Its that time of the year again, so I thought I would repost my favorite holiday cake recipe for you. This cake is super moist because of the yogurt, and super cute because of the sage and cranberries, which is actually a really easy and achievable for anyone cake decoration.:)
Did everyone have a good thanksgiving?! This is such a fun time of year because the holidays really seem to bring people together and thanksgiving is great at kicking the festivities off! I’m sure everyone is overly stuffed from last night’s feast and just barely ready to dive into leftovers, but we’re already thinking about December and all the fun that comes with it! So today we have a not so little dessert that’s perfect for any upcoming get togethers or celebrations. Plus the cake itself is huge and really great for a crowd.
Anyway, back to cake!! I finished this beauty with fresh sage leaves and fresh cranberries, normally I’m not into garnishes that you can’t/shouldn’t eat, but the combination just seemed so seasonally appropriate that I couldn’t resist. We hope this cake serves as some good old holiday food inspiration! Enjoy!!
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Apple Cranberry Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups superfine sugar
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces plain yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 small apple peeled, cored and diced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
brown sugar buttercream
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- fresh sage leaves
- fresh cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl.
- Place sugar, butter, honey, and eggs into another mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and whisk together until very thick and combined.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the apple and cranberries, until fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.
- Gently fold in the apple and cranberries until evenly distributed.
- Pour the batter into four prepared (8") cake pans (bottoms lined with parchment and lightly greased) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from pans and allowing cakes to cool completely.
- Place butter into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and whip until light and fluffy. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients, scrap down the sides of the bowl, and continue to whip until smooth (the frosting should be on the runny side…not firm enough to pipe, but not so runny that it can’t sit, spread atop a cake).
- Place a thin layer of buttercream over the top of one of the cakes and top with the other cake, inverted (so both cake circle tops are touching one another). Repeat with remaining cake layers, so all four are stacked atop one another.
- Gently frost the four tiered cake with a thin layer of frosting (the crumb coat). Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Coat the cake in another layer of frosting and smooth the frosting on the top of the cake. Top the cake with a border of fresh sage leaves and cranberries to look like a wreath. Slice and serve.
- *Makes 1 (8”) cake
Did you make this recipe? We want to see!
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It’s so hard to find special cakes that can be easily modified for my dairy-allergic son, but this one looks like a winner! I’m planning on making it for Christmas. Do you recommend a tangy or sweet apple variety? Thank you.
For this recipe, I recommend a sweeter apple. Hope the dairy-free version works out for you!
Looks amazing! I’m confused about the size of cake pans. Does the recipe make enough batter for four 9” inch pans? So each layer is a 9 inch layer!?
Hi! It should actually be an 8″ cake!…and yes the batter makes enough for 4 (8″) layers!
Anyone tried freezing this with the fresh cranberries on top? What happens to them when it thaws? do they bleed every where?
Wow, does this cake ever look lovely? I’m definitely not a good cake maker. This cake is definitely delicious and perfect for Christmas… Definitely can see it making an appearance on my table. Thanks for the recipe!
Everyone LOVED this cake for Christmas lunch! I really liked the buttercream and just want to be sure it was supposed to be grainy. I’m guessing that’s from the brown sugar. Is that right?
By the way, I didn’t have sage, so I used Rosemary as a decoration instead. It looked lovely. Check out my insta @mama_mitch for pictures. I will definitely make it again!
So glad you enjoyed this recipe! I love it too, especially the buttercream! And yes the buttercream can be a little grainy with the brown sugar. If you allow the buttercream to sit out for about an hour and then rewhip it, should help it dissolve, for a much smoother texture!
Could you bake this in a 9×13 instead of doing a tiered style? I would like to take to work for a potluck and don’t think through my commute in the morning that a tiered cake will hold up for the drive. Let me know.
Totally! I would just half the recipe (or cut it down by a third), bc the original recipe makes quite a bit, to be able to make 4 layers. :)
This looks amazing and I am hoping to figure a version with less sugar. Any suggestions on where to cut? In total we are looking at 6 cups of sugar here (albeit powdered is some of that)
You can definitely cut some of the sugar from the Buttercream! :) about a cup! The Buttercream will not be quite as stiff, but definitely still spread nicely. If you really wanted, you could also omit 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1/4 cup Butter from the cake better and replace it with 1/2 a cup of unsweetened applesauce :)
It turned out amazing for the family’s arrival on Christmas Eve’s Eve! A unique combination I would never have thought of but was delicious and perfect for the occasion. Personally, I could have cut out 1 cup of powdered sugar for the buttercream icing as it is very sweet, and the batter here gave me 3 cake pans / tiers instead of 4 but it was still gorgeous. Thank you for the idea and inspiration! (Noosa addition perfect)
This cake is gorgeous, and now I’m dying to try the brown sugar buttercream! It sounds incredible!!
Amazing looking and sounding cake! Our sage is kinda sad looking right now but our bay tree is fantastic. I think I’ll sub the bay for the sage — what do you think?
You have single-handily made my Christmas. Between this beautiful cake and your recipe for Standing Rib Roast it’s going to be a feast at our house this year. Thanks.
I can’t get fresh cranberries in time, can I use dried ones?
I would actually recommend frozen cranberries instead!
That looks like the yummiest cake I’ve ever seen I really must try to make this!
June @ How to Philosophize with Cake
What a festive cake! Apple + cranberry is such a good combo. The brown sugar buttercream looks incredible too :)
if i can’t get that honey yogurt near me, would mixing a T of honey into the yogurt work?
Definitely! I would add at least 3 tablespoons though :)
Robin | CaliGirl Cooking
Beautiful! Love the presentation (and I’m sure it tastes spot-on too!)