This glazed cranberry lemon cake is an absolute showstopper with its lovely drizzly glaze draping over a layer of fresh cranberries and tender, soft lemon cake!

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

Since I’ve already told you how much I love cranberries, is it really a surprise that my self-proclaimed favorite dessert of the holiday season is this glazed cranberry lemon cake?

Based on looks, this cake easily scores 10 out of 10. I mean, look at it!

That beautiful contrast of fresh, vibrant cranberries next to the tender, lemon cake is pure beauty.

Thankfully, the gloriousness doesn’t stop there. Even though some pretty desserts often result in taste bud disappointment, this cranberry lemon cake is out of this world.

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

Perfectly soft and tender, the lemon cake itself is perfection. The bright hint of lemon comes through without overpowering the cranberries.

Admittedly, it would take a heck of a lot of lemon to overpower the somewhat strong flavor profile of tart cranberries, but rest assured that the flavors of this cake compliment each other without competing.

This truly is the perfect cake for holiday celebrations.

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

And just to dispel any worry or confusion, let’s talk bundt cakes for a second. I have a 35-year old bundt cake pan my mother-in-law handed down to me several years ago, so I’m not really in the know about The Best Bundt Cake Pan to own these days.

For certain, the main key to a bundt pan for this recipe is that it probably needs to be at least 10- or 12-cups in capacity.

I don’t want overflowing cake hate mail.

I have not tried this in a smaller bundt pan, a 9X13-inch cake pan or divided between a couple loaf pans, but if you decide to experiment (which I actually highly encourage before running out and buying a new pan!), just keep an eye on quantity of cake batter and/or baking time.

I don’t want burned cake hate mail.

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

This cake has personality, good looks, and taste going for it.

What more could you want?

If you’re thinking “chocolate” – well, you and I are soulmates. I’m very reticent to throw my weight (haha?) behind a non-chocolate cake, but in the case of this cranberry lemon cake, the praise is well deserved. I love it, and can’t wait to serve it during the holidays for years to come.

Of course, I’m not going to stop you if you want to nix the glaze and drizzle it with a little dark chocolate ganache or something equally decadent.

This cake would make a fabulous addition to any holiday spread you serve this month or simply for a special dinner or get together with friends or family (and next year, don’t discount it for a viable dessert addition at Thanksgiving).

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

Even my unpretentious children scarfed this down, except for the child who shall remain nameless that really despises the texture of soft, cooked fruit (yes, even applesauce…a sad fact since his father works for an applesauce company).

In the end, his distaste of softened, jam-like cranberries worked in my favor since I won the fork battle of who got to claim his barely eaten piece of cake.

It was worth nearly losing a finger in the process.

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

This cake is screaming for you to make it! Can’t wait to hear what you think.

P.S. Stay tuned tomorrow – I have a HUGE announcement that I think is pretty exciting and can’t wait to share it with you!

One Year Ago: Mel’s Mini Holiday Gift Guide: Kids + His & Hers
Two Years Ago: Mini Gift Guide: Random Lovely Stuff for Guys and Gals
Three Years Ago: Fresh Cranberry Chutney {My Fave Cranberry Sauce}

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

Yield: Serves 8 to 12

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

I've only ever made this cake using fresh cranberries but I suspect frozen would work well, too.

You'll need 2-3 lemons for this recipe - make sure to zest the lemons before juicing them! As always, don't overmix that batter! Follow the instructions and mix each addition of liquid/dry ingredients until just incorporated.


  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons butter), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 10- or 12-inch bundt cake pan with butter - making sure to grease all the nooks and crannies really well.
  2. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bottom of the pan, then layer the cranberries evenly over the sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), combine the granulated sugar together with the zest from the lemons. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar is infused with the lemon fragrance.
  5. Add the butter to the bowl with the lemon sugar and, using the paddle or whisk attachment on the stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk with the 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  7. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined and a few dry streaks remain. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk/lemon mixture. Mix again until just combined.
  8. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, followed by the remaining 1/2 buttermilk/lemon juice mixture. Mix. Add the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
  9. Spread the batter carefully into the prepared pan over the cranberries.
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until lightly golden on top and just set.
  11. Transfer the bundt pan to a  wire rack and let cool about 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving platter, tapping lightly so the cake falls out. Let the cake cool completely.
  12. For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar with the 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Add additional lemon juice or milk for a thinner consistency, if needed.
  13. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and let set, 5-10 minutes, before slicing and serving.

