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Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Rum Sauce and Sugared Cranberries

Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce and Sugared Cranberries



Still looking for that perfect Christmas dessert? I think I may be able to help! I have so many old recipes in the archives of pages I’ve saved from when this blog was just a simple website; I keep thinking one day I will get them all included but truthfully that gargantuan task will most likely never happen. Still, this one recipe for a Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce and Sugared Cranberries has been given a new lease on life. And updated a bit too while I was at it. This recipe followed me to Colorado from North Carolina where we lived when my kids were little; it came into my life one holiday when we had Christmas dinner with an older couple that lived in the same apartment building. Alma was a great inspiration to me and I still use some of her recipes. I will NEVER forget that she made Quiche Lorraine for me for the first time and I’ve loved it ever since. I might have sort of forgotten about this lovely little cake and I wonder how I did that. It is so easy, it is so pretty and seasonal and best of all? It is so damn good!!


Cranberry Cake with Rum Butter Sauce and Sugared Cranberries

The biggest change I made to this recipe over the years was as simple as adding some rum to the butter sauce. I have another very old recipe on this blog for a Rum Cake; the only one I have yet to change from WAY back when I had no problem using a cake mix and never even thought to make a cake from scratch (Oh mercy that photo…I’ve got some work to do!). It’s still good but it’s that butter, sugar and rum sauce that is poured into the cake that makes it amazing. The rum makes a subtle difference but with alcohol subtlety is a must. You do not want family or guests to keel over; you want just enough rum to elevate the flavor profile of the cake. And that it does!

Cranberry Cake with Rum Butter Sauce and Sugared Cranberries

I don’t think I’ll forget about this one again. Certainly making the butter sauce a rum butter sauce was a good call but I think of equal importance are the sugared cranberries. They are the perfect garnish for this simple cake and serve to elevate it to a holiday dessert table. Besides, I have such an easy (and not overnight) way of making sugared cranberries I would almost call them a piece of cake but they are not. Them’s the berries!! :).

Rum Butter Sauce and Sugared Cranberries

Make the cake and sauce a day or two ahead and wrap for re-warming. Probably best if you’re doing the berries to not do them more than one day prior to serving and whatever you do, do not refrigerate them, you’ll find them in a puddle of cranberry syrup next time you look! Give this a try; it was so well received and is one dessert that has a spectacular finish without killing the cook to get there! Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 15 squares
For the Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
For the Sauce:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cream or 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup rum (use white to keep the sauce light)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 13-by-9-inch glass baking pan. Cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit the bottom of the pan; put in place and lightly grease the paper.
Make the Cake:
  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
  2. Put the sugar in a large mixing bowl and add the butter; beat on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
  4. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately; starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Stir in cranberries and pour into baking pan; make sure the cranberries are evenly spaced in the batter.
  6. Bake 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Let cool, remove from pan and arrange on a plate or stand.
To Make the Sauce:
  1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat and cook until all the sugar and butter melts and everything has blended. Turn up heat and boil for one minute.
  2. Poor hot sauce over warmed cake.
  3. Top with sugared cranberries (optional)
For the Sugared Cranberries, please visit for the recipe.


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