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Cranberry Snack Cake

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Cranberry snack cake is a perfectly simple and delicious dessert for the holidays. Use fresh or frozen cranberries and cut into bars for a tasty treat.  

two cakey bars dotted with fresh cranberries stacked on each other

This simple cake studded with fresh or frozen cranberries for a perfect way to celebrate cranberry season. It’s quick to make and perfectly straddles the line between sweet and tart.

Not to mention how pretty those fresh berries are. They are a fun treat around Thanksgiving or a perfect addition to your Christmas baking.

I am back with another recipe refresh. I hope you guys aren’t sick of me digging into the archives. 

This recipe for cranberry bars was originally shared in 2016. We were celebrating cranberries in the lead up to Thanksgiving. 

mixer bowl filled with batter, fresh cranberries and orange zest ready to be mixed.

That week really cemented cranberries as a new favorite ingredient. Before that I was relatively ambivalent. Anyway, these bars were such a hit with one of my coworkers that she requested them again the next year.

Then we made them again during a girls’ holiday baking day the next year at her request. So I knew I had to bake her some this year as well.

It is such a great simple recipe. The result is such a soft and flavorful snack cake that doesn’t require any frosting or glaze to be great. Just cut it into squares and enjoy.

batter dotted with cranberries spread in pan ready to bake.

One of the most interesting parts about the recipe is there is no leavening agent. Instead you beat a lot of air into the batter and let that work its magic.

They store well at room temperature in an airtight container. For longer storage separate layers with wax paper and freeze for up to three months.

I hope you give them a try. If not this year, pin them for next year then let me know how much you enjoyed them!

lifting piece of cranberry snack cake out of pan with bright berries showing.

Baking With Cranberries

During the fall and leading into Thanksgiving, it is easy to find fresh cranberries at the store. I always pick up several extra pounds when they are on sale.

I use several pounds to make things like fresh cranberry relish and this tasty snack cake. Then the rest I wash and freeze for later.

Just put them in a freezer safe bag and you can make cranberry treats all year long. Otherwise your grocery store is likely to stock frozen berries throughout the year.

piece of cranberry snack cake with no frosting on plate ready to eat.

Because the cranberries are so tart, you are going to want to make sure there is plenty of sugar in the batter to balance them out. One of the fun things about baking with whole berries like in this recipe, is you get both the sweet and tart when you bite into one.

This batter is thick, so there isn’t a need to coat the berries with flour before adding them. But if you try adding them to muffins, or a looser cake batter you may want to toss them in flour first.

two pieces of cranberry snack take stacked on each other in front of baking pan.

About This Tasty Cranberry Cake

So that brings us to this snack cake. I think it might be one of my favorite cranberry recipes yet.

It has a sweet, dense, simple cake studded with those tart berries that burst and give beautiful color and flavor.  You really can’t get much easier.

I made this batch and brought it in to my coworkers as part of my (probably obnoxiously) large spread of birthday treats.  I will be sharing a couple more recipes of my birthday treats in the next couple weeks.

I thought the cookies I made would go quickly, but wasn’t sure about the cranberry snack cake.  It seems like people have a love/hate relationship with the little gems.  

Those who don’t like cranberries were tempted, those who do were happy to devour them. They got rave reviews!

squares of cranberry snack cake piled on top of each other.


The cake is the perfect mix of tender and dense. Almost pound cake like, but in sheet cake form.

It is the perfect compliment to the berries that cook up to a tender garnet burst of flavor. The combination really makes your taste buds sing.

I probably shouldn’t have been too surprised, they really were delicious.  Please promise me you’ll give them a try!

Why is it called a snack cake?

Snack cakes generally are more for snacking, as the name implies. They aren’t fancy special occasion cakes with lots of flourishes and frosting like a birthday or wedding cake.

More Ways to Enjoy Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

As my love for cranberries has grown, so has my recipe collection. Here are some more great ways to enjoy these beauties.

Maple cranberry sauce topped brie quickly became a new favorite appetizer. I have also used cranberries to make a delicious and festive Orange Cranberry Charlotte Russe.

Cranberry apple crisp is another tasty option. The berries add color and balance to the classic dessert.

Cranberry fluff is another fun option. The creamy fluff is nostalgic and delicious.

More Rustic Cake Recipes

If you like simple cakes like this, you may also like my great-great-grandma’s Dutch apple cake. Or give rustic buttermilk apple cake a try.

Poor man’s cake is another great option. And you could easily sub in dried cranberries for the raisins if you would like to keep the cranberry theme going.

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

two cakey bars dotted with fresh cranberries stacked on each other

Cranberry Snack Cake

Servings: 24 Servings
Author: Carlee
This simple cake studded with fresh or frozen cranberries for a perfect way to celebrate cranberry season. It's quick to make and perfectly straddles the line between sweet and tart. Not to mention how pretty those fresh berries are. They are a fun treat around Thanksgiving or a perfect addition to your Christmas baking.
4.82 from 33 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour



  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13-inch pan.
  • In you mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium high until they are light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
    ¾ cup butter, 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on high for 6 more minutes.  The mixture should be thick, creamy and voluminous.
    3 large eggs, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Stir in the flour until just combined, then fold in the cranberries and orange zest.
    2 cups all purpose flour, 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • Spread in your prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be lightly golden and an inserted toothpick should test clean.
  • Cool completely then cut into small pieces to serve.



Serving: 1pieceCalories: 169kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 55mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.82 from 33 votes (29 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

Kathy k

Friday 5th of April 2024

What is the nutrition chart for this recipe


Friday 5th of April 2024

Underneath the video there is a button to display the nutritional information.


Saturday 16th of December 2023

Delicious snack cake, sprinkled with chopped walnuts and added white chocolate chips. Will be making again, thank you for the recipe!


Saturday 16th of December 2023

Oooh, your additions sound fabulous! I am so glad you liked it.


Thursday 7th of December 2023

Could you switch the fresh cranberries for dry?


Thursday 7th of December 2023

I would plump them up in some orange juice or warm water first. But, I think that should work okay.


Wednesday 25th of October 2023

This cake recipe is excellent. It's thick and creamy, crackly and moist. So good. And it works so well with frozen cranberries. I am saving this recipe to make again anytime we have visitors as it's so easy and delicious.


Wednesday 25th of October 2023

I am so glad you liked it!


Monday 29th of May 2017

This Cranberry Snack Cake looks something mysterious :) can't wait to try this.


Tuesday 30th of May 2017

It is definitely one that is worth making. Thanks!