This Spiced Apple Cider Cake with Frosted Cranberries is a dreamy Fall cake with four layers of spiced apple cider cake and layers of light frosting with sweet and tart sugared cranberries.
This cake though …. I love it. I hardly repeat a recipe and yet, I’ve made this cake twice within two weeks for separate events. It’s been well received for the groups I made it for, including people asking for the recipe (here you are for those of you that asked). 🙂 Seasonally fitting with warm festive spices to brighten apple cider and topped with pretty frosted cranberries. The recipe is stone cold easy as well. Which is great as I sometimes I deter from making cake as it seems like way too many steps and I generally don’t have the time.
The cranberries are a bit of process with regards to time. They need time to dry out at two different points. This works for me currently as I only have short pockets of time between nursing baby 3 and chasing twin toddlers. The icing is pretty quick, again you some time to let the base cool, but it’s not a ton. And, I really liked the process for this icing where you create a base then beat it with butter, no whipping cream, no eggs, just butter and a sugar base.
You’ll want to keep an eye on the cake while it’s cooking. The directions state that “bake cake layers until they begin to pull away from sides of pan” – the cake and the pan will have a space between them. I also was alarmed originally by how slim the cake layers were, this isn’t a batter that rises. Be sure to knock the pan with batter in them a few time on the counter before baking to avoid any large air pockets.
Serves One 2 layer 8" cake or One 3 layer 6" cake
Spiced Apple Cider Cake with Frosted Cranberries for the win every Fall and Winter.
20 minPrep Time
45 minCook Time
1 hr, 5 Total Time
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened in microwave, plus additional for greasing pans
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting cake pans
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used ground, but you can also use fresh, grated)
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 2/3 cup apple cider (juice, not filtered)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp tsp salt
- 3/4 cup apple cider (juice, not filtered)
- 2 1/2 sticks (1.5 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 package (approx. 200 grams) fresh cranberries (frozen won't work)
- 3/4 cup berry (fine) or regular sugar
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter 2 (8"x2") round cake pans. Dust with flour, knocking out excess.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice in a medium bowl.
- Combine apple cider and lemon juice in a small measuring cup.
- Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, then add brown sugar and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and cider mixture alternating in 3 batches, beginning with flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Divide batter between cake pans and tap on work surface to release air bubbles.
- Bake layers until they begin to pull away from the sides of pans and a cake tester comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
- Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then invert on to cooling racks until cooled completely, at least 1 hour. (I let mine cool and then placed (with parchment paper between layers) in fridge over night before icing.)
- Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a sauce pan. Whisk in cider. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly for about 1 minute. Mixture will become quite thick. Transfer to a metal bowl that is set in a larger bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until cool.
- Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add 1/3 of cooled cider mixture and beat until incorporated. Add remaining cider mixture and beat until well blended and smooth.
- When cakes are cool, arrange 1 layer flat side up and spread with 3/4 cup buttercream. Top with second layer and frost top and sides with remaining buttercream. Chill 2 hours before serving to allow buttercream to set.
- * cake will keep chilled nicely for 1-2 days.
- Place sugar and water in pot and heat until simmering (not boiling) and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place cranberries in pan and submerge. Make sure cranberries are well coated.
- Using a slotted spoon transfer coated to cranberries to a wire rack to dry for an hour, but not longer than a couple of hours (they'll become too dry to be coated in the sugar) OR roll in a piece of paper towel.
- Place cranberries in small batches into the granulated sugar in a shallow pan or bowl and roll cranberries through sugar to coat.