Cranberry Pudding Cake

Christmas never tasted so good! This old fashioned cranberry pudding cake with butter sauce is the perfect ending to a holiday dinner.

My husband loves pudding and Christmas. When I saw this Cranberry Pudding Cake in an old church cookbook with type-written pages, I had to try it. (If you remember our upside down cranberry cake….I had the same feels about that one!)

Now it doesn’t have pudding as we Americans know pudding, but it does have an amazing buttery cream, thin “pudding-like” sauce over the top which soaks in and adds a ton of flavor and sweetness. Don’t skip the butter sauce. You’ll hear me say this 10 times in this article. But I’m hoping you’ll listen. The sauce is what makes the cranberry cake amazing!

cranberry pudding cake with cool whip

Why you’ll love this cake:

  • Easy to mix up.
  • No eggs!
  • Filled with tart fresh cranberries.
  • Sweet butter cream sauce soaks into overy bite.
  • Pretty and festive for the Christmas season.
cranberry cake in a baking pan with two slices missing

What you’ll need for Cranberry Pudding Cake:

  • Sugar.
  • Butter. We used salted butter and still added salt. You can use unsalted butter if you’d like.
  • Milk. We’ve only tested this with whole milk. There is not a lot of fat in the recipe, so whole milk works well.
  • Vanilla Extract.
  • Flour.
  • Baking Powder.
  • Salt.
  • Cranberries.
  • Half and Half. This is a milk that is between cream and whole milk. You can use a mix of those two if you can’t find half and half.

How to Make Cranberry Pudding Cake

This cake bakes in an 8×8 baking pan. You could probably also use a round 8″ cake pan or springform pan if you’d like.

  • In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to mix together the sugar and butter.
  • Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix again. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix. The mixture will not be smooth, but that’s ok.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Use the hand mixer to mix it in just until barely combined (on low speed). Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Don’t overmix! Overmixing may make your cake a little tough.
  • Fold in the coarsely chopped cranberries.
  • Pour and spread the batter in the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Our cake took exactly 37 minutes to bake. We used a heavier ceramic baking pan. If you use a lighter metal baking pan it might not take quite as long to bake. Watch the cake closely and don’t let it overbake.

The last step is the sweet cream butter sauce. You’ll just heat the half and half, butter and sugar together in a saucepan. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Watch it closely and keep the heat low so it does not scorch.

Then as you serve the cake, pour the warm sauce over top. Delicious!

overhead view of a piece of cranberry cake with butter sauce

Recipe Variations:

  • Add a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon or a dash of cloves for a spicy flavor.
  • If you like cranberry and orange together, add orange zest to the batter and add some orange juice to the butter cream sauce.
  • Use a different fresh fruit than cranberries. Blueberries or raspberries would be great!
  • Try using eggnog instead of the milk.
closeup of cranberry cake on a plate
closeup of cranberry cake on a plate

Cranberry Pudding Cake

5 from 4 votes
Christmas never tasted so good! This old fashioned cranberry pudding cake with butter sauce is the perfect ending to a holiday dinner.
Servings 9
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 37 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the cake:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries (coarsely chopped)

For the butter sauce:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups half and half creamer

Instructions
 

Make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to mix together the sugar and butter.
  • Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix again. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix. The mixture will not be smooth, but that's ok.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Use the hand mixer to mix it in just until barely combined (on low speed). Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Don't overmix!
  • Fold in the coarsely chopped cranberries.
  • Pour and spread the batter in the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. Our cake took 37 minutes but it will depend on the type of pan you use. The cake should test done in the center (or bounce back when you touch it.)

Make the butter sauce:

  • Add the butter, sugar and half and half to a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a simmer as the butter melts. Simmer for 5-10 minutes on low, stirring often.
  • The sauce will separate easily, so make sure you mix the sauce before pouring on the cake.
  • Serve the cake on plates with butter sauce poured overtop. Don't skip the sauce! The cake itself isn't overly sweet and I honestly don't love it plain, but add the butter sauce it and is AMAZING.
  • Store this cake at room temperature for up to 24 hours, then refrigerate any leftovers. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

**Please please read the note about the sauce. The butter sweet cream sauce is what makes this cake special. The cranberry cake on its own isn’t very sweet. Make the sauce!!!
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 9 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake with sauce. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 495kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 679IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 495
Keyword christmas cake, christmas dessert

About Julie Clark

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