Cranberries, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon add a special holiday flair to a simple white cake mix. Your family and friends will love the rich taste and moistness of this Holiday Cranberry Pecan Cake and you will love how easy it is to make. Plus, you have the choice of a traditional cream cheese icing or an orange-flavored glaze.
For the Cake:
1 package white cake mix (regular size)
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, room temperature
Zest from 1 large orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, (thawed and drained thoroughly if frozen) and
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour or spray with a non-vegetable baking spray with flour a bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, orange zest and spices. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Pour into prepared pan (s).
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack. Ice cake or poke holes with a toothpick while still warm and pour a glaze over cake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with red and/or green maraschino cherries. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes approximately 12 servings
For the Icing:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
3 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract, orange juice or orange liqueur (Gran Marnier or Cointreau)
½ teaspoon grated orange peel
½ to 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed and drained thoroughly if frozen) and
coarsely chopped, optional
¼ cup finely chopped toasted pecans, for garnishing
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, orange flavoring and orange peel. Mix well with a spatula until powdered sugar is blended in; then, using a mixer, beat until blended. If using, stir in cranberries. Note: Make sure they are drained really well. Spread icing over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and garnish with maraschino cherries, if using. .
For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for garnishing
1-2 Tablespoons orange juice, orange extract or orange-flavored liqueur (Gran Marnier or Cointreau)
1 teaspoon orange zest, optional
Warm water, a tablespoon at a time, (I usually use about 4 tablespoons)
Red and/or green maraschino cherries, optional
Mix powdered sugar, orange juice, orange extract or orange-flavored liqueur and orange zest, if using, together in small bowl. Add warm water, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a glaze that is not runny, but not thick either. While cake is warm, poke cake with a small toothpick. Brush or pour glaze over cake. If you think you have added too much water to the glaze, stir in a little powdered sugar until you have the desired consistency. Just before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar on top and garnish with maraschino cherries, if using.