipe (video)

ombre cranberry cake

I love making and eating cranberry desserts during the holiday season! Something about that sour and sweet flavor of cranberry has always captured my taste buds. This festive holiday orange cranberry cake with white chocolate cake, ombre whipped cream frosting and cranberry sauce is no exception! It’s the perfect Christmas cake to serve for any holiday gathering and the show-stopping ombre will have your guests ‘oohing’ and ‘awwing’!

My Cranberry Cake Video Tutorial!

Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions and to learn how to make the ombre effect – it’s actually super easy! And make sure you’re subscribed to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel to receive email notifications!

Ingredients for Orange Cranberry Cake

Here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make this festive Christmas cake:

  • Butter, Sugar, Eggs, Milk: for making the cake batter:
  • White Chocolate Chips: the melted chocolate won’t add too much flavor but it will make the cake extra moist, more delicate and soft.
  • Orange Zest: for the cake batter and for the frosting. The more orange zest, the better and more orange flavor!
  • Cranberries: you can use fresh or frozen (thawed) berries for making the homemade cranberry sauce. 
  • Cranberry Sauce: use store-bought cranberry sauce and add some orange zest, if you don’t have time to make your own.
  • Heavy Cream: use well-chilled cream for making the whipped cream frosting.
  • Cream Cheese: you can also use mascarpone cheese. Soften the cheese at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to using.
  • Red Food Coloring: for making the ombre frosting affect.
A cranberry orange cake with fruit on top of a table

How to Make Orange Cranberry Cake

Here’s how to put together this stunning holiday cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line 4, 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a non-stick baking spray. You can also use 2, 8-inch cake rounds, then split the layers in half once the layers are cooled.
  2. Prepare the cake batter first. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, softened butter and vanilla for 2 to 3 minutes, until the butter is fluffy. Add the eggs, a few at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the warm milk and orange zest next. Mix until incorporated and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter. Mix the flour into the batter just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the melted white chocolate last and mix again for about 30 seconds. Divide the cake batter evenly among the 4 cake pans. Level the batter with an off-set spatula. Bake the layers in the preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the layers from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare a batch of the whipped cream frosting. Keep the frosting refrigerated until you’re ready to assemble the cake.
  5. Also, prepare the orange cranberry sauce. The sauce needs to be completely cooled before you use it for filling cake. Try spreading it thinly onto a tray and refrigerating it so it cools faster.
  6. To assemble the cake, first soak the layers generously with the orange juice, squeezed from the zested oranges. Spread about 1/2 cup cranberry sauce over each layer, then top with a generous amount of plain whipped cream. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the plain frosting first and smooth down with an off-set spatula.
  7. To create the ombre effect, pipe a few lines of red frosting around the bottom of the cake, then use a flat cake spatula to blend the frosting upwards (watch my video for more details!). Pipe the remaining red frosting on the top as dollops to garnish the cake. Garnish with edible sprinkles, pearls and cranberry. This cake can be served immediately, or refrigerated.
A cranberry orange cake with fruit on top of a table

The Whipped Cream Frosting

For the frosting, I use a super fluffy and delicious white chocolate whipped cream with cream cheese more orange zest! This frosting is so airy, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful! It’s not too sweet and I love the addition of the orange zest! Just divide the frosting and add a bit of red food coloring to one half to create the ombre effect. I garnished the top with red sprinkles, edible pearls and frosting dollops. This orange cranberry cake is sure to be unforgettable!

Making Homemade Cranberry Sauce

For the filling, I make some home-made cranberry sauce. But it’s not just any sauce! I make an orange raspberry cranberry sauce! It’s actually the same sauce I serve with my oven-roasted turkey. It’s so easy to make and I love the combination of raspberry and cranberry!

My recipe for the cranberry sauce makes a large portion. I like to serve extra sauce on the side when serving, for even more cranberry flavor!

Share it on Pinterest!

Ombre Orange Cranberry Cake with video recipe

More Recipes!

Looking for more holiday recipes? Here are a few of my favorites you’re sure to enjoy!

Supplies/Tools

Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here! (Amazon affiliate links)

Christmas Orange Cranberry Cake Recipe (video)

2 hrs prep + 28 mins cook
16 servings
Holiday cranberry orange cake with cranberry frosting and tart berry filling!

Ingredients 

For Cake Layers:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, warm
  • zest from 1 to 2 oranges
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted

For Sauce:

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • zest from 1 orange

For Frosting:

  • 3 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 orange
  • red food coloring
  • edible sprinkles, for garnish
  • orange juice from zested oranges, for soaking

Instructions

For the Cake Layers:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line 4, 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a non-stick baking spray. You can also use 2, 8-inch cake rounds, then split the layers in half once the layers are cooled.
  • Prepare the cake batter first. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, softened butter and vanilla for 2 to 3 minutes, until the butter is fluffy. Add the eggs, a few at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the warm milk and orange zest next. Mix until incorporated and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter. Mix the flour into the batter just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the melted white chocolate last and mix again for about 30 seconds. Divide the cake batter evenly among the 4 cake pans. Level the batter with an off-set spatula. Bake the layers in the preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the layers from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

For Cranberry Sauce:

  • While the layers are baking, prepare the cranberry sauce. Simply combine the cranberries, raspberries, water, sugar and orange zest in a medium-sized sauce pot. Stir the ingredients together, then cook over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer and stir occasionally, then cook for about 18 to 20 minutes until cranberries pop open and the mixture thickens into a jelly. Allow the sauce to cool completely before using in the cake. Refrigerate for faster cooling.

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • Once the layers are cooled, prepare the orange whipped cream. In a stand-mixer bowl, whisk the heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, cream together the softened cream cheese, melted white chocolate, vanilla extract and orange zest. Mix until the mixture is lump free, then add it to the whipped cream. Whisk on high speed for about a minute, until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the Cake:

  • To create the ombre effect, place about 2 to 3 cups of the frosting into a separate bowl and color with a few drops of red gel food coloring. Mix in the color with a spatula, then transfer the frosting into a pastry bag; I used Ateco tip #823.
  • To assemble the cake, first soak the layers generously with the orange juice, squeezed from the zested oranges. Spread about 1/2 cup cranberry sauce over each layer, then top with a generous amount of plain whipped cream. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the plain frosting first and smooth down with an off-set spatula.
  • To create the ombre effect, pipe a few lines of red frosting around the bottom of the cake, then use a flat cake spatula to blend the frosting upwards (watch my video for more details!). Pipe the remaining red frosting on the top as dollops to garnish the cake. Garnish with edible sprinkles, pearls and cranberry. This cake can be served immediately, or refrigerated.

Nutrition

Calories: 718kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 312mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 1529IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 202mg | Iron: 2mg