Cranberry Cointreau Christmas Cake

Makes 16 servings

Cranberry Cointreau Christmas Cake, image and recipe by Michelle McGrath

2 ½ c. all-purpose unbleached flour, plus more for flouring the pan

¾ c. freshly squeezed orange juice and 2 ½ T. orange zest (from two fresh oranges, pith discarded)

2 T. Cointreau or orange liqueur

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 c. fresh cranberries

2 c. granulated sugar

1 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

½ t. baking soda

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature

Nonstick cooking spray

Confectioner’s sugar and sweetened dried cranberries, for garnish


3 c. powdered sugar

1 t. cranberry juice (optional)

1-2 T. half and half or cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour a Bundt pan or fluted cake pan. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the orange zest and juice, Cointreau and eggs and whisk until smooth, set aside. In a small bowl, toss the fresh cranberries with 1 T. of the flour and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.  Combine the granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and remaining flour and in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Add the dry mixture to the butter in cup-size additions, mixing until a pea-sized texture. Turn the speed to medium and slowly stream in the egg/orange mixture until combined. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gently fold in the fresh cranberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out until level. 

Bake on the center rack in the oven for about 55-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a baking rack and allow to cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes, then loosen the cake from the pan with a butter knife or small spatula, taking care not to break the crust, and invert onto a serving platter or cake plate. 

Once fully cooled to room temperature, combine the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl, and whisk vigorously to remove any lumps, adding additional cream as necessary to achieve a creamy but thick consistency.  Using a small sifter, garnish the cake with powdered sugar.  Top with drizzled glaze and dot with sweetened dried cranberries.  Cake keeps fresh for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container or tin.

This recipe series was made possible through the support of Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, the member-operated trade association for the Massachusetts cranberry industry. one of the oldest farmer organizations in the country.

Recipe series Developer/Writer/Photographer Michelle McGrath is the founder of McGrath PR | Media Relations, providing visibility to the arts and culture sector, non-profits, agricultural and small business industries.