It’s the time of year when cranberries start popping up everywhere. Their vibrant color and tangy flavor certainly make them a favorite for holiday baking. I knew I wanted to add a cranberry/orange dessert to the blog this season, but couldn’t decide between cake or muffins…. so I didn’t decide! Here’s my recipe for Orange Cranberry Cake or Muffins.
(This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission from sales but your price remains the same.)

Orange Cranberry Cake and Muffins surrounded by cranberries and holiday greenery

What’s in My Orange Cranberry Cake 0r Muffins?

All the usual good stuff that cakes and muffins include: flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, sugar etc…but this recipe is also bursting with bright pink, flavorful cranberries and fresh, frangrant orange zest! 

Orange Cranberry Cake and Muffins on parchment paper


How About That Glaze?

I leave the muffins as is but top the cake with blanched sliced almonds before drizzling a simple glaze made from orange juice, powdered sugar and orange zest. 

Orange Cranberry Cake and Muffins on white parchment with cranberries


I use a microplane to zest citrus, scraping just until the white is exposed and then moving onto a new area. There is nothing like the fresh scent of freshly grated citrus, and it adds so much flavor to baked goods.

An orange and a microplane on a wooden cutting board


If you are fine eating gluten, have at it! But if you are one of my gluten free followers, I have two wonderful suggestions to make this cake gluten free but just as good: King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour is fabulous and found in most grocery stores. Jovial Gluten Free Pastry Flour is also wonderful and the grains in this flour are soaked for easy digestion!

Orange Cranberry Cake or Muffins on a marble surface

Need More Holiday Recipes?

Check out my post “Everything you Need for a Holiday Feast”

The Recipe: Orange Cranberry Muffins

What you need: a muffin pan or 8-9″ cake pan. I use a microplane to zest citrus.

Orange Cranberry Cake or Muffins
Prep Time
12 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
37 mins

Orange and cranberry make the perfect combo for the holidays! Choose to make a single 8-9" cake or 12 muffins.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: #layer cake, muffins, orange cranberry cake
Servings: 12 servings
For Cake or Muffins:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup room temp butter, plus more for wiping pans
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of two oranges
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract (I love paste!)
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 3/4 cup milk (or almond milk)
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 1/4 cup blanched sliced almonds (for cake only)
For Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2-3 tablespoons orange juice
For Cake or Muffins: preheat oven to 350 degrees, place oven rack in center position. Use a paper towel to wipe pans on the side and bottom with butter.
  1. Place flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, whisk, set aside.

  2. In a mixing bowl blend butter and sugar until well combined. Add, orange zest, vanilla, and eggs, blend well. Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients until well combined and batter is smooth

  3. Fold cranberries in by hand. Pour into prepared cake pan or muffin tin. If making the cake, sprinkle batter with almonds.

    Bake muffins for 23-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool, then glaze!

For glaze:
  1. Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Add zest and then add orange juice 1 tablespoon at a time until glaze is just barely pourable. Don't make it too runny or it will all run off the muffins. You want it to be the consistency of honey . Spoon over cooled cake or muffins.


We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated! 

View The Organic Kitchen’s Privacy Policy.