This moist White Cake recipe with cranberry filling, almond buttercream frosting, and sugared cranberries is made from scratch and perfect for holidays!
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Why You’ll Love This White Cake with Cranberry Filling
I love holidays. Whether it’s Christmas or Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t matter, they always call for dessert.
Today’s cake recipe is the perfect answer for all your holiday needs. The cranberry filling makes it perfect for Thanksgiving if you want something different than the traditional Pumpkin Pie Recipe, but it’s also a beautiful addition to a Christmas dessert spread.
Here’s why you’ll love it:
- It starts with my favorite white cake recipe. It has the perfect crumb texture and flavor!
- The cake uses canned whole berry cranberry filling, which means it’s super easy. You could make your own cranberry sauce, but I love the canned stuff (food blogger confession)!
- The sugared cranberries (from this cranberry cupcake recipe) offer a festive and beautiful finishing touch. If you can’t find fresh berries you can skip this step!
Important Ingredient Notes
For the Cake:
- Egg whites – Let these come to room temperature.
- Buttermilk – The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the leavener to give the cake extra lift. It also creates a moist, tender crumb.
- Unsalted butter – Using unsalted butter gives you more control over the flavor of the cake.
- Almond extract – You can swap in vanilla extract, but almond extract has a fantastic amaretto-like flavor that makes this white cake a standout!
- Cake flour – For a finer crumb and lighter texture.
For the Frosting:
- Cream cheese – Buy the kind that comes in a block, not a tub.
- Orange juice – Freshly squeezed is best because it has a brighter flavor.
- Whole berry cranberry sauce – Store-bought or homemade, but the bottom line is that you want the cranberry sauce with texture, not the jellied variety!
How to Make White Cake With Cranberry Filling
Prepare: Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans (or use my homemade cake release) and line bottoms with circles of parchment paper.
Make the Cake Batter:
- In small bowl, whisk together egg whites and 1/4 cup buttermilk.
- In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in almond extract.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Slowly beat in the egg white mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk.
- Continue to beat for 1-2 minutes, or until fluffy.
Bake: Divide the batter into cake pans and bake in a 350ºF oven for about 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool: Let the cake layers cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese together until they’re smooth. Beat in the orange juice, almond extract, and powdered sugar for 3-4 minutes, or until fluffy.
- Lay one layer of cake on a cake plate and pipe frosting around the top edge.
- Add half of the cranberry sauce, then spread additional frosting over the cranberries.
- Add the second layer of cake. Repeat frosting the edge on top of cake, and spread frosting on sides of cake.
- Fill in the top with the remaining cranberry sauce.
Tips and Tricks
- Soften the butter well before you get started—if your kitchen is chilly, it might take some extra time. Softened butter mixes more smoothly into the other ingredients and holds air when beaten, giving your cake a light texture.
- Make sure the cream cheese is softened, too. If it’s not, it will stick to the beaters and leave little lumps of unmixed cheese in your frosting.
- Don’t pour the egg yolks down the drain! They can be frozen and used for recipes where you only need yolks, like Lemon Curd. Freeze each yolk in an ice cube tray, then transfer them to a freezer bag and thaw in the fridge when you need them.
- To freeze leftovers, I lay each large slice of cake on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it up entirely. Then wrap the slice in foil and slide into a ziploc freezer bag. Freeze for up to 30 days, then thaw overnight and enjoy.
White cake is made with egg whites, not whole eggs, so it has a lighter texture and color than traditional yellow cake. It can be flavored with clear vanilla extract or, as in the case of this white cake with cranberry filling, almond extract.
You can, but cake flour has a lower protein content, which means the texture of a cake made with all-purpose flour won’t be quite as light and fluffy.
It depends! If you use a cake strip around your pans, it will keep the cake layers from doming in the middle, so you may not need to level them. You may also want to skip the leveling if you’re just making the cake for yourself and your family. For a big event, you can use a serrated knife (or cake leveler) to even the layers before frosting and stacking them.
More Cake Recipes:
- Carrot Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Peanut Butter Cake
- Coconut Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
- Pudding Cake
- Chocolate Eclair Cake
White Cake with Cranberry Filling
For the Cake
- 5 egg whites room temperature
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 Tablespoons almond extract
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cup cake flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 package cream cheese, softened 8 ounce
- 2 Tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce 14 ounce
- To prepare cake, grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper (cut circles to fit). Set aside. (or use my homemade cake release)
- In small bowl, mix egg whites and 1/4 cup buttermilk. Set aside.
- In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in almond extract. Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Slowly add in egg white mixture.
- Beat in remaining buttermilk for 1-2 minutes until fluffy.
- Pour evenly into cake pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25-28 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Remove and cool in cake pans 5 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth, several minutes. Add in orange juice, almond extract, and powdered sugar. Beat for 3-4 minutes until fluffy.
- To assemble. Lay one layer of cake on a cake plate. Pipe frosting around the top edge of the cake. Add half of a can of whole berry cranberry sauce. Add additional frosting OVER the cranberry sauce.
- Top with second layer of cake. Repeat frosting edge on top of cake, and spread frosting on sides of cake. Fill in the top with the remaining cranberry sauce.
- One thing I love about cake is the ability to slice and freeze it for a later date.
- To do this, I lay each large slice of cake on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it up entirely. Then wrap the slice in foil and slide into a ziploc freezer bag.
- Freeze for up to 30 days. Thaw overnight and enjoy.
From scratch, moist White Cake recipe with cranberry filling, almond buttercream frosting with a hint of orange, and sugared cranberries as a garnish! Perfect for the holidays!