Oxmoor House

Spice up—or sweeten, rather—your holiday cranberry style with these delectable desserts. 

Southern Living Editors

It’s no secret we Southerners like our cakes. Just about every occasion you can think of (and probably a few you can’t) warrants the busting-out of the Bundt, layer, sheet, or loaf pans. In the fall and winter, baking takes center stage as temperatures cool and holiday obligations heat up. Cranberries: bright, tart, and beautiful, are a classic ingredient in the holiday pantry. Besides relish at Thanksgiving, cranberries are a no-brainer for beautiful cakes. Now, you know we love a white cake, but the filling on this cranberry Christmas cake took it to another level. Orange is a classic accompaniment to cranberry, so we love the idea of an orange-cranberry Bundt cakethese petite ones are a little lighter and get topped with a beautiful glaze. And who can resist the lure of a gloriously messy cranberry upside down cake? We can’t.

Many baked goods will call for dried cranberries. But many cake recipes will invite you to use the fresh variety. So we’ve collected a few tips for cooking and baking cakes with fresh cranberries.

1. First, you’ll want to choose deep, plump berries—much like when you’re choosing cherries. When faced with very large berries, you’ll want to cut them in half or into quarters and if you need to chop your cranberries, avoid a messy, stained cutting board by chopping them in a food processor.

2. Always wash your cranberries well, and, if you’re using frozen instead of fresh, make sure to thaw them all the way before you use them, and let them drain.

WATCH: Spirited Cranberry Sauce

3. Most importantly for cakes, if you are using your cranberries whole, coat them in flour so that they will not sink to the bottom of the batter (though that might end up in a delicious upside down cake?).