Layered high, this Cranberry Orange Layer Cake is filled with a sweet cranberry filling and frosted with an orange spiked buttercream frosting that will send your tastebuds to heaven.
It feels like I haven’t done a layer cake in forever. So what does a girl do to solve that dilemma? Well she bakes, and thats exactly what I did. I literally couldn’t help myself, I was having cake withdrawal. I mean I’m used to baking cakes on a regular basis, but I’ve been so busy with the kids and sports and all that jazz that comes with motherhood that I just couldn’t find the time. Well, I’m back.
Since it’s the holiday season and all I figured something with cranberries would be awesome. I did a delicious Cranberry Orange Mimosa last year that was popular so I figured I wanted to continue with the theme of cranberry and orange again. So behold this Cranberry Orange Layer Cake came to fruition.
Now I like to make my own cranberry sauce, so I used fresh cranberries for this. Toss them in a sauce pan with a little, sugar, water and vanilla and let those babies burst and thicken. Seriously, so easy and so good. I love eating it with a spoon, but I knew if I did that I wouldn’t have enough to fill this bad boy.
So I’m a huge frosting gal, I love trying all the frostings. And orange happens to be one of my favorite. Now you can use orange juice if you prefer for this but I used orange extract and a little bit of orange zest. It gave this buttercream just the perfect amount of sweetness to really set it apart. You can smell that orange infusion and it literally makes you want to melt. I adore the smell of orange.
And not to mention the zest really gives it a fun look on the outside of the cake with the specks poking through to see. Now I couldn’t decide if I wanted to decorate with sugared cranberries or not. I mean I know they are beautiful, but I was literally using like 10 of them to decorate with and I figured go through all the work for just 10 wasn’t worth it, but I added some fun decorating sugar to the top of the cake to give the appearance of the “sugared effect”.
And it added a little bit of sweet flavor as well to every bite. I mean it’s not just a pretty decoration, its a fun kick of sweetness as well. Slice into this bad boy and you have yourself layers and layers of holiday goodness with each and every bite! This is the perfect cake to have at your holiday dessert table!
Cranberry Orange Layer Cake
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 large egg whites
- White decorators sugar
- 2 cup cranberries fresh or frozen I used fresh
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp water
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 cup shortening
- 1-3 tsp orange extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6-7 cup powdered sugar
- Zest of 1 orange more for decorating
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Line 3 8" round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
- In large bowl whisk together your cake mix, flour, sugar and salt.
- Add in your water, vegetable oil, extracts, sour cream and egg whites and beat with mixer until combined.
- Divide evenly between your three pans.
- Place in oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched and toothpick comes out clean.
- Once baked, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile make your filling, add your cranberries, sugar, water and vanilla to a medium saucepan and bring to simmer and let simmer for about 7-10 minutes until cranberries burst and soften. Mash with spatula while it is heating.
- Once cranberries are mashed and softened in small container mix together your cornstarch and water and pour into cranberries mixture and heat for about 1 minute to thicken.
- Remove from heat and cool completely.
- To make you frosting in large bowl beat together your butter and shortening until smooth.
- Add in your powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- Add in your vanilla extract and orange extract 1 tsp at a time tasting for your desired flavor, I wanted mine really orange flavored so I used upwards of 3 tsp of the orange extract.
- Fold in your orange zest.
- Add about 1 - 1 1/2 cup of your frosting to a piping bag, cup tip off and set aside.
- To assemble cake place one layer of your cake on a cake stand or turn table and pipe a rim around the top of the cake and fill with half of your cranberry mixture.
- Place another cake layer on top of that and repeat.
- Top with last layer of cake and start frosting the outside until just covered, scraping off any extra frosting.
- Place in refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes to chill.
- Once chilled remove from refrigerator and continue frosting until cake is covered, reserving about 1 1/2 cup of frosting to decorate top.
- In another pastry bag fitted with an open star tip fill with remaining frosting.
- Pipe swirls around the top of your cake.
- Place a cranberry on each swirl and sprinkle with some orange zest.
- Sprinkle center or cake with decorators sugar if desired.