Autumn arrives this week in our part of the world. So we’re looking forward to seasonal treats.
Cranberries and oranges are two of our fall faves. Here, we combine them in an easy, tasty sheet cake – great for desserts or snacks.
Perfect for company, too. Let them eat cake.
Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the dessert maven in our household, and this is her creation. She didn’t have a source for this recipe. She just put it together by guesswork (based on decades of baking).
Prep time for this recipe is about 20 minutes. Baking time adds another 30 minutes. Plus another 10 minutes (or less) to glaze. And we suggest letting the cake cool for about an hour before cutting it into serving pieces.
Yield? Well, that depends on how large you cut the pieces. But we’d say anywhere from 12 to 20 servings.
Leftovers keep for a couple of days if stored in an airtight container. Or you can freeze them for up to two months.
For the cake:
- 1 tablespoon butter for greasing the baking dish
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (see Notes)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) additional butter, softened (we recommend unsalted butter)
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or mix with brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2 to 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- zest and juice of one to two oranges
- 2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts work well)
For the glaze:
- ~2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ~4 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 or more cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer). Add the vanilla extract, mixing until well combined. Add the eggs and beat well to combine.
- Add the cranberries, orange zest and juice, and chopped nuts. Mix well to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat until well mixed.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading it to the edges with a spatula or knife. Smooth the top.
- Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges look firm. Don’t overbake.
- Let the cake cool for a few minutes, then mix the glaze: Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract to a bowl. Stir in the powdered sugar, adding just enough to reach the consistency you prefer. Mix well, then spoon the glaze evenly over the cake.
- Let the cake cool completely, then cut into serving-sized pieces. Enjoy!
- We usually cut a 9”x13” cake into 12 or 15 pieces. But if you want smaller pieces, you can easily get up to 20 servings. (The pieces in the pictures are closer to 20 servings than 12.)
- We butter the baking dish even though we’re using parchment paper. It makes the parchment paper easier to remove.
- Fresh or frozen cranberries work equally well in this recipe. When fresh cranberries are available, we generally buy a few extra bags, then freeze them so we have fresh cranberries when they’re not in season.
- In North America, cranberries usually are available from late September through January.
- We use a microplane grater to zest the orange. But you could also use a zester.
- Pure vanilla extract is much better than imitation. We tend to favor small-batch extracts – pricy, but worth it.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Yum!” I said. “Great use of seasonal flavors – love the cranberry and orange combo.”
“The only major TikTok fall favorite we’re missing is pumpkin spice,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.
“Orange you going to mix that in next?” I said. “We’d hit the autumn recipe ingredient trifecta.”
“Nah,” said Mrs K R. “Gotta give the pumpkins a break. They’re probably sick of being pummeled with nutmeg and cloves.”
“Yup, pumpkins work so hard this time of year,” I said. “And all they earn is cinnamon wage.”
“Careful with those puns,” said Mrs K R. “You’ve heard of smashing pumpkins?”
“Afraid we’ll get bogged down in cranberry puns next?” I said.
“Remember, I’m not all sugar and spice,” said Mrs K R. “Do you really want to find out how good I am at imposing consequences?”
Um, no. I’m sure she’d take the cake.
You may also enjoy reading about: