Cranberry & Orange Buttermilk Breakfast Cake
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This cranberry and orange buttermilk breakfast cake is a great one to add to your holiday baking repertoire. It takes 10 minutes to prepare, and the batter can be stashed in the fridge and baked in the morning. What’s more, it serves 8 to 10 people (or even more if doubled), so it’s great for holiday entertaining.
In an effort to figure out what to bake on Christmas morning, I turned to an old standby, buttermilk blueberry breakfast cake, and swapped cranberries for the blueberries, orange zest for the lemon, and increased the sugar a teensy bit. It worked beautifully!
Not too sweet, festively studded with cranberries, this cake is a wonderful Christmas morning treat. Best of all, you can prepare the batter the night before and bake the cake in the morning. If you’re not a cranberry fan, you can use frozen blueberries, which work beautifully here, too.
5 Favorite Make-Ahead Cakes
Store batter in a tupperware overnight, then transfer to prepared pan in the morning:Print
Cranberry & Orange Buttermilk Breakfast Cake
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Yield: 8 to 10
Notes: This recipe is essentially the Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake recipe but with cranberries swapped for the blueberries.
I’ve increased the sugar to 1 cup (from 7/8 cup) b/c cranberries are a bit tart and substituted orange zest for the lemon zest. If you don’t like cranberries, many people have had luck with frozen blueberries. Also, this batter can be prepared the night before.
Don’t store it in the pan you plan on baking it in — store it in tupperware of some sort, then transfer to a greased pan in the morning.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- the zest from 1 orange zest
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups (256 g) flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- ½ cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with orange zest and 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the cranberries with 2 tablespoons of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the cranberries.
- Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes, then check for doneness by touching the top gently or by inserting a toothpick. If necessary, return pan to oven, check every five minutes or so — it took my cake a little bit over 45 minutes to cook. (Note: Baking for as long as 50 minutes might be necessary, especially if you made the batter in advance.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Cake
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: breakfast, cake, buttermilk, cranberry, orange, brunch, holidays
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
340 Comments on “Cranberry & Orange Buttermilk Breakfast Cake”
I just wonder if there is no loss in the baking powder action after storing it overnight (for the breakfast cake). I finally made your Orzo Gratin for my family who arrived in Colorado to ski. They loved it! When I read the recipe I almost got ouzo mixed up with orzo in the directions. Once I got that straight in my mind, it was great.
I love yours blog. And especially your overnight focaccia.
Thank you, Nancy! So nice to read all of this 🙂 🙂 :). Regarding the cake, batters made with baking powder are safe to store overnight, so this one will work just fine. It’s batters made with baking soda, which more quickly loses its “oomph”, that you shouldn’t store overnight.
Excellent recipe! The cake has a tender crumb and is lovely and moist. Next time I‘ll toss the cranberries in 1 Tbsp sugar just to punch up the sweetness of the berries a bit. I used whole frozen cranberries, so the baking time was 55 minutes. My family loved the cake—we’ll definitely be making it again. Thank you for posting the recipe!
So nice to hear this, Bethann! Thanks so much for writing and sharing. Love the idea of coating the cranberries in sugar.
This recipe has become a holiday tradition in our house, and I’m so thankful for this and all your other wonderful recipes. You’re always my go to place for inspiration. ❤️
So wonderful to hear this, Allie! Thank you for your kind words. Means so much. Wishing you a happy happy New Year!
I made the Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Breakfast Cake last night and it is delicious! I put the fresh cranberries through the cuisinart, mixed in a Tablespoon of sugar and flour with the berries before adding to the batter at the end. Soooo much yummy flavor! I did use only 1/2 tsp salt instead of 1 tsp. I also added 1/2 tsp. baking soda recommended by comments from a couple patrons in their reviews. This is a keeper!! Thank you for the free recipe.
So great to read all of this, Deborah! Love the sound of all of your tweaks. Thanks so much for writing and sharing. Happy Baking and Happy New Year!
Would dried cranberries work if I soak them?
Hi Karen, I think you can use dried cranberries, but I would cut back the amount maybe — maybe just use 1 cup. The flavor will be different because the fresh cranberries lend a tartness, but dried cranberries are on the sweet side. Worth a shot!
Absolutely delicious – as are all of your recipes! Made this as written for xmas and everyone raved about it. I’ve also made the blueberry cake – equally amazing.
So nice to hear this, Anne! Thanks so much for writing. Happy holidays to you and your family!
I love trying new recipes and usually I’m disappointed. The cranberry orange coffee cake is definitely a keeper! I used an 8×8 glass pan and baked it longer. Top was firm and golden and pick came out clean. However, next time I looked, it was sunken in the middle. I put it back in the oven for at least ten more minutes. To my surprise it still was amazing 😊
Great to hear, Cathy! Thanks so much for writing. So glad it baked up OK in the end.
This cake is brilliant! Easy to make and absolutely delicious. My batter was super stiff, so I added 2T fresh orange juice and it turned out beautifully. It baked up perfectly—thanks for the tips on timing. I’m new to your blog, but after this recipe, I’m hooked.
