White Cake With Cranberry Filling And Orange Buttercream


This simple white cake is brightened up with a cranberry filling and an orange-scented buttercream.

White Cake With Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream
Photo: Courtney West
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
11 hrs

Looking for the perfect layer cake this holiday season? This simple white cake is anything but basic. A cranberry filling complements orange zest in the cake layers and orange juice in the buttercream.

Add the cranberry filling to the top of the cake and you don't even have to decorate it. A Christmas cake doesn't have to be fancy, but it should be tasty.



  • 1 (12-oz.) jar cherry preserves

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice

  • 3 ½ cups fresh cranberries (frozen cranberries, thawed, may be substituted)

White Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 tablespoon loosely packed orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

  • 1 cup milk

  • 8 large egg whites

  • Shortening


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

  • 1 (32-oz.) package powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)


  1. Prepare Filling: Bring first 3 ingredients and 3 cups cranberries to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop. Transfer 1 cup cranberry mixture to a small bowl, and stir in remaining ½ cup whole cranberries. (This will be the Cranberry Topping.) Transfer remaining hot Cranberry Filling mixture to another small bowl. Cool both mixtures completely (1 hour). Cover; chill 8 hours.

  2. Prepare White Cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add orange zest and vanilla; beat until blended. Combine flour and next 2 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir about one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites in 2 batches. Spoon into 3 greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

  3. Prepare Buttercream: Beat butter and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with orange juice. Beat at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Stir in vanilla. If desired, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. at a time, beating until frosting reaches desired consistency.

  4. Assemble Cake: Place 1 Basic White Cake layer on a serving platter. Spoon 1 ½ cups buttercream into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe a ring of frosting around cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread cake layer with half of chilled Cranberry Filling (without whole berries), spreading to edge of piped frosting. Top with second cake layer. Repeat procedure with frosting and remaining Cranberry Filling (without whole berries). Top with third layer. Spread remaining buttercream over top and sides of cake. Pipe a ring of frosting around top cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread Cranberry Topping (with whole berries) over top cake layer, spreading to edge of piped frosting.


Cake layers may be baked in 3 (8-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans. Increase bake time to 26 to 30 minutes.

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