Recipe Source: barely adapted from Annie’s Eats by way of Williams-Sonoma

58 Responses to Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

  1. […] so, as I take a bite out of the lemon cranberry bundt cake that I baked last night in that moment of television-induced inspiration and stare at the fresh […]

  2. Amy says:

    In the name of science, you know, to improve the human condition and all, I felt it was my duty to try this in mini loaf pans. It fit perfectly in five of them! I put the filled pans on a jelly roll pan in the oven but there was no mess. It did help make wrangling them in and out of the oven easier, though.
    I rotated them at 25 minutes, baked another ten, and they were perfect! And perfectly delicious, too. Also, I used frozen cranberries (still frozen when they went in the oven), so that’s likely why it took a bit longish to bake.
    Thanks for yet another divine reason to up my calorie count!

    • Mel says:

      Haha, I love science experiments like this. Thanks for taking one for the team and for all of humanity. SO happy to know this cake recipe transitions well to mini loaf pans!

  3. Kelli Askeroth says:

    How are the leftovers of this cake? Or can I make the cake the night before needed and glaze it just before serving?? Thank you!

  4. Joni says:

    Wow wow wowwwww. This cake is gooooood. I previewed the recipe yesterday as a test run for Christmas Eve dessert. I was worried because the outer edge of the crust seemed a little crunchier than I expected, so hubby and I decided to cut into it for a taste test just in case. It was EXCELLENT. The combination of lemon and cranberry is one that I never considered before, but I’m sold. I’ll definitely be making this cake again!

  5. Bethany says:

    I took this cake to a church Christmas dinner tonight and was very pleased! This cake just says “Christmas” to me in looks and taste. The cranberry and lemon with the glaze blend so nicely together. Like your son, I’m not a cooked fruit fan either, but this was still very yummy. Against your warnings, I made it in a bundt pan just over 9″ and it did not overflow. I did have a few spots that stuck on the sides, but I just used that as my sample bites and covered the spots with the glaze as best I could! Thanks for another great recipe, Mel!

  6. Coeur d'Alene Jane says:

    This cake was delicious. Took it to my Bible study home group and it vanished. I did slather the bundt pan with significant butter and I still had difficulty getting it to release. When it did, some small pieces of cake remained in the pan. Yikes! Solution needed! So I made a bit more of the glaze, used the glaze as glue in the sparse spots and pressed some additional cranberries into the areas and all was well!

  7. Kristina says:

    I made this for my church small group today. It was a showstopper! Not only did it taste absolutely divine, it looked just like the picture! It was a work of art! My parents have now requested this cake while I visit over the holidays. Thanks for another knock-out!

  8. Anna-Marie says:

    I just made this, exactly as written, and it’s amazing. Family loves it. No hate email coming from me – just love!!!

  9. Cindy says:

    I made this beautiful and delicious cake yesterday for my bible study brunch and it was a show stopper. Mine looked just like the pictures and was so yummy. Thank you for another amazing recipe.

  10. Kim says:

    Just wanted to report that I decided to try an orange version, subbing all the lemon juice and zest for orange (well, actually those little cuties since I have bags of them on my counter – it took about 6 cuties for the zest but only a couple-worth for juice since they were so juicy). It was fantastic! Such a festive, Christmasy dessert! I love all your recipes and know that I can make it for a ward party (in this case, even with my alterations) or guests or to give away without even trying it first myself. I made the skillet chicken fajita nachos last week (with leftover turkey) and they were another big hit in our house. Thank you, thank you, again and again for your wonderful blog and your amazing recipes!

    • Kim says:

      Oh! And the honey garlic chicken. Made that on Sunday and everyone (even the 15 month old) gobbled it up! Love your stuff!

