Christmas with a Twist: Cranberry and Orange Cake

Posted by on Nov 15, 2015 in Cakes, Features | Comments Off on Christmas with a Twist: Cranberry and Orange Cake

Christmas with a Twist: Cranberry and Orange Cake

I was delighted to be invited by Waitrose to make a recipe for their Stir-Up Sunday event – it’s that time of the year when Christmas cakes and puddings need to be whipped up in time for the festive season! I was generously provided with a gift voucher in order to buy the ingredients, but the recipe, as always, is my creation – so for Christmas with a twist, this is my gluten-free Cranberry and Orange Cake. 

Gluten free Orange and Cranberry Cake

Everyone can have too much fruity, boozy richness, so if you’ve got several events that need sweet treats over Christmas, how can you ring the changes? That was my starting point for this quick and easy cake, so I decided it had to be light in texture, but still festive in taste. It’s a cake for people who don’t like Christmas cake or pudding, it’s a cake for those who, like me, are gluten-free, and it’s a cake for that last-minute Christmas party when you need to bake something, quick. 

To a basic sponge mix, I added flavours that evoke Christmas for me: oranges  – sweet, citrus, and utterly Christmassy; cranberries – festive and jewel-like, adding just a touch of grown-up tartness to an otherwise sweet cake; and almonds – a touch of marzipan flavour, but more delicate, and adding moisture and lightness to the sponge.

Christmas Orange and Cranberry Cake

I kept the decoration simple too – just a drizzle of icing, made with juice from an orange, and extra cranberries, caramelized with a little sugar. It’s enough to make it look festive without it being sickly or over the top.

If you’re looking for the taste of Christmas, but in a totally different cake to a traditional Christmas cake, this might just be the recipe for you – I hope you enjoy it!

Orange and Cranberry Cake
A festive twist - Christmas flavours, but lighter and fresher.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 175g butter
  2. 175g soft brown sugar
  3. 160g gluten free self-raising flour
  4. 30g ground almonds
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 100g fresh cranberries, chopped (Plus a few extra whole, for decoration)
  7. 1 orange
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 60g icing sugar
  1. Grease and line a small loaf tin, and preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, with a little flour to prevent curdling.
  4. Fold in the rest of the flour, ground almonds, and cinnamon.
  5. Grate in the zest of the orange and squeeze in the juice from half the orange (reserve the other half for the icing).
  6. Gently stir in the cranberries.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the tin, and bake for about an hour, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Turn out onto a wire rack, and leave to cool.
  9. To make the icing, mix the sifted icing sugar with as much of the orange juice as you need to make it runny enough for decorating.
  10. Use a spoon or piping bag to zig-zag the icing across the cake.
  11. Caramelize the cranberries by adding to a pan with 1 tbsp brown sugar and 100ml of orange juice or water. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries start to break down.
  12. Leave to cool, then spoon the cranberries over the top of the cake.
  13. Serve straight away, or keep for several days in an airtight container.
  1. It's best to add the cranberries just before serving, if you are storing it first.
  2. It freezes well too, for up to a month.
Happy Baking Days