This festive Cranberry Swirl Bundt Cake is a delicious choice at any time of day or night. This delicious cake is a fabulous way to make use of leftover cranberry sauce.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend, friends!
I have a fun holiday cake to share with you today. This Cranberry Swirl Bundt Cake is what I like to refer to as an “all day cake”. It’s just as delicious served with scrambled eggs in the morning as it is when served for dessert. It’s also a fabulous way to make use of that can of cranberry sauce that might be lingering in your pantry after Thanksgiving.
I’m writing this post right after celebrating our first Thanksgiving in our new Oregon home. Our oldest flew in from California so we had the whole family together for the holiday. This home and the state of Oregon have exceeded all of our expectations. It is stunningly beautiful and I feel inspired every time I walk out my door. We are truly blessed and so thankful.
We were prepared for grey skies and rain and instead we’ve had chilly temps but brilliant blue skies and plenty of sunshine; very unusual weather here at this time of year. I’m feeling for those of you out there experiencing severe weather conditions but hope that you are cozy in your homes this long holiday weekend.
I love a good old-fashioned Bundt at this time of year. They are simple and evoke a vintage feel. It’s so nice to have a cake like this on the kitchen counter so that everyone can help themselves to a sweet treat any time of day or night.
How to Make Cranberry Swirl Bundt Cake
A made from scratch batter is layered with canned cranberry sauce to create this pretty cake. Let’s make it together!
The creamed mixture consists of butter, sugar, eggs, and a little almond and vanilla extract. The dry mixture is added to the creamed butter mixture alternately with sour cream to create the tender cake batter.
You’re going to need a can of whole berry cranberry sauce and some chopped walnuts for the next steps.
What Size Bundt Pan Do I Need?
I used my pretty Nordic Ware Metallic Blue Bundt Pan which is a 10- to 12-cup pan. This recipe will work in a slightly smaller capacity pan as well. Just watch the baking time closely towards the end.
How to Grease a Bundt Pan
Nordic Ware advises against coating Bundt pans with regular non-stick cooking spray as they say it can build up a residue that’s difficult to remove over time. You may see this type of residue on the tops of your muffin tins which is why I always recommend wiping down any excess spray from exposed surfaces before putting muffin tins in the oven.
I have used regular non-stick cooking spray from time to time, with no issues, but I like to keep a can of Baker’s Joy in my pantry specifically for this purpose. It is a cooking spray that includes flour and it’s a quick and easy way to ensure your cakes will not stick. I’ve been more careful about this since I purchased my pretty metallic blue Bundt pan (affiliate link). I want this pan to last forever!
If you prefer, you can melt butter and use a pastry brush to get it inside all the nooks and crannies of your Bundt pan and then dust it with flour.
Scatter chopped walnuts on the bottom of your greased Bundt pan.
Drop one-third of the cake batter over the chopped nuts and use the back of a spoon to lightly spread it out.
Spread one-half of the cranberry sauce over the top and then drop another one-third of the cake batter on top of the cranberry sauce.
You’ll repeat this layering process one more time, ending with the last third of the cake batter.
It might seem like there isn’t enough batter to cover all the cranberry sauce so just dollop it on and slightly smooth it out and don’t worry if it doesn’t completely cover the sauce. When it the cake bakes it will rise and spread but some of the cranberry sauce is going to ooze out to the edges. Delicious!
Bake your Cranberry Swirl Bundt Cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. See the printable recipe card below for the temp and times.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to carefully separate the cake from the edges of the pan and then invert it on to your serving platter to cool completely.
Don’t be tempted to glaze the Bundt cake before it is completely cooled or the icing will thin out and roll right off the warm cake.
This is a cake you can make the night before if you are planning to serve it in the morning. Just cover it once it has mostly cooled and add the glaze in the morning.
How to Make the Powdered Sugar Glaze
I’ve done this simple powdered sugar glaze with both whole milk and heavy cream and both are delicious.
Heavy cream is much thicker than whole milk so you’ll need to use more to get a good pourable consistency. It also results in a thicker, more luscious glaze like the one you see here. Just start with a small amount of either heavy cream or whole milk and add more in small increments until you reach the desired consistency. A small amount of vanilla extract does a lot to add some warmth and flavor.
For another great holiday choice check out my Sweet Potato Bourbon Bundt Cake.
Stay warm and eat cake!
Cranberry Swirl Bundt Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 can, 14 ounces whole-berry cranberry sauce
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 to 5 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with Baker's Joy (see Recipe Note) or brush with butter and dust with flour.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in almond and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture in increments, alternating with the sour cream. Beat well after each addition.
- Sprinkle the walnuts into the prepared Bundt pan. Drop one-third of the batter in small spoonfuls over the nuts. Spoon half of the cranberry sauce over the batter and use your spoon to lightly spread it out. Repeat layers, ending with the final third of batter.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a serving platter to cool completely.
- Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cooled cake. Whole milk is quite a bit thinner than heavy cream so you will need less to reach a nice drizzling consistency. Start with a small amount and add only as much as needed.
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 Taste of Home
Questions and Reviews
I made 2 bundt cakes using your recipe as directed, no changes.
My husband and I just had a slice after dinner and both of us could not stop saying how good this cake tasted. The almond flavor, texture and whole cranberry taste is so comforting. My husband had a second piece, just to make sure it tasted just as good as his first piece. This recipe is one that I will add to my favorites.
The second bundt cake we will be taking over to my mother in laws house on Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
Hi Bernadette. I love your husband’s very scientific way of determining if a recipe is really good 🙂 I’m so happy to hear that this cake will be part of your Christmas celebration. Happy holidays and enjoy!
Do you think mini bunt molds would work? We have made this recipe for years on Christmas morning. But was trying to speed up the cooking by smaller pans.
I can’t find the cranberry berries just the jelly one. Can I use that?
Hello Valerie, could I substitute the cranberries, not a fan, with raspberries or blueberries
Hi Liz. You would want to substitute something with a similar consistency so maybe if you cooked fresh berries down with a bit of sugar and water or you could try jam or preserves. If you are a fan of raspberries I highly recommend giving my Lemon Raspberry Bundt Cake a try.
This sounds delicious. I have bags of fresh cranberries in the freezer from the holidays. I use them in recipes and make homemade cranberry sauce too. Can I substitute my own for the canned sauce, since it’s also a whole berry style ?
Hi Sharon. Yes, you can definitely sub your own homemade cranberry sauce. I’m sure it will be delicious!
I used to make this cake years ago and it was one of my favorites. Unfortunately I lost the recipe so I decided to try google and I found the exact same cake here. I am so excited to make it again. Thank you!
Looks like a keeper. Can I use half and half for the glaze? Thank you.
Half and half will work great. Enjoy!
This bundt cake is beautiful! Just in time for Christmas. Do you think a little cinnamon with the cranberry layers would taste good together? I’m not too familiar with cranberries in a cake but can’t to try this one.
Hi Dawn. I think cinnamon could be a nice addition although as written I think the almond extract adds such a nice flavor to the cake. Enjoy!
Can frozen whole cranberries be used in place of canned?
Hi Jenny. I would not substitute whole cranberries, which are unsweetened and very tart, for the cranberry sauce.
Excellent recipes! Very thorough and understandable!