Cranberry-Pecan Pound Cake with Praline Frosting
This fabulous cream cheese pound cake gets a holiday twist with dried cranberries and pecans and is subtly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, topped with a praline frosting.
Pound cakes are one of my favorite summer desserts – topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream, they’re the perfect vehicle for enjoying summer’s bounty in a dessert. With the exception of the Russian pound cake that my grandma and aunt used to make for Christmas, I have always relegated pound cakes to summer. I decided that needed to change and gave my favorite cream cheese pound cake recipe a Thanksgiving and Christmas-worthy makeover. I added just a bit of cinnamon and ginger to the batter and included cranberries and pecans – totally festive and perfect for any fall or winter special occasion.
I baked this cake on Saturday evening to serve for dessert on Sunday and by the time we were all sitting down with a piece on Sunday afternoon, it had seriously been through the wringer. After I added the praline frosting on Sunday morning, I placed the cake (on a cake pedestal), at the back of our stove so that it was out of reach of prying eyes (ahem, Einstein). There was a flurry of activity near the stove before dinner as everyone came in and warmed up their dishes. It wasn’t until I grabbed the cake to photograph after dinner that I saw it had been splattered with spaghetti sauce! Luckily the praline frosting sets super hard, so I was able to wipe most of it off, but you can still see the red smudges if you look closely enough at the photos ;-) We all had a good laugh and needled my mom, who was the sauce splatterer, but that was NOT the end of the story…
I was getting ready to start doling out slices when I saw something sticking out of the bottom that looked like… metal. Immediately my brain started racing through all of the possibilities… I thought that it might have been a spoon that fell into the batter without me realizing it since I was rushing to get this into the oven before I put Joseph to bed on Saturday night. I pulled at the little metal piece and had no idea what it was, so I pulled and ended up having to pull part of the cake apart and saw that it was… my oven thermometer! I must have bumped it when I put the pan in the oven and it fell into the cake. Oh my gosh, I died laughing as soon as I saw it. Everyone was waiting for more surprises after the spaghetti sauce and thermometer incidents. (In case you’re wondering, the thermometer still works just fine!)
We still ate the cake (OF COURSE) and it was a huge hit – the cream cheese pound cake is amazingly tender, dense and moist. The cranberries are plump and the pecans add just enough crunch. I waffled for quite some time between this praline frosting, a simple powdered glaze, and just a dusting of powdered sugar. I honestly think you could go with any of them and it would be great!
Add this cake to you dessert list for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
(And maybe keep it away from pots of spaghetti sauce and be on the lookout for wayward oven thermometers.)
Two years ago: Cranberry Sorbet
Four years ago: Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyere
Five years ago: Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Six years ago: Cheddar and Chiles Bread
Cranberry-Pecan Pound Cake with Praline Frosting
For the Cake:
- 1 cup (121.21 g) dried cranberries
- 3 cups (375 g) cake flour
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) ground ginger
- 1½ cups (340.5 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt
- ½ cup (49.5 g) chopped pecans
For the Praline Frosting:
- ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (56.75 g) unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- Make the Cake: Place the dried cranberries in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then turn off the heat, cover, and let steep while you prepare the cake.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a standard-size 12-cup Bundt pan.
- Sift the cake flour, cinnamon and ginger into a large bowl; set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until combined and soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar continue to beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl once or twice, until the mixture is very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each one is completely incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until it has all been combined. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Drain the cranberries and pat dry, then fold into the cake batter, along with the chopped pecans.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and gently spread to the edges of the pan in an even layer.
- Bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting and serving.
- Make the Frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, continuing to whisk constantly, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Immediately pour the frosting over the cooled cake; it will set almost instantaneously. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I love this recipe!
Love this recepie!! Did it today!!!
By Far THE BEST CRANBERRY CAKE i have baked for a very long time !!def the recipe is a keeper . i preferred omitting the glaze and it was perfect
I am a 76 year old lady and I make extra money cooking meals for a few people. This counter top oven would be a life saver for me. When I am gone I would give it to my middle daughter who loves to cook.
I made this cake today and it turned out wonderful! Love the flavor ! I used fresh cranberries and put more pecans than the recipe called for. I will make this again soon!
can u pls tell me how to modify the frosting so that is stays soft?
I just made this cake, but used dried cherries b/c I didn’t have the cranberries. Have to say this is now in the top five favorite cakes with Hummingbird cake, Snickerdoodle cake, Apple cider cake, and Coconut. Absolutely delicious! My husband also loved it. It was moist and light for a pound cake. Kudos to you. I didn’t use any frosting; it really doesn’t need anything, it’s that good. Thanks.
I made this cake for our gathering and it is the BEST pound cake I have ever made. It is super easy to put together too! LOVE it!
I made this for my office Thanksgiving potluck today, and it was absolutely delicious. Everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe!
So I watch the British baking competition and they had a similar cake to make and one of the tricks to get the dried ingredients evenly distributed in the cake and now just at the bottom and top is to shake them in flour before adding to the batter. Just wondering if this might be worth wild to try!
OOOH, your cake is great. I would love you to stop by Food on Friday: Cakes over at Carole’s Chatter to add this to the cake collection! Cheers!
That frosting looks amazing!
complimenti,la salvo è da fare subito
LOL – I love the story about the cake! And it looks delish! Cannot wait for my baker husband to try it out – he LOVES cranberries!
Great story! Thanks for fessing up lol
That looks delicious. I think I might cut it in half and make it in a loaf pan. The frosting is what is really making my mouth water (hopefully without the addition of tomato sauce!).
That cake looks mighty good, Michelle, despite all that it has been through :) :) I think that we all have a few stories on kitchen mishaps that we could share. One of mine involves making a refrigerated layered dessert that called for a layer of chocolate pudding (cooked, not instant). I was kind of pressed for time, so I didn’t give the pudding enough time to cool off on the dessert before I added the next layer (a layer of Cool Whip on top), and whenever I took it out of the fridge to serve it, the entire layer of Cool Whip slid off the dessert and on to the kitchen floor — WHAT A MESS!!! Thank goodness I had another thawed container of Cool Whip to replace the missing layer. Anyone else out there who would care to share their stories of kitchen mishaps?
We all have days like that Michelle! The cake still looks great and at least you were still able to enjoy it.
Oh no! Hahaha this sounds like something that would happen to me! Nice to know that even experienced bakers have mishaps :) This cake looks so good! Pinning it!
I still can’t stop laughing!! Once I wipe the tears from my eyes I’ll be able to continue. Well, you can start your own tradition — instead of Mardi Gras King cake with baby Jesus– your bundt cake with an oven thermometer. Give a prize to whomever finds (gets) it. Oh Lordy!! but we had an incident with a band-aid and pigs in the blanket. Yes indeed that is a story to be told on my blog! Love the story — thank you for starting my day with a great big smile — the news lately has not been smile inducing. Im Pinning and sharing.
Lol great story and tasty looking cake! Gotta try making this one soon! :)
do you think fresh cranberries would work?
I have the same question as I just bought a bag of cranberries last week.
Hi Ken, Yes, definitely, if you use fresh you won’t need to soak them.
In my house it would forever more be known as Thermometer Cake. I made your Russian Pound Cake and loved it. Looking forward to trying this but it will have to wait until after Thanksgiving because there is too much to do between now and then. Thank you, as always, for wonderful photos, a great story and a recipe that will no doubt be delicious!
With all the drama, this cake still looks and sure it tastes amazing! Love how hard the frosting on the cake… I can almost taste it x