Soft, moist, and flavorful - this Christmas bundt cake recipe with cinnamon and cranberries is extremely easy-to-make and has all the holiday flavors you would want in your Christmas cake. You won't need any special equipment apart from your bundt cake pan and a whisk!
Ingredients and substitutes
Flour - You can use either all-purpose flour or cake flour for a more tender crumb.
Baking powder - Bundt cakes are usually very rich and dance, so it's good to fluff up the interior a little bit with leveling agent like baking powder. We won't use baking soda, as the cake doesn't have a lot of acidic ingredients to react with.
Salt, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon - Additionally, you can add ground ginger or clove, or any premade gingerbread spices mix to make gingerbread bundt cake.
Sugars - I use both light brown sugar and white granulated sugar for my holiday bundt cake.
Fats - I'm a big fan of using unsalted butter together with any flavorless vegetable oil, as they make your cake more flavorful and moister.
Eggs - Eggs should be at room temperature or they will solidify your melted butter.
Cranberries - I use frozen cranberries, but fresh berries will work as well here.
Powdered sugar - If you're in a hurry, just dust your cake with some powdered sugar and serve. Red berries will shine through here and there and your cake won't look boring at all!
Break the sugar lumps. Brown sugar tends to have lumps that aren’t that easy to whisk away. That's why I recommend measuring your brown sugar and then using your hands to break possible lumps before mixing it with wet ingredients.
Sift your dry ingredients. It will make it easier to whisk your dry ingredients together with the wet ones if you sift them first.
Don't use vegetable oil or plain butter as a cake pan release. The secret of a perfect bundt cake is in the way you grease your pan. If your cake sticks to it during baking, the cake's shape will be damaged when you try to take it out. That's why you should use the right cake release. The right cake release should contain not only oil but also some flour. You can buy special sprays in stores or butter your pan with a piece of unsalted butter, then apply a very thin coating of plain flour to it (as you can see in one of the images in the post).
Coat the berries with some flour. This is the most effective method that will keep your berries from sinking to the bottom of your pan.
Prevent browning. Bundt cakes need some time to bake through, even though the pan itself is designed to bake a large amount of batter faster. Keep an eye on your cake after 30 minutes in the oven. If the cake browns on the edges, rotate it and cover it with a piece of foil for the rest of the baking time.
Flip carefully. Make sure that you use an offset spatula to detach the edges of your cake from the pan, if they stick, then carefully flip it onto a cooling rack. Don't remove the pan right away and let your cake rest like this for 5-10 minutes before removing the pan completely.
Step by step directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Butter and flour a 10-12 cup (2-2.5 liter) bundt pan and set aside.
2. Into a bowl, sift and combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In another bowl, add the oil, butter, sugars, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
4. Then, add the eggs and whisk well until a homogenous consistency.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
6. In a bowl, toss the cranberries with flour to coat. Then, fold the berries into the cake batter.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan and tap it against a flat surface to even it out. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 40-50 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry.
8. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 2-3 minutes in the pan. Meanwhile, check that the edges are not attached to the pan using an offset spatula.
9. Flip the cake pan upside down onto a cooling rack and let it sit like that for 5-10 minutes. Then, lift the pan and let the cake cool down completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Raisins - If you don't like cranberries, you can swap them with some raisins. Place your raisins in a bowl and pour boiling water so it covers everything. Let your raisins sit like that for a couple of minutes (they will become hydrated and much softer). Then, drain the water and pat dry the berries with a paper towel. After that, you can toss them in some flour and fold them into your bundt cake batter.
Other spices - As I mentioned in the ingredients and substitutes section, there's enough space to wiggle when it comes to different spices.
Chocolate chips - Nothing can go wrong with adding some chocolate to a Christmas dessert!
Glaze - You can use your favorite sugar glaze to apply on top of our delicious cake. The good thing about sugar glaze is that you can color it with any gel food coloring to make a very fun-looking cake.
Cream cheese frosting - You can grab the recipe for it from my Cinnamon rolls (make it more pourable by adding a splash of whole milk) and decorate your festive Christmas cake.
Chocolate - Dark chocolate fits well with cranberries and cinnamon, so you can make my Chocolate ganache and spread it on top of the cake while it's still pourable.
Berries - You can make sugared fresh cranberries and attach them to a glazed bundt cake.
Crushed nuts - If you choose to use melted chocolate or a sugar glaze on top of your cake, you can sprinkle some crushed walnuts or pecans on top so they stick.
Orange slices - Cranberries go so well with oranges, you can decorate the top of your cake with thin orange slices.
Small bundt cakes - Instead of making one big cake, you can make mini Christmas bundt cakes instead. You can buy different, cute pans and spread the batter between them. If you do this, make sure to adjust the baking time.
Store your Christmas bundt cake in an air-tight container or covered with plastic wrap on a plate at room temperature for up to 4 days. Decorated with cream cheese frosting or chocolate ganache with heavy cream, the cake should be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can freeze the unfrosted cake for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then let it sit at room temperature to soften before serving.
More holiday cake recipes
Christmas bundt cake
- a 10-12 cup (2-2.5 liter) bundt cake pan
- 240 g all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 100 ml vegetable oil such as canola or sunflower seed oil
- 100 g unsalted butter melted
- 160 g white granulated sugar
- 100 g brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 100 g cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Butter and flour (or use a cake release spray that contains flour) a 10-12 cup (2-2.5 liter) bundt cake pan and set aside.
- Into a bowl, sift and combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In another bowl, add the oil, butter, sugars, and vanilla extract. Mix well and make sure that there are no lumps of brown sugar in the mixture.
- Then, add the eggs and whisk well until a homogenous consistency.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until no dry ingredients are left.
- In a bowl, toss the cranberries with flour to coat. Then, fold the berries into the cake batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan and tap it against a flat surface to even it out.
- Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 40-50 mins (if starts browning too much on the edges, cover loosely with a piece of foil and continue baking) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for 2-3 minutes in the pan. Meanwhile, check that the edges are not attached to the pan using an offset spatula.
- Flip the cake pan upside down onto a cooling rack and let it sit like that for 5-10 minutes. Then, lift the pan and let the cake cool down completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
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