Skip to Content

Cranberry Snack Cake

Thanks for sharing!

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!

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!

Yield: 24 Servings

Cranberry Snack Cake

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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9x13-inch pan. In you mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium high until they are light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on high for 6 more minutes.  The mixture should be thick, creamy and voluminous.
  3. Stir in the flour until just combined, then fold in the cranberries and 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.
  4. Cool completely then cut into small pieces to serve.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please view my disclosure page for more information.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

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.

Thanks for sharing!

QuickEasyCook

Monday 29th of May 2017

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

Carlee

Tuesday 30th of May 2017

It is definitely one that is worth making. Thanks!

Bev

Thursday 8th of December 2016

Vanilla is mentioned in the directions but I'm not seeing it in the Ingredients List. How much vanilla should be used?

Carlee

Friday 9th of December 2016

I am so sorry about that, Bev. A half a teaspoon or so is perfect in it!

Jess

Saturday 3rd of December 2016

oh yum! What a neat recipe!

I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

Carlee

Saturday 3rd of December 2016

Thank you!

twochicksandamom/Donna

Thursday 1st of December 2016

This looks so tasty, Carlee! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday!

Carlee

Friday 2nd of December 2016

Thank you so much!

Jessica Jarrell

Tuesday 29th of November 2016

I didn't realize I liked fresh cranberries until I used them in a recipe last year. They are so good! I really need to use them more, and this looks like the perfect vehicle for them!

Carlee

Friday 9th of December 2016

I would think the cake would turn out fine, but the texture would be different. Maybe you could hydrate them in some orange juice or orange liqueur for a while first to soften them up?

Anonymous

Thursday 8th of December 2016

Could you use dried cranberries instead of fresh? Thanks for these recipes...I am a CRANBERRY LOVER!!

Carlee

Wednesday 30th of November 2016

I didn't think I did either, but I bought some to play with anyway. This cake is my favorite fresh cranberry recipe so far!

Skip to Recipe