  11. Ulla-Britt says:

    I’m Swedish born and think the traditional Swedish lingonberries would work wonderfully with this cake! The only problem I have is finding lingonberries in the states. I can get the jarred preserves but not sure is this would turn out well?

    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure how well it would work with jarred preserves since I haven’t tried it – I’m afraid they might stick a little bit more to the pan, but you could definitely experiment!

  12. This is such a great idea. I like cranberries as well, especially in cakes. Yours looks amazing.

  13. Emily says:

    Hey Mel, this cake looks amazing, but all the stuff you make is awesome!

  14. Erica says:

    This looks SO delicious and is currently cooling on my counter. Can’t wait to eat it! Also – your serving plate is beautiful!! Do you mind sharing where it’s from?

    • Mel says:

      Hope you liked the cake! The platter is an old one I got on Amazon that unfortunately is no longer get available. Sorry!

      • Erica says:

        Bummer about the tray, but thanks for letting me know! And the cake was INCREDIBLE. And funny story – my mom walked in and said, “is that a Mel recipe?! I just saved that one!” And then my aunt walked in and said, “is that a Mel recipe?! I just saved that one!” We all had a good laugh and sang your praises with a belly full of deliciousness.

  15. Catherine says:

    Hi Mel, This is my first comment which is pretty sad since I’ve been using your site and telling everyone I know about it for years. There are no words to truly thank you for the great service you provide to all of your readers. I know I’m not alone when I say that I can make any of your recipes without hesitation – they will be excellent! I’m thankful for all the work you do to make our lives easier, bring our families together and show love to others through yummy food. Thank you!.
    Anyway, I made this cake in mini bundt form and they are both delicious and adorable. I just used a pinch of brown sugar for each mini bundt and rough chopped the cranberries, then used about 1/4 cup of the batter (basically filled to the top), then baked for 12-15 minutes. I had to make them this way because there was no way I could make the whole cake and not taste it ahead of time. Ha!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment, Catherine! And I’m ecstatic to know these worked out so well in mini bundt form…hello, they had to be the cutest cakes eve

    • Julie says:

      Can I ask how many minis came out of one recipe? Also did you have trouble releasing them?

  16. Linda says:


    Everything about tshincake looks amazing and I’ll definitely try it for my Christmas Eve dessert ! I was wondering how you think bleuberries would work if I wanted a beautiful and delicious bundt cake for the Summer ? Thanks Mel! I won’t be able to sleep until I hear your exciting news !!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Linda, you are so cute! And yes, I think blueberries would work well, although that topping will be a little bit more sweet than the cranberries, of course. 🙂

  17. Lavinia says:

    I made this in 2 loaf pans, baked for about 30 min and it worked out great. Loved the lemon/cranberry combo!

  18. Barb H says:

    I’ve made this from Annie’s site for an event & it received rave reviews!

  19. Alicia says:

    As gorgeous as this looks, I just had to say that I don’t know that any cranberry recipe will ever top your Yummy Fresh Cranberry Salsa. That stuff is amazing. I took it to Thanksgiving, and it was the most popular appetizer on the table. The last time my husband brought it to work I got approximately a million recipe requests.

    With that said, I love lemon-anything, and this is beautiful, so I might have to part with one bag of cranberries in my fridge currently in-waiting for salsa. 🙂

  20. Marpy says:

    Do you think this would convert well to cupcakes? The recipe looks scrumptious, and my Meyer lemon tree is abundant this year!

  21. Kay says:

    I made a half recipe in a tall/deep Wilton 9 inch round cake pan and everything fit in the pan, no spill over during baking. Make sure to butter your pan very well as I had a few cranberries not release when I inverted the cake. I was able to tuck them back on top and I will cover them with glaze so you won’t be able to tell they stuck. My brown sugar topping didn’t burn and my cake baked for 40-45 minutes. I haven’t sliced it yet but the crumbs taste as good as my house smells. Thanks for a great new holiday cake.

  22. Paige says:

    Yum! What a perfect way to use up those thanksgiving cranberries!


  23. Elisabeth Brock says:

    Oh Mel!! The beauty of the season all in one cake!! Thank you!! Cant wait to make this!! Just beautiful!!

