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Cranberry Layer Cake

I adapted a Bundt cake recipe to create this layer cake. Cranberries, walnuts and homemade frosting make it taste so delicious that you'd never guess it starts with a convenient cake mix. —Sandy Burkett, Galena, Ohio
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package white cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/3 cups water
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of two greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease paper. In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients; beat on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Stir in cranberries and walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared pans.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until blended. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and orange zest until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with walnuts. Refrigerate leftovers.
    Freeze option: Wrap cooled cake layers, then cover securely in foil; freeze. To use, thaw cakes before unwrapping. Assemble as directed.

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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • PenelopeWin
    Mar 16, 2021

    This is one of my favorite cakes. I make it at least twice a year near Christmas. I use a Pilsbury gluten free funfetti cake mix and it turns out great. I have even used this frosting recipe on other cakes. The only trouble is when I want this cake in the summer, cranberries are out of season.

  • Vicky
    Feb 9, 2021

    Wow! What an amazing cake. Hard to believe it starts with cake mix. I used this exact recipe with no changes. The first time, I felt like the cake was too thin for this wonderful icing so used 8” pans next time. Liked the cake to icing ratio much better. Sure glad I put cranberries in my freezer!

  • Debbie
    Dec 29, 2020

    I made this for Christmas! The only thing I did differently was use pecans instead of walnuts. It is delicious and will make this again next Christmas ~

  • Nicole
    Dec 29, 2020

    Fabulous cake! My whole family loved it. I used Duncan Hines white cake mix (15.25 oz size) and it came out great. I followed the recipe exactly and added some extra chopped walnuts to the side of the frosted cake for extra crunch. Delicious!

  • JGa2595176
    Dec 20, 2020

    Nom nom nom! This was a nicer surprise than I hoped for! Sometimes using a cake mix base makes recipe taste overly artificial. Not this recipe! Loved the tart cranberries paired with the orange zest and crunchy nuts. Homemade frosting takes this cake over the top. Will be making again, this time for a crowd- pretty enough for a presentation! I added fresh raspberries on top for even more color.

  • LAURA
    Dec 15, 2020

    Not a review...yet. A question: those of you who have made this cake, what size was your cake mix? Recipe calls for a "regular" size mix. Cake mixes have been reduced in size, will this make a difference? Thanks!

  • Maggie
    Nov 26, 2020

    I just made this for Thanksgiving today, it was fantastic. I was initially worried because it actually didn't rise very high it was more like a layer and a half cake. I was worried it would be dense but it turned out to be delicate and Light, fruity and nutty. And I love the essence of Orange. The icing was wonderful with a hint of oranges well. It was easy to make a big hit and I will definitely make it again. Thank you for the recipe

  • txzookeeper
    Nov 13, 2020

    This is an easy to make recipe that has a nice flavor. I made it as a 9 x 13 and it took about 23 minutes in my oven. It tastes like cranberry nut bread with frosting although it isn't quite as dense as the bread. I would make it again.

  • Elaine
    Nov 12, 2020

    If made in 9 x 13 pan, how long would you bake?

  • Beverly
    Jun 19, 2020

    This recipe looks easy and great. I want to make it, but I have a question. A few years ago, cake mixes were reduced in size. The standard (regular) size used to be 18.25 ounces, but is now 15.25 ounces. Sometimes, this can make a difference in the outcome. Can you tell me which size is used in this recipe.