This Cranberry and Walnut Cake with a frosted cranberry crown is simply perfect for Christmas! Three layers of moist walnut cake studded with cranberries and layered with easy mascarpone frosting.
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Published 2015, updated 2020
I am in full Christmas mode and I just can’t hide it any longer! It’s been a couple of weeks of decking the house with twinkly lights, pinning ideas on Pinterest and trying to decipher my kids’ Santa list.
Luckily I also have been busy testing endless festive recipes… This Cranberry Walnut Layer Cake is perfect for Christmas celebrations and so easy you can bake it last minute 🙂
Cranberry and Walnut Cake
Cranberries and walnuts are often paired together in coffee cakes and loaf cakes… I know you will LOVE this layer cake version!
This easy cake uses the reverse creaming method which combines the flour and butter FIRST – good news, you don’t have to cream butter and sugar!
You can make it in a stand mixer, a food processor or even using a hand mixer – it’s very easygoing.
I baked this in small 6 inch tins but the layers are really quite deep as you can see from the slice photo. You can bake in 9 inch tins if preferred.
This cake will stay moist and fresh for a couple of days at room temperature in a covered cake container.
My Favourite Festive Recipes
Mini Pavlovas With Baileys and Biscoff
Easy Ginger Cake
HAVE YOU MADE MY CRANBERRY AND WALNUT CAKE RECIPE? Please leave a rating, post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #supergoldenbakes and make my day!
Festive Cranberry and Walnut Cake
For the cake
- 350 g (2 ¾ cups) flour plain / all purpose flour
- 330 g ( 1⅔ cups) sugar
- 60 g ( ⅓ cup) walnuts ground to a powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch ground cardamom
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 200 g (¾ cup + 1 heaped tbsp) cold unsalted butter cubed
- 200 ml (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) milk
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 140 g (1 cup) fresh cranberries halved if large
- 1 tbsp flour to toss the cranberries
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange
For the frosting & filling
- 500 g (2 cups) full fat mascarpone
- 240 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
- 240 g 2 cups icing sugar powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 tbsp cranberry sauce or compote or as needed, to fill
- handful fresh cranberries to decorate
- 1 tbsp egg white + 1 tsp sugar
- granulated sugar to frost the cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line your cake tins. Dust with flour.
- Grind the walnuts to a fine powder in a food processor or blender.
- Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a food processor fitted with a metal blade). Mix on low speed to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and mix for a couple of minutes until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Gradually add the milk, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat together on low speed.
- Once the milk has been incorporated, increase the speed and mix together for a few minutes, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Toss the cranberries in the flour to coat, then fold into the batter.
- Divide the batter between the prepared tins and level. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the tops are firm and springy. Cool completely before frosting. You may need to level the layers before assembling the cake.
- Whip the mascarpone, vanilla and icing sugar on low speed until combined. Increase the speed and beat together until smooth.
- Gradually add the cream and whip until the frosting is smooth and you have firm peaks. Take care not to over whip. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip.
- Pipe a ring of frosting around the rim of the bottom layer and fill the centre with cranberry sauce. Top with the second layer and repeat. Add the final layer.
- Smooth some frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Leave some of the cake showing through to achieve the ‘naked’ cake look, or do a crumb coat then chill the cake, then add another layer of frosting and smooth over the cake.
- Use a fork to whisk 1 tbsp egg white with 1 tsp of sugar until frothy. Brush over the fresh cranberries and leave to dry slightly. Sprinkle with granulated sugar to achieve the ‘frosted’ look. Arrange over the top of the cake (do not eat!).
This conversion table might be useful https://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/hints-tips/cheat-sheets/us-cups-conversion-table