This Cranberry Cake is a studded pound cake with flavors of orange and poppy seeds. The glaze is made with simmering cranberries that adds a lovely sweetness and pretty color.
I’ve been baking away, trying to block out the outside world much as possible. For my own sanity, I feel like I deserve at this very moment. This year has put me through it–phew! Haha. This cake is a quickie. It’s simple, easy and SO delicious.
A Different Type of Pound Cake
Traditional pound cakes use a pound of flour, pound of butter and pound of sugar. All the same ratios with little to zero leavening. I love a classic, dense pound cake–so good! But this one is a bit different. It uses slightly different ratios and some leavening to make it not as dense as the original.
The orange zest is combined with the sugar to really amplify and bring out the flavors and oils in the orange zest. Poppy seeds are added for a delicious textural quality. And chopped cranberries are added to the batter.
How to Make this Cranberry Cake
- Combine the chopped cranberries with flour. This batter is thick but this will help even more with eliminating the possibility of cranberries sinking to the bottom.
- Whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt.
- Then in a stand-up mixer or you could even use a large bowl with a hand electric mixer, combine the sugar and orange zest. Press the zest into the sugar with your fingers. This will bring out the flavors in the orange zest.
- Add the room temperature butter to the bowl with the sugar and beat it until combined and fluffy.
- Crack in one egg at a time, mixing after you add each egg.
- Rotate between the milk and flour mixture. And then fold in the cranberries.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. This may seem like a long time but pound cakes do take a while. A skewer should come out clean when it’s done.
- Make the glaze by simmering some cranberries with sugar, vanilla and salt. And then straining it so you end up with a puree.
- Add the puree to some powdered sugar and whisk it until smooth. Pour it on top of the cooled cake and slice it up and serve!
Tips and Tricks
- To Make Ahead: you can make this pound cake ahead by baking it, allowing it to cool completely, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and freezing it. You can thaw it on the counter and then glaze it.
- The glaze isn’t necessary. This is a delicious cake without the glaze!
If you make this Cranberry Cake, let me know on Instagram!
Looking for more recipes? Here are some favorites:
Cranberry Cake Batter:
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries chopped and tossed with 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest (from 1 orange)
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
To Make the Cranberry Cake Batter:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 8×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. I also like to line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment and allowing the ends to run up the sides. I find this easiest when I want to remove the loaf. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the chopped cranberries with the flour and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, poppy seeds, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of stand-up mixer, add the sugar and orange zest. Rub the orange zest into the sugar, mixing it vigorously with your hands. This will bloom the orange zest flavors and oils.
- Add the softened butter and vanilla extract to the bowl with the sugar. With the paddle attachment on the mixer, beat for about 5 minutes, until pale in color. Mix in one egg at a time, being sure each egg is incorporated before adding another.
- Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour in the cranberries and fold them in.
- Pour the pound cake batter into the prepared 8×4-inch loaf pan and smooth out the top so it's nice and flat.
- Transfer to the oven to bake for 60 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.
To Make the Cranberry Glaze:
- In a small saucepan, set over medium-low heat, add the cranberries, along with the sugar, vanilla and salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add a small sieve over a small bowl and pour the cranberry mixture into the sieve, pressing it until all the juice is released. You should end up with about 3 tablespoons.
- Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Pour 1 tablespoon of the cranberry mixture and mix, adding more tablespoons until you end up with a thick but pourable glaze. I ended up using 2 whole tablespoons.
- Pour the glaze over the cooled pound cake and slice and serve.
- This cake tastes wonderful without the glaze so I say it’s 100% optional!
- Wrap this cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature on the kitchen counter. Lasts up to 3 days.