Wonderful to hear this, Laresa! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. Hope you find some other recipes you love as well 💕
Loved this recipe! Came together quickly and baked up beautifully. Definitely a recipe I’ll be keeping in my breakfast arsenal. Thanks Ali!
Great to hear, Mallory! Thanks so much for writing!
Made this today exactly as written, except I used an 8” square pan. I baked it for 35 minutes but feel I could have pulled it at 25-27 minutes. I decorated the top with an orange glaze drizzle, sugared cranberries and thin orange zest strips. It looks very festive and tastes amazing! Wish I could post a picture. It’s not too sweet, which I like, and the cake has a fine, tender, moist crumb. I will definitely make it again. YUM!
So nice to hear this, Donna! Your glaze + sugared cranberries sound stunning. Bravo!
Excellent!! I made a gluten free version of this cake this morning and it is utterly delicious!
Great to hear, Ann! Thanks for writing 🙂
This recipe has been a staple from Thanksgiving through Christmas in our house for many years now. I’ve taken to family gatherings, friend gatherings, small group, MOPS group, delivered with meal trains. Always a crowd favorite as I’m always asked for the recipe. Just wanted to drop a long-overdue note thanking you for sharing. My kids love this cake and will surely take it with them once they’re grown.
So nice to read all of this, Jackie 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing and sharing all of this. Happy Thanksgiving!
This cake is very yummy. I changed a few things due to not having on hand and due to personal preference. I substituted the butter for a 1/3 cup coconut oil and 1/4 C. applesauce. I didn’t have oranges or buttermilk so added a 1/2 C. orange juice in place of the buttermilk and a 1/4 C. Greek yogurt. It baked for 53 minutes and I topped it with powder sugar orange juice frosting drizzle since my cranberries were very tart. This yielded a lighter cake that wasn’t dense, but very moist. My husband liked it a lot.
We LOVE the blueberry version of this. So, I have frozen cranberries. I use those often but typically use them frozen and pulsed in my mini food processor. Frozen whole Cranberries thaw pretty fast. Would you let them thaw or use them frozen? I’m not sure since I’m putting them in a batter.
I would use them frozen! Go for it 🙂
Oh my gosh, just made 1/2 recipe because I had left over cranberries from Thanksgiving and wanted to know if this was good enough to make Christmas morning. It is absolutely the best breakfast/coffee cake type recipe ever! Making the batter Christmas Eve is just an added bonus to this perfect recipe. Thank you so much!!!
Yay! Great to hear, Janice 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing!
If you double the recipe can you use a 9×13 or do you have to use 2 9×9’s
A 9×13 should be just fine!
Can this recipe be baked in loaf pans?
Yes. Just be sure to not fill it higher than 3/4 full.
Hi I am looking for a recipe to use my leftover whole cranberry sauce- do you think I could use that in place of the whole cranberries in this recipe and less sugar? I LOVE your Buttermilk Blueberry breakfast cake- its a fan favorite with my family
Hi Claudia! I love this idea. I think the effect will be different — it will probably be more like a cranberry swirl bread, but I think it will still be delicious. I think cutting the sugar back is a good idea. Maybe use 3/4 cup sugar or even 1/2 cup sugar?
Loved this recipe! Made it at Thanksgiving and will be making it Christmas morning!
Great to hear, Melissa! Thanks for writing. Merry Christmas!
This is a 5 star recipe! Made for Christmas morning and family loved it!
I ground up cranberries, added 2 TBSP sugar with them. I didn’t have an orange so used orange peel.
I made the night before and it took about 45 minutes to cook. I also added an orange glaze.
It was delicious! Definitely added to my recipe collection!
Great to read all of this! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes 🙂
Have you ever frozen this cake? I would like to make it and then freeze most of it for later.
Yes! It freezes beautifully. Go for it.
Made this for Christmas breakfast. OMGosh..it was sooooooo good!!!
Yay! Great to hear, Janine 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing.
Could I use oat flour? Would the amount be the same.
Hi Jane! If you’re looking to make this gluten-free, I would use a gluten free 1:1 mix. Using oat flour alone will make for a very dense cake.
I had planned on making this for our Sunday school class and someone (likely my husband) disposed of my cranberries without my knowledge! So, I substituted frozen mixed berries. I also made it a double batch in a 9 x 14 pan. The cook time increased to about 60 min, but it was amazing!
Thanks so much for this new recipe! Cake for breakfast is something we all look forward to!
So great to hear this, Rachel! Thanks so much for writing. It’s wonderful to know that frozen berries work well here, and mixed berries sound delicious.
This was absolutely delicious! I made a double batch and added baking soda and fresh orange juice from one of the oranges. We devoured it and my kids asked to even take it for lunch the next day.
Do you think this would freeze well? Bake it, let it cool and then cut and freeze?
Great to hear, Patty! And yes, it freezes beautifully 🙂