Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

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.

Personally, I have not tried this in a smaller bundt pan, a 9X13-inch cake pan or divided between a couple loaf pans. However, if you decide to experiment, 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. Well, except for my one child 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. 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.

One Year Ago: Mel’s Mini Holiday Gift Guide: Kids + His & Hers
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Three Years Ago: Fresh Cranberry Chutney {My Fave Cranberry Sauce}

Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake

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Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

Notes:

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.

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