This orange cake is filled with cranberry filling and frosted with white chocolate frosting. It's the perfect dessert cake for the holidays after a comforting dinner with lots of turkey and apple sausage stuffing. It's easy to make and crowd pleaser.
Step-by-step video tutorial
Cranberry filling - Place cranberries, water, orange juice, cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon in a large saucepan and bring over medium heat to a boil. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the cranberries get soft. Blend cranberries with an immersion blender or mash with a potato masher to your preference. Cook another 5-6 minutes or until the filling has thickened and reduced by about ⅓.
Orange cake - In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stir to combine and set aside. Beat butter, oil, and sugar until creamy, then add 1 egg at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and orange zest and stir to combine. Alternately add dry and wet ingredients and stir to combine.
White chocolate frosting - Beat butter until soft and creamy, then add powdered sugar and beat on medium-low speed until fully combined and smooth. Add melted white chocolate and mix on medium speed until combined and creamy. Then add 1-2 tablespoon of orange juice and mix until creamy.
Expert tips for success
- Make sure that you cook the cranberry sauce until it has thickened up and is reduced by ⅓, about 5-10 minutes. Otherwise the filling will be too watery.
- If your cake layers aren't flat after baking, slice off a thin layer from the top to create an even surface. This helps the cake to hold up, makes icing easier, and just looks better.
- For the best chocolate frosting, use just high-quality chocolate. Choose white chocolate of a brand you love. I love brands like Lindt, Ghirardelli, or Guittard.
- Let the chocolate cool down for about 10 minutes before you add it to the buttercream frosting. However, it should still be smooth and liquid, just not too warm.
- This cake is best eaten at room temperature. Place it on the kitchen counter 15-30 minutes before serving.
How long does it last
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.
Make ahead and freezing instructions
- Cake layers: After baking the cake layers, let cool completely. Then tightly wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap twice. Place in freezer bags or containers and freeze for up to 1 month. To thaw, unwrap the cake layers and let sit on the counter for about 1-2 hours. Once it is at room temperature, make the frosting and assemble the cake as instructed.
- Whole cake: After chilling for 3 hours, place the cake in the freezer until it is firm, for about 2 hours. Remove the cake from the freezer and tightly wrap in plastic wrap twice. Make sure that everything is covered. Then wrap in aluminum foil twice until completely covered or place in a freezer container. It freezes well for up to 2 months. Unwrap the cake and thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Single slices: Place the slices in the freezer for about 1 hour. Then remove from the freezer and tightly wrap in plastic wrap twice until fully covered. Place in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, unwrap the cake and place on the kitchen counter for 1 hour.
More festive cake recipes to try
Cranberry Orange Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
- 5 cups cranberries, fresh or thawed
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
white chocolate frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 6 oz white chocolate bars, melted and cooled
- 1-2 tablespoon orange juice
- pinch of salt (if needed)
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the bottom and the sides of two 8" (20cm) baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make the cranberry filling: Place cranberries, water, orange juice, cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon in a large saucepan and bring over medium heat to a boil. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the cranberries get soft. Stir constantly. Blend cranberries with an immersion blender or mash with a potato masher to your preference. Cook another 5-6 minutes or until the filling has thickened and reduced by about ⅓. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.
- Make the orange cake: In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or handheld mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter, oil, and sugar until creamy for about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 egg at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and orange zest and stir to combine. Alternately add dry ingredients, milk, dry ingredients, orange juice, and end with dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Divide batter into the two prepared baking pans equally. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake or the cake will be dry. Let cool to room temperature.
- Make the white chocolate frosting: Beat butter on medium-high speed until soft and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium-low speed until fully combined and smooth. Add chocolate and mix on medium speed until combined and creamy. Stir in 1-2 tablespoon of orange juice depending on the consistency of the buttercream. It should be smooth and creamy. Add salt to your taste.
- Assemble the cake: Cut a thin layer off the tops of your cakes to create a flat surface. Then cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread ¼ of the buttercream over the cake. The buttercream should be higher around the edges that it holds the cranberry filling inside the cake. Layer with ⅓ of the cranberry filling (where the buttercream is lower). Repeat two more times. Place last cake layer on top and lightly frost the outside and the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Chill 4 hours in the fridge. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
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Delicious and elegant cake. The orange cake is moist and not too sweet, and the orange level is perfect, not too overpowering. The cranberry filling makes a lot more than is necessary for the cake and we added about quarter cup extra sugar because it was a bit sour. Frosting recipe is good but only makes enough to frost a naked cake style, which we didn't mind but if you want more frosting you'll need to probably make 1.5x the recipe. Overall a wonderful cake and will make again, its a great celebration or showstopper cake.
Omg! This is just divine! Everything pairs so well! Got a new favorite 😃
Can you adjust using 9 in pans and if so just by temp and time. Would you still cut for layers?
In 9-inch pans, the cake layers would be very thin and hard to cut. I suggest increasing the recipe by a third. So all ingredients multiplied by 1.33. Hope that helps!
I made this cake for my husband's birthday which happens to be on Christmas day so it was a perfect occasion to try this recipe. It was absolutely divine! His family kept having seconds despite being full from the Christmas feast, it was just that good. I made a raspberry filling instead of cranberries because I couldn't find any. The combination of the light orange cake, the filling and the frosting was just perfect, it tasted like Christmas. I will definitely make it again, next time with cranberries hopefully. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Happy holidays!
This cake is so good. I made it for a coworker for her birthday. It was a HUGE hit. Several people said it is now their all-time favorite cake... Since I was feeding large group, I doubled the recipe and made an 18 x 12 sheet cake, I didn’t use the cranberry filling - I used the whole cranberries dusted with flour. I also used my white chocolate Italian meringue buttercream- because I find powdered sugar buttercreams to be too sweet. I decorated the cake with frosted cranberries and white chocolate leaves.
I’m making it again for our Christmas Eve family gathering. This time I am using the cranberry filling.
Thanks for sharing this recipe.