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Cranberry Spice Cake

Servings: 16

This quick-to-assemble snack cake features classic autumn flavors—cranberries, apple cider, and warm spices—plus the appealing zing of lemon and orange. When done, the cake is very moist, perfect for fans of steamed pudding.


For the cake

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 packed cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed or other mild vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbs.)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 1-1/2 Tbs.)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup apple cider
  • 8 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped into small pieces in a food processor (about 2 cups whole cranberries)

For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbs.)
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 240
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 80
  • Fat (g): 9
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 160
  • Carbohydrates (g): 38
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Sugar (g): 27
  • Protein (g): 2


Make the cake

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350ºF. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray, and line the bottom with parchment. Lightly spray the parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the sugars and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking until combined. Whisk in the zests, and then the sour cream and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir one-third of the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, and then add one-half of the cider. Repeat with the remaining flour and cider, ending with the flour, and stir until the batter is smooth.
  • Fold in the chopped cranberries, and scrape  the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake until the cake springs back when touched in the center and a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 55 minutes. Let the cake cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Loosen the edges from the pan, and invert onto the rack. Remove the parchment, and then turn onto another rack so that the cake is top side up. Put the cake and rack on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Glaze the cake

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt.
  • When the cake is warm but not hot, spoon or pour the glaze over the cake so that it covers the cake and drips down the sides. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature, about 1 hour. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or platter. The cake will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to 3 days.


Rate or Review

Reviews (13 reviews)

  • MathyRudkins | 02/06/2020

    This cake was absolutely delicious! I brought it to a dinner party and it got rave reviews : )

  • Virginia7 | 11/04/2019

    Loved this cake! I even used cup4cup gluten free flour! I added chopped cranberries in the glaze and it was lovely.

  • tred | 01/29/2019

    A keeper!

  • verdis_girl | 01/10/2019

    Can't find fresh cranberry so i used the dried one and it came out super delicious and moist.

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