Cakes, Tarts

Lemon Cake with Cranberries and Lemon Icing

Cranberries are native North American fruit with relatives growing wild in the bogs and marshes of Northern Europe. When the Pilgrims arrived in America, they were instructed in an extensive use of the cranberry by the Native Americans. The Indians ate cranberries raw and cooked and pounded them into pemmican with meat and fat for use during the winter. The mashed fruit was used on wounds to draw out poisons and infections, and the berries were used for dye in making rugs and blankets. We assume that the North American Indians brought cranberries to the first Thanksgiving dinner since the fruit would have been plentiful at that time. Among the Delaware tribe in New Jersey, the berries were known as the symbol of peace, and Chief Pakimintzen, who distributed cranberries often at tribal peace feasts, came to be known as “Cranberry Eater.”

I can’t imagine winter holidays without cranberry dish on a table!

Lemon cake with cranberries and lemon icing

Lemon Cake with Cranberries and Lemon Icing

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  • For the cake:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (for the cake and decoration)
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • red food coloring (optional)



Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 1-lb. loaf pan.


In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set this aside as well.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until fully incorporated.


Reduce mixer speed and alternatively beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of sour cream mixture, and repeat, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat until blended and smooth, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in one cup of cranberries (save some for serving).


Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 55-60 minutes, until top springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer the pan to a wire rack. Cool completely before icing.


For the glaze, whisk together lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar until there are no lumps. If you like you can add red coloring or cranberry juice. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Lemon cake with cranberries and lemon icing

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  • Reply
    October 13, 2012 at 12:09 am

    What a great recipe for Christmas! Looks wonderful and I can really smell Christmas 🙂 I must try it!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Christmas is coming, Medejia, and it's better to be ready-))

  • Reply
    October 14, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Looking at your photos I can actually smell the fur and all New Year's celebrations come to my mind (you know what I mean) 🙂

  • Reply
    Wendy Wainwright
    October 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! And I love cranberry bread so I can't wait to try this recipe…if I can find cranberries. We are living overseas at the moment and some ingredients are hard to come by!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Wow, I didn't know any of that about cranberries. I absolutely always have whole cranberries in my cupboard or freezer. I adore them. In fact, I just posted a recipe for Cranberry-Orange Chutney today.

    This cake will be my go to recipe for all of my holiday gatherings. love.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2012 at 6:37 am


  • Reply
    Ronja Oksanen
    October 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    What a great festive cake!

  • Reply
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    October 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I really enjoy looking at your detail work Yelena! Even the scurf hanging in the back to compliment the red color is generous. I never thought of "hanging" props you know. I love lemon cake with lemon icing, probably my most favorite pound cake. You added cranberries to make it 100 times better. Love this post!

  • Reply
    Carol | a cup of mascarpone
    October 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Love the lemon and cranberry flavors in this beautiful Christmas cake, with the glaze, the perfect finish!!!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    In the instructions you mention to combine sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest but there's not an amount of lemon juice listed in the ingredients list for the cake (just the icing). How much would I need? Looking forward to making this!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you Sabrina, I tbsp of lemon juice would be good for cake, if you like really lemony flavor then put more. I hope you will like your cake, let me know-))

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Very pretty! Please share what the cranberries are on top–just fresh and raw or what????

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Shelly, the cranberries fresh with a little confectioner's sugar on top. Why not-))

  • Reply
    November 19, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Love your photos and food styling. Gorgeous. You have a great blog too, it's always fun to stop by!

  • Reply
    Shibi Thomas
    November 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    The cake looks so inviting. Loved the color combination in the cake and also very nice clicks!!!

    Do visit FlavzCorner

  • Reply
    December 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    It's an incredibly good thing I had all the ingredients on hand, otherwise I'd be taking a fork to the monitor. Oh, so yum!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I made this during the holidays for a brunch. The adults enjoyed it but it was too tart for the little kids. Very easy to make and it turned out very moist.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2013 at 1:19 am

    I made this last year at Christmas and am making it again tomorrow with my remaining Thanksgiving berries. Thanks so much for the delicious recipe!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Where did you get your beautiful teapot from?!

    • Reply
      Yelena Strokin
      December 5, 2020 at 9:50 pm

      Its from Russia,St. Petersburg, its a very famous bone china LFS, I have a whole tea set.

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