Celebrate the holidays with our Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake! There is a smooth layer of tart cranberry mixture sandwiched right in the middle of two moist vanilla cake layers. Then, the cake is covered with a blanket of ultra-creamy, pure white icing.
Cranberries are King at the holiday season and we are love’n every bite of our Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake! This delightful cake is all decked out for the holidays and will be a delicious ending for any event at Christmas.
Celebrate the holidays with our Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake! There is a smooth layer of tart cranberries sandwiched right in the middle of two moist vanilla cakes. The cake is covered with a delicious blanket of ultra-creamy, pure white buttercream. Ingredients
For the white vanilla Cake:
2-3/4 cups cake flour (300 grams)
1-2/3 cups sugar, superfine is best (330 grams)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup butter, (12 tablespoons) softened
4 large egg whites, plus 1 whole large egg
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the cranberry layer:
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil *(See Notes)
1 tablespoon butter
For the buttercream icing:
4 cups, (500 grams) confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (120 ml) boiling water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups (4 sticks of 113 grams each) salted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
Instructions For the White Vanilla Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Prepare two 9”x 2” round pans by lining them with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients on slow speed for 2 minutes to blend. Add the soft butter and beat on medium speed until it looks like damp sand.
Add the egg whites one at a time, then add the whole egg, beating well after each addition. This will help build the structure of the cake.
In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the vanilla and almond extract and add it 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs stuck to the toothpick. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. For the cranberry layer:
To a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the cranberries, sugar water and salt. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently until the berries have burst.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, lemon oil and butter. Allow to cool. Transfer to the food processor and pulse until the berries are slightly broken. Do not over-mix the berries or they will turn into a puree.
Cool to room temperature. For the buttercream icing:
Add the confectioners' sugar to the mixing bowl of a electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. *(See Notes) While the mixer is running, slowly pour the boiling water down the inside of the bowl in a steady stream.
Gradually, increase the speed to medium, stopping occasionally to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Beat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth and has cooled down to room temperature. This will take about 4 minutes. Add the extracts and mix until it is well blended.
Add chunks of butter while the mixer is running and beat on low speed. Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down sides of the bowl. Beat the buttercream until it is smooth and creamy until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
Gradually increase mixer speed to medium *(See Notes) and continue beating until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. To Assemble:
Slice off any dome on the cake to level. Place one cake layer on a cake stand and arrange parchment strips to keep your cake plate clean while icing the cake.
Spread or pipe a rim of the buttercream around the edge of the first cake layer. This creates a dam and prevents the cranberry filling from flowing over the edge of the cake.
Spoon the cranberry mixture into the center of the cake and spread it to the inside edge of the dam.
Place the next cake layer on the filling, bottom side facing up, and anchor by pressing down slightly.
Using an off-set spatula, if possible, cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin coating of icing and place the cake in the freezer or refrigerator to 'set'. *(See Notes)
Remove the cake from the freezer and cover the top of the cake with a thick coat of icing.
Next cover the sides, using small amounts of icing for better control, and smoothing evenly to finish the effect.
Remove the parchment strips and decorate the top according to your preference.
1 tablespoon of lemon zest can be substituted for the lemon oil
The cranberry sauce will yield about 1 1/4 cups of sauce
Using all butter will give an off-white, cream-color to the finished icing. I used Wilton's Liquid White-White food coloring to make our pure-white icing.
Use a hand-held mixer if the stand mixer is not available.
Mixing the icing on high speeds will incorporate air bubbles so don't turn it any higher than medium.
A thin layer of icing will prevent any crumbs from lifting and marring the finished icing.
If you plan to pipe the icing you will want to use 2 tablespoons less water in the initial mixing.