Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

Eric went to my recipe index yesterday because he wanted to make these Butter Pecans (a Christmas classic around here). He went to the page, hit ctrl+ F, typed in “butter,” and got 32 matches. That’s right, apparently 32 of my recipes have butter in the title.

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

I have no shame in adding one more today. I could drink this Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce straight. (And I would, if I wanted to die by 30.)

This cake is kind of like warm and moist ¬†crack cocaine, but a little more homey. I’m kidding. Kind of. If it weren’t so rich I probably would have thrown down half the cake myself.

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

My baking addiction has reached an all time low. You all know that I never clean my house unless people are coming to visit. A few hours before my sister-in-law Jessie arrived a couple weeks ago, I was in my pajamas and halfway through vacuuming the house when all the sudden I was rinsing cranberries and measuring flour instead. It’s like I didn’t even think about it, I blinked and instead of scrubbing toilets I was sneaking bits of delicious cake batter.

Actually, this kind of sounds like a dream come true.

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

I was all apologies when Jessie arrived. Sorry it’s not clean, here have some cake. And some butter sauce. Yes, BUTTER SAUCE. A couple days later she was like, “Um, Karen, do you mind if I vacuum a little bit?” What, my cranberry cake didn’t blind you to my dirty floors? It worked on me.

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

Cranberry cake already would have been good, but I’m telling you, this butter sauce is boss. It soaks into the cake and makes it super moist and melt-in-your-mouth. The tart bite of the cranberries balances out the simplicity of the cake. Then the sauce makes it all twirly sunshine stardom.

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

This would be perfect to serve for dessert on Christmas. Or even, dare I say, for breakfast? (Let’s be real, it’s not like French toast or cinnamon rolls are any healthier. Let go of your prejudice and embrace dessert for breakfast.)

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

Yield: Serves 8-10


    For the cake:
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries (a 12-oz bag is 3 cups)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 can (12-oz) evaporated milk
  • 4 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Dump all the cranberries in a colander, rinse them, and set them aside to dry. (If you really love cranberry, you can add up to 5 cups of cranberries. I used 4 and thought it was perfect.)
  2. Add the softened butter and 2 cups of sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the evaporated milk and combine.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat until just barely combined, scraping the sides and bottom as necessary. Fold in the cranberries using a wooden spoon.
  4. Spray a standard-size (10-12 cup) bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Over the sink, sprinkle a couple teaspoons of flour all over the inside of the pan, and shake it so that it completely covers the interior. Dump any remaining flour. You just want a thin layer so that your cake inverts nice and easy.
  5. Spoon the batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a spoon. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. The cake is done when it is a deep golden color and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out dry. It was closer to 50 minutes in my oven.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Set a timer so you don't forget.
  7. Invert the cake onto a plate or cake stand.
  8. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar and cream, and heat until sugar is melted and sauce is hot. Don't let it boil! Remove from heat, let it sit for a minute, then stir in vanilla.
  9. Serve warm sauce over cake. I like it best served over each individual slice, but you can drizzle it over the whole cake if you want. Don't do all of it, just enough to make it pretty. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature.

Source: Lulu the Baker

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce





  1. says

    I Loooooooooove this!! I was just watching Nigella’s Holiday Bites and she made a cranberry cake with a custardy sauce and I was all OMG!! Now, I’m craving cranberry cake like whoa. This is gorgeous. Beautiful pics. And I’m so glad I’m not the only one who would rather have good food than clean floors. :)

  2. says

    I’m making this for dinner tonight. TONIGHT. I even have the cranberries and everything, so it’s like this cake is my density. I mean, my destiny.
    (I’ll pair it with tomato soup so that there are a few more nutrients in the meal. But cranberries are a fruit, so maybe I won’t bother.)
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    • says

      Thanks Elena! I see that you’ve already gotten started on the salad detox. You’re a better person than me :) Combining avocado and pomegranate though–I think we’re going to be great friends.

  3. Melissa says

    I think this recipe sounds great and I am making it tonight. Is is just me or did I miss the temp for pre heating the oven? I am assuming it is 350 as that is what most pound cakes are baked at and because of the long baking time it cant be much higher then that. Any way I cant wait to try it.

  4. Cammie says

    I made this tonight and it filled my 10c Nordic Ware rose bundt to the very tip. It didn’t spill over when cooking but thought I should make mention if anyone has a smaller size pan. I know I still have my Grandma’s 9c from the 60’s and this definitely needs a bigger size.

    Good looking cake and it was perfect to use up the cranberries left in the freezer from the holidays. Thanks for sharing & happy baking!

    • says

      Thank you for telling me that Cammie! I’m so glad your cake didn’t overflow, that would have been awful. I’m so glad you liked it! I’m super jealous that you had leftover cranberries in the freezer, I’m seriously wishing I had some now. Thanks for coming back to comment!

        • says

          Yes Tina, frozen berries will work great! Don’t even bother thawing. I was smarter this year and saved some in the freezer and now I’m am craving this like nobody’s business! I need to make it happen!

          • Tina says

            So, I made this for dessert tonight. OMG…it was so good! My company loved it! Will definitely make this again. Only change, switched out the cranberries for partridgeberries. I couldn’t get any cranberries. They were frozen berries that were picked last summer. Now hubby wants me to try blueberries too.

  5. Becky says

    Oh my goodness!!! This cake is sooo delicious! The pics looked wonderful, but I still didn’t think it would taste as amazing as it looked. . . it does! I didn’t have evaporated milk, so I used buttermilk. I added pecans to the cake batter before the cranberries (because we love pecans!). For the butter sauce, I had an open can of sweetened condensed milk that I wanted to use, so I used only half of the sugar and half of the cream called for, and substituted with equal amount of sweetened condensed milk. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. :-)


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