This Gluten-Free Cranberry Cake is a beautifully festive sweet-tart cake made with loads of cranberries and balanced by a buttery, dense cake.
Gluten-Free Cranberry Cake
I love this cake! I baked it consistently years ago, back in my DC days, around the holidays and it always felt like wintry celebratory perfection. My current gluten-free version is based on the original Williams Sonoma recipe I made so many years ago and it still feels like a perfect dessert to serve at a holiday party. In fact, I’ll have it out tonight when we have some friends over!
The cake base is composed of a simple and lovely trifecta of gluten-free flours in equal amounts: oat, almond, and sweet white rice flours (easy substitution swaps are found below the recipe). The final result is a wonderful, sturdy butter cake, the recipe riffed off of my old favorite yellow butter cake.
The topping is exactly as described: lots of cranberries! Though intended as an upside-down cake, on the first recipe test the cranberries did not stay perfectly at the bottom of the cake — some trickled down into the cake, which did not result in the solid, beautiful cranberry pink-red top I remembered. On the second test, they stayed put. I mention this because you might experience both occurrences; each is delicious. You could also try adding some lemon zest for another flavor profile, but I think simplicity is key here.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Cranberries. Loads of juicy tart cranberries make this cake truly stand out.
Festive color. Again, those cranberries really make an impact! This is a lovely cake to serve during the winter months, when cranberries are in season.
Simplicity of ingredients. Just three gluten-free flours are needed, plus good quality butter, eggs, and whole milk.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Gluten-Free Cranberry Cake
- Oat flour: This delicious whole grain gluten-free flour makes cakes fluffy
- Sweet white rice flour: Works as a binder in gluten-free cakes
- Almond flour: Choose almond flour rather than almond meal
- Baking powder
- Maple sugar
- Eggs and whole milk
- Unsalted butter
- Fresh or frozen cranberries
Tips for Success
- Let batter rest for at least 15 minutes before baking. Oat flour really benefits from a rest to let it absorb liquids.
- Bring ingredients to room temperature before using.
- See “Notes” section following the recipe for substitution suggestions.
How to Store
To store, wrap the cake well and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve at room temperature.
Gluten-Free Cranberry Cake
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup maple sugar
- ¾ pound fresh or frozen cranberries
- ½ cup/70 g gluten-free oat flour
- ½ cup/70 g almond flour
- ½ cup/70 g sweet white rice flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup maple sugar
- 2 eggs large, lightly beaten
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- To make the topping, butter an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment. Put the butter and maple sugar a heavy bottom skillet in the and place the pan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Pour into the prepared pan and scatter the cranberries over the butter-sugar mixture. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the butter is lighter in color, about 45 seconds. The add sugar in a steady stream and scrape down the bowl again. Continue to mix on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the eggs a little at a time, and beat very well for about 2 minutes.
- Combine the vanilla and milk in a small bowl or measuring cup.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in four doses, alternating with the milk in three doses. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between additions.
- Pour the batter carefully on top of the cranberries in the cake pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Let the batter rest while the oven heats.
- Then place the cake in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are starting to come away a bit from the sides of the pan.
- Remove cake from the oven and set on a rack to cool for 30 minutes then turn out onto rack and peel off the parchment if necessary to finish cooling completely.
- Cake will keep, in an air-tight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Serve at room temperature, although cold, straight from the fridge, is also delicious.