  24. Lindsey says:

    I have some cranberries that need to be eaten. I am making this…today! Hooray for having finally gone to the grocery store and having a stocked refrigerator! It looks AMAZING and since lemon desserts are my favorite, I know I’ll love it.

  25. Susan says:

    just curious will the cranberries burn or stick to the pan? I am tempted to try but already ruined bundt pans before so a little cautious.
    Also does anyone have ideas how to clean cooked egg off of pans – tried a recipe for baked eggs was impossible to clean it after several days of soaking.

    • Mel says:

      I didn’t have trouble with the cranberries sticking – but it is really important to grease the pan well. I’ve always used a scotch write scrubber to get eggs cleaned off the pans.

    • Gammy says:

      Try pouring straight Pine Sol into the pan and letting it soak overnight…the egg “mess” should lift right off. I tried this once with a pan that I literally couldn’t even chisel off the burned residue from the bottom (I figured that if the Pine Sol ruined the pan I was going to have to throw the pan out anyway so what did trying it matter). Much to my surprise, the burned residue lifted right off in large chunks the next morning.

  26. Becky says:

    My nordicware bundt pan holds 12 cups of water up to the top. Will the cake overflow? I occasionally use box mixes for cake, and I found out that my pan is definitely smaller than my mom’s. Some batter for Angel Food Cake came very close to overflowing. I rushed in with a last-minute cookie sheet.

    • Mel says:

      Without knowing the exact pan you have, I think it will be fine. My bundt pan is on the larger size, but this cake didn’t come close to overflowing and actually ended up on the small side (height-wise).

  27. Megan says:

    I’d like to use leftover cranberry sauce (the real stuff, of course) as the cranberry layer. Do you think it will change the consistency too much? I still have fresh cranberries, but I want to use up the sauce first.

    • Mel says:

      I honestly don’t know. I think it has the potential to work, but since every cranberry sauce recipe is different, you’ll have to experiment. Good luck!

  28. Janet says:

    +Oh, and I’ll use 1/2 c. cornmeal for part of the flour, lemon goes with cornmeal really well.

  29. Janet says:

    I’m going to use my leftover homemade cransauce for this…..been wondering what I could do with it…….thank you Mel.

  30. Jessica says:

    You have outdone yourself my friend! And may I mention antioxidants galore.

  31. Julie says:

    How far can this be made Mel? What about freezing? I am making this one today.

    • Julie says:

      Oops – that should say – how far ahead…

    • Mel says:

      I think it has the potential to freeze really well (minus the glaze…then just glaze before serving), but I haven’t tried it myself yet. It could be made a day ahead of time, if stored well-covered to prevent drying out.

      • Julie says:

        I made it and it’s delicious. However, I put the rest of the cake in the freezer to test that. I really don’t want to be making cakes the day before Christmas with everything else going on. Will try in a few days and let you know.

  32. Mel! This cake looks amazing! I’m not even in the mood for sweets right now (even though I’m baking as I write this 🙂 and my mouth is watering just looking at this beautiful cake. I’m so excited about the thick layer of cranberries at the top. Oh, and about bundt pan sizes? Ugh, I remember growing up with one size of bundt pan.”Bundt pan” WAS the size for Pete’s sake! I’ve had my pan for a bazillion years and so far, so good with the recipes I’ve made in it. Anyway, you’ll get no hate mail from me! (And can’t wait for the announcement….I’ve got my hands tapping out a drum roll for you… 🙂

  33. Heather bell says:

    Yum and yay because I just bought cranberries to make the white chocolate cranberry bread from last year and now I’ll make this too. I have kids who don’t do cooked fruit either. Sad day. And I hope the announcement is a cookbook!!!!!! Mel for cookbook president. (I’ll take the Vp position if it’s open lol)

  34. SallyBR says:

    Did you say GLAZED, CRANBERRIES, and LEMON in the same phrase?

    could you stop by and help me clean my keyboard? I could not avoid drooling all over it

    this goes to my Pinterest board so quickly that… it must be there already! 😉

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