This Easy Cranberry Apple Cake is the perfect Thanksgiving dessert recipe. This is an easy dessert recipe you will be making all throughout the fall! So simple to put together and just perfect for any holiday party.
I know you are all busy with Thanksgiving preparations. Maybe some of you are lucky to be invited somewhere and don’t have to cook a thing. Maybe some of you have to bring a dessert. IF you do, you should consider this delightful cake! I found this lovely recipe almost 10 years ago in Ina Garten's How Easy is That? book that I just treasure.
I am so excited to share with all of you a delicious recipe from Ina Garten's “How Easy is that?” I had to get a copy of the book for myself and I have been busy exploring her wonderful recipes. The first recipe I was drawn to was an amazing apple cake with cranberries: Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake!
- Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake
- Why You'll Love This Apple Cranberry Cake
- Ingredients and Their Purpose
- How to make the cake: step-by-step
- Can I make this cranberry apple cake gluten-free?
- Expert Tips to make this cranberry apple cake
- Serving Suggestions
- Some more delicious cranberry desserts:
- BEST Cranberry and Apple Cake
Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake
Originally published November 2010. Updated on October 31, 2020. This is one of my all-time favorite cranberry recipes. I hope you'll try to bake it this year!
I have made this cake every year since then for Thanksgiving. Everyone always loves it! I also make this Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie and this Vegan Maple Pumpkin Pie. Most years I also make this Salted Caramel Apple Pie.
Why You'll Love This Apple Cranberry Cake
- Easy to make: This recipe requires simple ingredients and steps, making it an easy dessert to whip up for any occasion.
- Perfect for fall: The combination of cranberries and apples makes this cake a perfect treat for the autumn season.
- Versatile: This recipe is adaptable to suit various dietary preferences and can be easily modified with different fruits and spices.
Ingredients and Their Purpose
- Cranberries: These tart berries add a fresh and tangy flavor to the cake, complementing the sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Granny Smith Apple: This variety of apple is known for its tartness, which pairs well with the cranberries and adds a nice texture to the cake.
- Brown Sugar: It sweetens the cake and gives it a rich, molasses-like flavor.
- Orange Zest and Juice: They provide a bright, citrusy note that balances out the sweet and tart flavors in the cake.
- Cinnamon: This warm spice adds depth and a comforting aroma to the dessert.
- Eggs: They act as a binding agent, ensuring the cake holds together.
- Granulated Sugar: This is another sweetening agent that also aids in browning the cake for a beautiful golden crust.
- Butter: It contributes moistness and a rich, creamy flavor to the cake.
- Vanilla Extract: An essential flavor enhancer in most sweet baked goods.
- Sour Cream: This dairy product adds a creamy texture and slight tanginess to the cake, enhancing its overall flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour: The structural backbone of the cake, providing the necessary gluten for the cake to hold its structure.
- Kosher Salt: Enhances the flavors of other ingredients and balances the sweetness of the cake.
- Fruits: You can substitute cranberries and apples with pears, peaches, or blueberries.
- Flour: Use almond flour or gluten-free flour for a gluten-free version.
- Sugar: Substitute granulated sugar with coconut sugar or maple syrup for a healthier alternative.
- Sour Cream: Swap with yogurt or applesauce for a lower fat option.
- Eggs: Use flax eggs or egg replacer for a vegan version.
I have been nominated by everyone to make this again for Thanksgiving. It was a hit…a huge hit! It is so easy to make. You don’t have to flip out it. You slice it out and there is the juicy fruit on the bottom and this moist and rich cake on top with a gentle cinnamon sugar sprinkle on top.
How to make the cake: step-by-step
My eyes are glazing over…look at all this gorgeous fruit!
First, gather all your ingredients. Peel and slice the apples. Then cut them into small (1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes – they don't have to be totally perfect) and mix them with fresh cranberries, orange zest and juice along with some cinnamon.
You could even sub in buttermilk if you're out of sour cream.
Next step is to beat the eggs. Then mix in the sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla. I did use vegan butter stick this time, but typically for guests I make it with real unsalted butter.
Either way, the cake is fantastic! After that, stir in the flour and salt.
Can I make this cranberry apple cake gluten-free?
Yes! You could make this gluten-free and use your favorite gluten-free 1-1 flour.
Once all the ingredients are mixed together, you pour the batter over the fruit in the pie plate. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar and bake in a 325 degree oven. After 55-60 minutes, your cranberry apple cake is ready.
While the cake is in the oven, your house will smell like a bakery. If you are searching for an easy cake apple and cranberry cake recipe to bake during the holidays, especially on Christmas, I highly recommend this delicious cake!
Expert Tips to make this cranberry apple cake
- Baking dish: If you don't have a 10-inch glass pie plate, you can also use a round cake pan or a square baking dish.
- Serving: This cake is best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Make-ahead: You can prepare the cranberry mixture and the batter ahead of time and assemble it right before baking.
- Storage: Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.
- Enjoy as is for a breakfast treat, paired with a cup of coffee or tea.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.
Yes, just make sure to thaw and drain them before use to prevent excess moisture in the cake.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerate for longer freshness.
Yes, you can prepare the cranberry mixture and batter ahead of time and assemble right before baking.
Yes, you can make it dairy-free. Use vegan butter sticks to replace the butter (I like Earth Balance).
Sub in unsweetened coconut milk yogurt for the sour cream. OR you could even use any unsweetened nut milk in place of coconut milk yogurt.
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Some more delicious cranberry desserts:
- Cranberry Meringue Pie
- Cranberry Almond Biscotti
- Vegan Apple Cranberry Crisp
- Easy Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Easy Cranberry Coffee Cake Recipe (Vegan)
Source: Ina Garten's How Easy is That cookbook
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BEST Cranberry and Apple Cake
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries rinsed and picked over for stems
- 1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored, and diced (I used 2 apples)
- ½ cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest 2 oranges (I used a lemon)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice I used lemon juice and lime juice
- 1 ⅙ teaspoons ground cinnamon divided
- 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ pound 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled or margarine, for dairy-free
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream or unsweetened yogurt (you could use coconut milk yogurt for dairy-free)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and teaspoon of the cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.
- On medium speed, mix in the 1 cup of sugar, butter, and vanilla, and sour cream until combined.
- Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour and salt.
- Spoon the cranberry mixture into a 10-inch glass pie plate (or casserole dish).
- Spoon the batter over the fruit mixture.
- Spread evenly over the fruit. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely.
- Stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. The fruit will be bubbling nicely all around the edges of the cake. Best served warm but still nice at room temperature.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.