Cranberry Almond Layer Cake
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Cranberry almond layer cake is an absolute stunner for the holidays. Filled with cranberry-cherry preserves and topped with sugared cranberries, the soft and fluffy cake is flavored with pure almond extract and fresh orange zest.
Topped with swirls of whipped cranberry frosting, this holiday-ready cake is perfection to the last crumb!
Perfect Cranberry Almond Layer Cake
Cake Flour – For a soft and fluffy layer cake with a fine crumb, cake flour is the secret. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, it’s easy to make your own cake flour substitute: For every cup of flour called for in a recipe, place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in an empty 1-cup measure, then top up with flour. Sift the mixture several times to evenly distribute the cornstarch and use as a substitute for 1 cup cake flour.
Room Temperature Ingredients – Bring butter, eggs, buttermilk, and Greek yogurt to room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients incorporate more easily and create a velvety cake batter.
Cake Pans – Bake this cake in two 8-inch round cake pans. To prepare the pans for baking, spray the pans with non-stick baking spray and line each pan with a round of parchment paper.
Bake – Bake cake layers for 24 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool cakes for 15 minutes in pans on a wire rack before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
Assembly – I chill the cake during the assembly process for stability and to help the layers settle. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a rotating cake stand and use an offset spatula to swirl cranberry frosting over the cake. Pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer and chill the layer for 10 minutes.
Fill the center of the cake layer with cranberry-cherry preserves. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the second cake layer, and place the layer (frosting side down) over the cranberry layer. Chill the stacked cake for 20 minutes.
Apply a layer of frosting to the top and sides of the cake while you rotate the cake stand, then gently smooth the sides with a bench scraper. Chill the frosted cake for 30 minutes before serving topped with sugared cranberries.
Make Ahead – The cake can be made and assembled a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Before serving, let the cake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve topped with sugared cranberries.
How to Make Sugared Cranberries
While the cake bakes, make the sugared cranberries for the topping. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Add fresh cranberries to the saucepan and coat completely in the simple syrup. Transfer cranberries to a wire rack and let dry for 1 hour, then roll in sugar to coat.Print
Cranberry Almond Layer Cake
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
- Yield: 1 8-inch cake
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Cranberry almond layer cake is perfect for the holidays! A soft almond cake topped with whipped cranberry frosting and sugared cranberries.
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (see note below)
- 1 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh orange zest
- 1 tsp pure almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling
Whipped Cranberry Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 oz full fat cream cheese, at cool room temperature
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup cranberry-cherry preserves
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1/3 cup cranberry-cherry preserves
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper.
- Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy; beat in orange zest and extracts. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Combine buttermilk and Greek yogurt in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture (begin and end with flour mixture).
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles.
- Bake cake layers for 24 to 25 minutes, until the top and edges are golden, cakes spring back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool cakes for 15 minutes in pans on a wire rack before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
- For the sugared cranberries, combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add fresh cranberries to the saucepan and coat completely in the simple syrup. Transfer cranberries to a wire rack and let dry for 1 hour, then roll in sugar to coat.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cranberries to the wire rack. Separate the cranberries into a single layer, spaced 1-inch apart. Let dry for 1 hour, then roll the cranberries in sugar to coat. Transfer to a clean baking sheet and let dry for 1 hour before using.
- For the cranberry frosting, beat butter, cream cheese, and salt in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until combined. Beat in almond extract. Mix in powdered sugar on low speed 1 cup at a time until incorporated, scraping down bowl as needed. Gradually mix in cranberry-cherry preserves until combined. Mix in heavy cream and beat frosting for 1 minute, until light and airy. If frosting is too soft to use immediately, chill for 15 to 20 minutes in the refrigerator before using.
- To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a rotating cake stand and use an offset spatula to swirl frosting over the cake. Pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer and chill the layer for 10 minutes.
- Warm cranberry-cherry preserves for 10 seconds in the microwave and stir to loosen. Fill the center of the cake layer with preserves. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the second cake layer, and place the layer (frosting side down) over the cranberry layer. Chill the stacked cake for 20 minutes.
- Use offset spatula to apply a layer of frosting to the top and sides of the cake while you rotate the cake stand, then use a bench scraper to gently smooth the edges of the cake and remove any excess frosting. Chill the frosted cake for 30 minutes before serving topped with sugared cranberries.
- Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.
Cranberry-Cherry Preserves – I used Bonne Maman Cranberry-Cherry Preserves in the frosting and filling. You can also use Cherry Preserves or homemade cranberry preserves/jam.
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Keywords: Cranberry, Almond, Layer Cake, Holiday Cake
More festive holiday desserts:
Classic Gingerbread Cupcakes
Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
Chocolate Peppermint Layer Cake
Gingerbread Bundt Cake
My daughter baked this cake for our Christmas celebration and we all loved it. The cake is so fluffy and light, and the frosting is delicious!
Hi Rhonda, thanks so much for your feedback. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!
What other frostings would you suggest if I wanted to make this cake other than holiday time? Could I freeze one layer for future needs and serve this as a one layer cake?
Hi Patty, yes you can freeze a cake layer for the future (wrap well in plastic, then wrap in foil and/or place in a freezer bag). This raspberry frosting is delicious throughout the year: https://tutti-dolci.com/raspberry-lemon-layer-cake/