The Sweetest Cake by A Side Of Sweet



“A party without cake is just a meeting” Julia Child said that and we think she’s right. We are celebrating our birthday with cake!

In this recipe from Kelly of A Side of Sweet, traditional cranberry bread gets a fun update as a moist, fluffy layer cake. Cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement, and this version has an optional boozy secret ingredient. The rustic-style cake is easy to pull off whether you are a seasoned baker or just getting started. When displayed on our glass cake stand, the final result will look stunning on your holiday table.


Cranberry Orange Layer Cake

Recipe Type: Dessert

Author: Kelly Egan

Cook time: 35 mins

Total time: 3 hours

Serves: 20


3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon (13 g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups (400 g) sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (245 g) milk, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups (250 g) fresh or frozen cranberries

Zest of one orange

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

18 ounces (510 g) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup (275 g) packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange juice

3 1/4 cup (400 g) powdered sugar

Sugared Cranberries Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

12 ounces fresh cranberries (1 bag)


Make the cranberry layer cake:

  1. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until soft and pale yellow, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour and milk in alternating additions, finishing with the flour. Do not overbeat.
  6. Coarsely chop the cranberries or pulse a few times in a food processor. Stir into the cake batter along with the orange zest.
  7. Divide batter into prepared cake pans and shake slightly to level. Place on middle oven rack and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in cake pan for five minutes then remove from pan and transfer to wire rack. Remove parchment paper round and let cool completely.


Make the cream cheese frosting:
  1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and beat on medium until smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla extract, brown sugar, and Grand Marnier. Beat on medium until combined. Add the powdered sugar in several additions and mix on low until incorporated.
Make the sugared cranberries:
  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cranberries and heat for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to wire cooling rack. Let dry for at least one hour.
  2. Roll cranberries, a few at a time, in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until coated. Let dry for at least one hour, or overnight.
Assemble the cake:
  1. Place a cake layer on a platter that fits in the refrigerator. Cover with one third of the cream cheese frosting and use an offset spatula or knife to level. Chill for 10 minutes. Repeat, alternating cake and frosting, finishing with the final third of the frosting. Top with sugared cranberries. Dust with an additional layer of granulated sugar immediately before serving.

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  • Pingback: Cranberry Holiday Cake on Mark & Graham | San Francisco Metro Bugle

  • S @ Champagne at Shannon’s

    I already sung my praises to Kelly for this incredible cake, but those glasses in #1 are SO adorable! I also love 3, 5, & 6 – their personalization is what really makes holiday entertaining so fun!! xx SS

    • Mark andGraham

      We loved the cake and Kelly’s pics! And you’re absolutely right, the personalization makes all the difference <3
      M+G team!

  • Kym

    Made this cake for Thanksgiving….A.Ma.Zing!

    • mgram

      We cannot stop making that cake! Kelly is a genius!

  • SanDee Neeser Peterson

    I want to print the recipe. How do I do that?

    • Dot Mathis

      On your Keyboard ~ find the PrtScn/SysRq button/key ~ this allows you to take a snapshot of whatever is on your screen. You press that key, then open up any type of word document (i.e. MS Word, WordPerfect, or even WordPad in your Accessories folder). Right Click on the document Then paste. Crop the document to only show the recipe.
      Hope this helps.