If you bake nothing else this holiday season, bake this gluten-free cranberry orange cake! This is where I fully embrace the 80/20 rule and just indulge.



Cake Ingredients:

3 cups gluten-free flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups coconut sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup plant-based milk

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

zest of one orange

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

18 oz cream cheese,

at room temperature

1 cup unsalted butter,

at room temperature

3 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 tbsp orange juice

3 1/4 cup powdered sugar or xylitol

Sugared Cranberries:

2 cups coconut sugar

12 oz fresh cranberries


Prepare three 8-inch cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350∞F. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until soft and pale yellow, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add the flour and milk in alternating additions, finishing with the flour. Do not over-beat. Coarsely chop the cranberries or pulse a few times in a food processor. Stir into the cake batter along with the orange zest. Divide batter into prepared cake pans and shake slightly to level. Place on middle oven rack and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in cake pan for five minutes then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack. Remove parchment paper round and let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and beat on medium until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, coconut sugar and orange juice. Beat on medium until combined. Add the powdered sugar in several additions and mix on low until incorporated.

Sugared Cranberries:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cranberries and heat for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to wire cooling rack. Let dry for at least one hour. Roll cranberries, a few at a time, in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until coated. Let dry for at least one hour, or overnight.

Assemble the cake:

Place a cake layer on a platter that fits in the refrigerator. Cover with one-third of the cream cheese frosting and use an offset spatula or knife to level. Chill for 10 minutes. Repeat, alternating cake and frosting, finishing with the final third of the frosting. Top with sugared cranberries. Dust with an additional layer of coconut sugar immediately before serving.

Don't stop here! Check out our holiday issue for more dessert and cocktail pairings, our favorite gifts to shop this season, and how to build the best charcuterie board for entertaining.