Fresh Cranberry Tea Cake is holiday-ready! This cranberry cake is perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea or coffee, or as a rustic dessert.The buttermilk batter makes for a cranberry cake that stays moist, each slice boasting a bite of tart, fresh cranberry.
Note: This post first appeared on November 19, 2012. The recipe has been updated from the archives with additional content and updated photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this family favorite from my kitchen.
I dipped the tea bag up and down, my steaming drink turning a deeper shade of bronze with each plunge. When it reached just the right color, promising sips of a strong brew, I swirled in a spoonful of sugar and a stream of half and half. As I stirred, my eyes glanced over to the counter, where clean loaf pans were stacked, ready to put away. I thought to myself, “I wish there was a slice left.”
I’ve been obsessed with fresh cranberries this week, it’s like the holiday lightbulb finally turned on inside my head. I want to put cranberries in everything. Sauces, salads, cakes, pasta. Ok, maybe not pasta. But definitely cakes.
So I did.
I made a few loaves of Fresh Cranberry Tea Cake, one to send down to some friends down the street, and the other to enjoy for ourselves. I thought there might be at least a slice left to welcome my brother when he flies in tonight.
We ate it all. But not to worry, it’s so simple, I can make more in a jiffy. I’ll have to double my batch – after all, I think my sister would like a piece, too.
How to Make Cranberry Cake
Ever since I first shared this recipe in 2012, this cranberry cake has become a staple every holiday season. As soon as the first cranberries appear in the market, the loaf pans come out for this simple dessert. As easy as a quickbread and as delicate as a rustic cake, this is my favorite kind of baking — simple, straightforward, and without fuss.
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients, and set aside.
Then it’s time for the butter and sugar to get friendly in the mixer – once fully incorporated, add the vanilla and egg until it’s nice and creamy.
Add the dry and wet ingredients in alternating batches, mixing until the batter is just combined. Carefully fold in the cranberries. Then it’s off to the oven to bake!
Give the cakes some time to rest in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve!
More Holiday Cranberry Recipes
Fresh Cranberry Tea Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk Use good quality, thick buttermilk. Do not substitute with milk and lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups halved fresh cranberries
- Place racks in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 loaf pans (1.5lb loaf pans measuring 10″x5″x3″) by lightly coating with baking spray (or butter), and lining with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla and egg, mix well.
- Add the buttermilk and flour mixture in batches, alternating. Stir in the cranberries.
- Divide the batter into two loaf pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Depending on your oven and the size of your loaf pans, this may need more time; check the cakes at the 30 minute mark, and continue baking, if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is springy to the touch.