Coffee Cake Friday: Cranberry Cake, Gluten-Free

As I was contemplating all of the cranberries I bought for my cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, I thought how nice it would be to have a cranberry cake for our 1st post-Thanksgiving Coffee Hour. Cranberries are such lovely berries and their red color adds a festive air to anything they adorn. I don’t think I use them fresh nearly enough in my baking as I should. And they are perfect for the entire winter season because of their rich red color. I will admit to using them a great deal in their dried state–and Girlfriend loves dried cranberries with orange as a school snack and I make nice muffins with them–but until now I haven’t really thought to use them fresh unless I’m making sauce or jam.

I intend to rectify this immediately. In my travels around the web, I came across a delicious-looking cranberry cake recipe from Garrett over at his blog, Vanilla Garlic. He also has another recipe that uses fresh cranberries, ginger cranberry bars, that looks yummy, too.


This cake has a light crumb enclosed in a crunchy exterior. This is because there is a lot of sugar compared to the other ingredients, which makes the sugar combine with the other ingredients to form a kind of a shell on the outside of the cake. It is delicious–I have a few other coffee cakes that do this and the people who attend coffee hour love it! This recipe makes a big cake–so it’s perfect for a crowd or a party!

Cranberry Cake, Gluten-Free (edited 12/6/09 to add sugar amount)
-adapted from Vanilla Garlic

Special Equipment Needed
-stand mixer is quite helpful, but you can use a hand mixer
-9.5 or 10 inch springform pan or 9×13 baking dish

1 lb (2 cups) fresh cranberries, washed, picked over, and dried
2 C Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar (this makes a very sweet cake–you may reduce this to as low as 1 C)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3  extra large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Optional: 1 tablespoon kirsch
extra butter and tapioca flour for pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-butter and flour a 9.5-10 inch springform pan (or a 9″x13″ baking dish); set aside
-in the bowl of the mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy–a few minutes
-add the sugar, continue to beat until fluffy
-add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition
-continue to beat, until fluffy
-add the vanilla (and the kirsch if using)
-add the milk
-add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined
-fold fresh cranberries into batter
-scoop into prepared pan, smoothing top
-thump pan on counter top to release any trapped air bubbles
-bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or more if using the 9.5″ springform pan or 1 hr 20 mins for the 10″ springform pan or 9×13 pan (basically, bake until tester comes out clean).
-if using the springform pan, cool in pan for 5 minutes, and then carefully remove to cooling rack to cool completely
-if using the 9×13 pan, cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to cooling rack–or you can just leave it in the pan and serve from there


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  1. Luana says

    Another winner, Jeanne. I made 1/2 recipe and baked for 35 minutes in a metal cake pan. I halved the sugar, substituted earth balance & rice milk for the dairy, left out the salt and used a combination of frozen cranberries and frozen blueberries. Lovely. It works either as coffee cake or dessert. It would be way too sweet for me if I used all the sugar you called for, though. Even half the amount is plenty sweet.

  2. Kari says

    I’ve been gluten free for almost 5 years now, due to a celiac diagnosis. In this time, I’ve had to reenvison & accept baked goods as “good for gluten free.” I’m happy to report that everything I’ve baked so far, since finding your page a couple of weeks ago, has absolutely delighted my family. Beyond “good for gf,” everything has been absolutely delicious, this cranberry cake included. Thank you.

  3. Noelle says

    I’m new to gluten free baking and have an egg allergy and nut allergy with my boys. We have been advised that we may have a gluten and dairy sensitivity as well. What could I use as a substitute for the eggs? I’ve figured out the dairy subs, but haven’t figured out the egg dilemma. I’m a mom of a 2 and 4 year old and am searching for as many alternative recipes for desserts and anything else we have to give up because of this diet change. This recipe looks tasty! Thanks:)

  4. Mary Jo says

    I want to thank you for this recipe. Recently I have been exploring the world of gluten-free baking for my sister who was missing desserts since going gluten-free. After researching some time, you were the first to help me understand that gluten-free does not have to be complicated, and can be as delicious as baking with wheat. I baked this recipe using your flour blend (which I think is the best I found in my search for a blend), I did however use blueberries as I had them on hand, and added 1tsp of lemon zest. Everyone loved this cake, and commented that they really liked the texture, but what really surprised me was that my non-gluten free family members said it was of their favorites I have baked for them, including desserts baked with wheat flour!

  5. Michelle says

    I made this to go with our Christmas egg casserole, and it is so good! Great texture, not too sweet, with just enough tartness from the cranberries. Definitely something I’ll make again, maybe with a few chopped walnuts tossed in. (love cranberries with walnuts)

  6. Sharlyn Jackson says

    Wow-this was the best thing I’ve baked since our family went gluten and corn free in November! I cut the sugar down to 1 1/3 cups and added the grated zest of one orange, and it was fantastic! My 10 year old celiac said this is the best coffee cake she’s ever eaten. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

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