This orange and cranberry christmas cake is a layered cake with some of the wonderful, traditional flavours of christmas. Cranberries are used amply at christmas time... Cranberry sauce on roast dinners and cranberries on top of beautiful desserts- dreamy! I wanted to bring the flavours of cranberry and combine them with another christmas staple: oranges. Together, I think this is a lovely cake option which rivals a traditional christmas fruit cake!
This cake has a soft orange sponge layered with cranberry sauce and surrounded by sweet vanilla buttercream. You can alter this if you fancy something slightly different. For example, you may want an orange buttercream icing instead of vanilla. If this is the case, simply substitute the vanilla extract for orange extract when making the icing. If you want to stick to what I have made, I am sure you're going to love the cranberry, orange and vanilla pairing.
This recipe makes a four layered, 6-inch cake OR a two layered, 8-inch cake. I love the look of four layered cakes, so I tend to opt for the 6-inch option. However, if you don't have 6-inch baking pans to hand, or feel more comfortable doing a two layered cake, opt for the 8-inch option. I have linked the 6-inch baking pans that I use here: https://amzn.to/3EV4535 and the 8-inch baking pans that I use here: https://amzn.to/3gxqr1l. They are silicone which I actually prefer for baking as I think it creates a more even bake and is easier to get out of the tins! If you do go for a two-layered cake, you may need slightly less buttercream icing and cranberry sauce so alter the recipe quantities if you want to.
I decorated this cake with fresh cranberries, holly and a dusting of icing sugar. I love this decoration as it embodies christmas. The icing sugar looks almost snow like, whilst the holly and cranberries add the same traditional decoration to most christmas cakes. However, you can use your creativity with the decoration and do whatever you want! You might want to decorate with oranges, orange peel, nuts, other fruit, chocolate... the world is your oyster!
I hope you love this orange and cranberry christmas cake and consider it as an option to bake this christmas period. Let me know how you get on in the comments section below.
Orange and Cranberry Christmas Cake
- 400 ml Almond milk unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
- 300 g Sugar caster, super-fine
- 1 tablespoon Orange extract
- 150 ml Vegetable/ coconut oil
- 350 g Flour plain, white, all-purpose
- ¾ teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
For the Icing
- 365 g Icing sugar
- 300 g Unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoon Cranberry sauce/ jam
- 2 handfuls Fresh cranberries/ redcurrants
- 1-2 teaspoon Orange colouring optional
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/ 356°F. Prep your 6 inch baking tins with a circle of baking paper at the bottom. I use a bit of oil to make the paper stick to the tin.
- Pour your milk and apple cider vinegar into a large bowl and whisk together briefly, until just combined. Set this aside for a couple of minutes. It will curdle (but don't worry- this is what we want!). In another bowl, sieve the flour, soda, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix these dry ingredients together with a spoon. Then, place your caster sugar, orange extract, orange colouring + oil into the wet milk mixture. Whisk together until just combined. Using a large spoon, spoon your dry flour mixture into the wet mixture, whisking as you go.
- Pour your cake batter into the two lined tins, evenly. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a knife comes out of the centre clean. Then leave the cakes to cool completely. If you are using 8 inch cake tins which are more shallow, bake for around 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out of the centre clean
- Once your cake is completely cool, cut the top off of the cake (which would have grown above the tin). Use a sharp knife to cut the top of the cake off whilst it is still in the cake tin. Use the edge of the cake tin to guide you, making this a super even cut. Then. take the sponges out of the tins and cut them into 4 equal cake layers. I use a cake leveller for this, which you can find on my Amazon Shop!
- In a standing mixer, mix the butter for around 2 minutes, until creamed. Add the vanilla extract and mix again for another 30 seconds. Then, add the icing sugar and mix on a low speed for around 30 seconds and then increase to a high speed, until combined and fluffy (around 5 minutes). If you think your icing is too soft you can always add more icing sugar. Equally, if you think your icing is too thick, add a tablespoon of cold water.
- Place one layer of sponge in the centre of a cake plate. Then put a layer of buttercream icing on top. Then create an icing barrier around the edge on top of the first icing layer (use a piping bag to help you with this step). Place 2 tablespoon of cranberry sauce in the middle of this icing barrier. Then repeat this process for the rest of the cake layers.
- Using a piping bag with icing in, spread the icing around the edge and the top of the cake. Use a cake spatula to smooth it all out. If you don’t have these, you can do more of a rustic pattern with a knife. I did a more naked look on this cake but it is up to you! Place the cake in the fridge to cool for as long as possible after this step (ideally at least a couple of hours).
- Crown the cake with some fresh cranberries and holly, or whatever you want to decorate with! Some oranges and orange peel would be beautiful too! Slice it up, and devour!