Tart cranberries, deliciously moist pumpkin spice cake & tangy cream cheese frosting. This cranberry pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Last week, all of a sudden it was officially fall. Not the warm, sunny September fall weather – but the cold, dreary, almost winter type of fall. When I woke up in the morning it was pitch black outside. The air was cold. The ground was covered in leaves.
I was disappointed. (Let’s be honest). But it also meant I could commit 100% to fall baking and start tinkering with holiday favorites.
Which is exactly how this Cranberry Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting was born. It’s a deliciously moist pumpkin spice cake that’s dotted with tart cranberries and topped with cream cheese frosting.
It’s the type of cake that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and has all the comforting flavors of the holidays.
At first I was a little worried that pumpkin and cranberry would be too many flavors for one cake. But people love pumpkin & coffee together. And pumpkin & chocolate is an absolute dynamite combo. So I figured it was only fair to give our cranberry friends a shot with pumpkin.
It turns out that warm cinnamon spices, comforting pumpkin and tart cranberries are absolutely delicious together. Plus – I think bright red cranberries are extra pretty.
Making the cake is a super straightforward process.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder & a little salt.
- Beat together the oil, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs & pumpkin puree.
- Then mix in the dry ingredients.
- Finally, fold in the chopped cranberries.
You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe. Just be sure that if you’re using frozen you don’t thaw the cranberries first. And if you’re using frozen cranberries toss them in 1 tablespoon of flour first so they don’t bleed red all over the batter.
Then in true Fiona fashion, I had to top it all off with cream cheese frosting. (I’m slightly obsessed). Creamy, tangy, not too sweet – it’s the perfect addition for any dense, moist, spice cake like this one.
This pumpkin cranberry cake with cream cheese frosting is just a little bit different, filled with your favorite winter spices, and the perfect easy recipe for the holidays.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt , or sour cream
- 1 3/4 cup cranberries , roughly chopped *
- 1 tbsp flour , if using frozen cranberries
- 8 oz cream cheese , softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Butter and flour a 9x13 inch cake pan.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate large bowl beat together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to low speed and beat in the pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt.
Carefully beat in the flour mixture, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
If using frozen cranberries, toss them in 1 tablespoon of flour. Then fold the cranberries into the cake batter using a large spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 38-42 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sour cream.
Slowly beat in the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until the desired sweetness is reached. Then beat in the vanilla extract and salt.
Frost the cooled cake, decorate with cranberries (optional), and slice into pieces.
* Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used. If using frozen, do not thaw first. Toss frozen cranberries in 1 tablespoon of flour before folding into into the cake batter.
**Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.
***Unfrosted cake can be wrapped tightly in cling wrap and frozen. Thaw overnight in the fridge before frosting and serving.
If you love cranberries and pumpkin, check out these other favorites:
- Cranberry Orange Loaf
- Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting on Oh Sweet Basil
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Cranberry Orange Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting