Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cake

This yummy post is contributed by Sarah from Two Blue Lemons, a healthy cooking blog

Growing up my mom walked a ceramic bowl full of paperwhite bulbs over to our neighbors’ houses every Christmas Eve. I’d like to think they looked forward to her arrival as much as my sister and I looked forward to the tomato tart from one neighbor and the cinnamon nut roll from another. Even this Christmas, at 31 years old, I’m happily expecting those beautiful and thoughtful gifts to welcome me back to my childhood neighborhood.

So let’s be friendly neighbors and cook up something lovely to share with those who we take the trash out with, wave over the fence to, or join on the stoop. Edible gifts are always well received and I love the size of these petite Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Snacking Cakes. They are not so large that a host needs to fit them into an already well-planned menu but are special enough to share over breakfast or a long overdue cup of coffee with an old friend. They are especially delicious with fresh whipped cream.

Keep reading for the recipe…

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Snacking Cake
makes three 3.5 by 6 inch mini loaf cakes (or one larger 9 by 11 inch standard cake but the cooking time will vary)

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (tip: if you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour simply mix equal parts all purpose and whole wheat flours then wiz in the food processor to create a fine flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled a little
grated zest of 2 oranges
3/4 cup cranberries, sliced in half
3 tablespoons large-grain raw sugar or turbinado sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter and flour the three baking pans then place on top of a baking sheet for an easy oven transfer.

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Whisk in the melted (and cooled) butter and the orange zest. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops out with a spatula. Scatter the cranberries across the top, then sprinkle with the large-grain sugar.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake has set. It never hurts to test it a few minutes early to avoid a dry cake. A toothpick to the center should come out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh whipped cream.


What a wonderful gift idea – thanks for sharing, Liz and Sarah!

I’m a huge fan of mini Nutella pound cake and give them out as gifts (always wrapped just like this!); this is a great (and probably healthier ;)) change-up. Happy holidays and keep up the great work!

Looks amazing! I’ve always loved those pre-packaged mixes for cranberry bread (like Tastefully Simple), but hate paying so much for a silly mix I know I could make myself. Any idea how long a regular loaf would take? Double the time?

Gwendolyn – yippee I hope you make the cake! Great question. A regular loaf will not take too much longer. I’d start with 25 minutes and test with a toothpick/skewer every five minutes until it comes out clean. You don’t want to over bake this cake. Also, with a large loaf I’d slice another handful of cranberries and line the bottom om the pan with it so the cake to cranberry ratio is still high.

Good Luck & Happy Holidays!

Sounds like you come from a great, friendly town. It’s refreshing to hear people are still so neighborly!


these look amazing! thanks for sharing such a great recipe. yum!

this looks scrumptuous. I’d love to cook these up to share with the neighbors, but I’m afraid I’d get them all baked and smelling fresh in my house and have to eat them on my own!

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