Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake

Christmas Cake with Fresh, Red Cranberries inside it

Christmas Pound Cake

This one is a classic, almost a must have at Christmas time.

Basic Cranberry Pound Cake Recipe


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • Zest of one orange (optional)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Grease and flour a standard-sized loaf pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This can be done with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Begin and end with the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  • Gently fold in the chopped cranberries and orange zest into the batter. The cranberries should be evenly distributed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it evenly.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top begins to brown too quickly, you can tent it with aluminum foil.
  • Allow the pound cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cake has cooled, you can dust the top with powdered sugar or icing for a festive touch.
  • Slice the Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake into thick slices and serve. It’s delicious on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream for added indulgence.

A Christmas Cake set in the 1800s on a wooden table, old time baking.

History of the Classic Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake

It’s Roots

The roots of this dense and rich cake can be traced back to Europe in the 18th century. The original pound cake was a simple recipe, consisting of equal parts of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs—hence the name “pound” cake, reflecting the equal ratio of these core ingredients.

As the pound cake made its way across continents, it underwent numerous transformations, adapting to whatever ingredients the different regions had.

North America

The history of cranberries in North America predates the arrival of European settlers. Indigenous peoples, particularly in the northeastern part of the continent, used cranberries as food and for medicinal purposes. These vibrant red berries were a staple in their diets and featured prominently in various dishes.

European settlers soon adopted cranberries into their culinary repertoire, incorporating them into sauces, jams, and baked goods. The tartness of cranberries added a unique and refreshing dimension to recipes, making them a cherished ingredient in early American kitchens.


The 19th century saw the crystallization of Christmas as a widely celebrated holiday in the United States. As families gathered around festive tables, the demand for special holiday desserts grew. The pound cake, with its rich and indulgent nature, became a natural choice for these occasions.

Cranberries, with their bright color and tart flavor, began to find their way into Christmas recipes. Bakers experimented with ways to incorporate these berries into traditional desserts, giving rise to the idea of a Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake. The marriage of the buttery pound cake with the tartness of cranberries created a symphony of flavors that resonated with the festive spirit of the season.


In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in home baking and a return to traditional recipes. The Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake, with its roots in both European and American culinary history, has found itself back in the spotlight. Home bakers, inspired by the desire to create meaningful holiday traditions, are rediscovering the joy of crafting this festive treat from scratch.

Baking the Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake has become a cherished ritual for many families, a moment to gather in the kitchen, share stories, and create lasting memories. The aroma of baking pound cake and the laughter that accompanies the process evoke a sense of nostalgia, connecting generations through the shared experience of holiday baking.


Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, enjoy this moist, tart Cranberry Classic Recipe

Moist, Tart, Cranberry Pound Cake

Dried Cranberry Powder

Leave a Reply