This festive Cranberry Breakfast Cake is a great choice for your holiday breakfast menu. It’s sweet, a little tart, and SO delicious!
We put so much effort into planning and preparing the dinner meal at the holidays, but, when my house is full and morning comes, I need some great breakfast ideas at my disposal. This easy cranberry cake recipe is at the top of my list of totally scrumptious breakfast ideas for the holidays. It’s festive, incredibly moist, and spiked with tart, fresh cranberries. It has a muffin-like texture that makes it delicious anytime of day or night.
- Fresh cranberries – You’ll find bagged fresh cranberries in the stores starting before Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas.
- Unsalted butter
- Pure vanilla extract
- Lemon zest– Use a microplane to easily zest your lemon.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Buttermilk – I often have buttermilk in my fridge over the holidays, but it’s easy to make a buttermilk substitute. Just pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a 1 cup measure and then fill the rest of the measuring cup with milk. Gently stir the mixture and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
Can I Use Frozen Cranberries?
Yes! There’s no need to thaw them in advance; frozen cranberries can be mixed directly into cake batter and they will warm though as they bake. Cranberries freeze exceptionally well. Pick up an extra bag or two to toss in the freezer and they will stay fresh for up to a year.
How to Make Cranberry Breakfast Cake
- Toss the cranberries with a little flour.
- Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl use a spoon to mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time.
- Alternate with the buttermilk, beating with the electric mixer until combined.
Tossing fresh cranberries with a little flour will help prevent them from sinking and bleeding color into the cake batter.
- From this point, you’ll use either a spatula or wooden spoon to finish the cake batter.
- Fold in the flour coated cranberries and mix lightly just until combined.
- Transfer to a 9- to 10-inch cast iron skillet or baking dish that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top of the cake batter.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Garnish Ideas for Cranberry Breakfast Cake
For the festive, snow-like appearance, I use a dusting wand to sprinkle the cake with a small amount of powdered sugar. It’s also nice to top it with a small amount of chopped walnuts or pecans for pretty presentation and a little crunch.
Bake Cranberry Breakfast Cake a day in advance and once cooled, cover it with foil and it will be ready to serve the next morning.
Or, prepare the batter, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, just transfer the batter to the prepared skillet or baking dish and bake it as directed. You’ll need to increase the baking tie a bit if the batter is chilled when it goes in the oven so plan accordingly.
If you baked your cranberry cake in a cast iron skillet, I recommend that you transfer any leftovers to an airtight container for storage. This will help to protect the seasoning on your cast iron skillet and the taste and quality of any skillet recipe.
The cake will remain fresh and tasty if stored, covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. For longer storage, transfer it to the refrigerator and consume it within a week.
More Sweets for Breakfast
- Blueberry Crumb Cake
- Apple Cider Coffee Cake
- Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake
- Blackberry Buttermilk Snack Cake
- Apple Coffee Cake Muffins
Cranberry Breakfast Cake
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained well (see Notes)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- or 10-inch oven safe skillet or baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the cranberries and 1 tablespoon of flour in a small bowl and toss to coat well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, use a spoon to mix together the remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, beating with the electric mixer until combined. Use a wooden spoon to fold in the flour coated cranberries and mix lightly, just until combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top of the cake batter.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Adapted from Alexandra’s Cooks
This post was originally published November 18, 2013. It has been updated with new text and images.