Spiced Cranberry Naked Cake with Mascarpone buttercream

Cranberry-cake-3If what you are looking for is to surprise this Christmas with a spectacular but easy cake at the same time, you do not have to keep looking, you have already found it. A spicy sponge cake, the festive touch of red cranberries and the sweet buttercream with mascarpone cheese are a perfect match. And all with a super easy decoration and presentation, but at the same time spectacular, don’t you think?

Cranberry-cake-7Here’s my second Christmas recipe proposal for these holidays. And the truth is that, even if it sounds a little proud, I love the presentation of this cake! It’s so pretty, I’m in love with it. God, I could not stop taking photos, I think I made more than 100, you can imagine the work I had to choose the ones I was going to use for the post.

Cranberry-cake-19It is a rather rustic style, which you already know I love, everything that smells of nature and forest makes me crazy, and a little Nordic as well, since the decoration is inspired in a recipe (what else …? of Linda Lomelino’s blog. But at the same time, I find it super Christmas, although you can do it at any other time in the winter. But hey, I propose it for Christmas because for me it is a perfect option to impress, but with very little effort and with little technique to decorate.

Cranberry-cake-25The thing is that naked cakes are your best option if you don’t get along very well with the cakes frosting techniques. And the idea of red cranberries covered with sugar to look snowy gives that special touch, but also with very little effort, you will see how easy it is, in the recipe I explain it.

Cranberry-cake-29What I’m not sure is how easy it is to find fresh cranberries in Spain. I know they sell them dry or confit, which would work perfectly to put in the cake if you do not find them fresh. But for the decoration they must be fresh. But, well, if you do not find them where you live, the same technique can be done with currants, for example, or raspberries, or I don’t know, any red fruit would give the same result.

Cranberry-cake-32Fir branches are not edible, mind this! But they are beautiful to decorate too, so you take a walk in the forest (those who have forest nearby) and steal some twigs. You wash them very well, this is important, and that’s it! Now let’s go for the recipe, which is what you are all waiting for 🙂

Spiced Cranberry Naked Cake with Mascarpone buttercream

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Serves: 12 - 14
Cooking Time: 45 min. + Total: 1h 45 min.


  • 150 g fresh cranberries
  • 200 g of sugar + 100 g extra to coat
  • 200 ml of water
  • CAKE:
  • 430 g flour
  • 250 g white sugar
  • 2 and ½ tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of clove powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 300 g butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g of beetroot syrup (sold in herbalists, if you do not substitute it for brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 ml liquid cream
  • 200 ml milk
  • 300 g fresh cranberries (or candied)
  • 250 g butter at room temperature
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp whipping cream



You can start by preparing the sparkling cranberries. In a saucepan, heat the water with the 200 g of sugar until it dissolves and you get a syrup. No need to cook it. Wash the cranberries and, once the syrup is cold, put them in and reserve in the refrigerator for at least one night.


The next day, mix the cranberries well to be impregnated of the syrup and coat with the remaining sugar. If you want them to have a thicker sugar coating, you can bake it twice.


To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 170ºC and grease 3 round pans of 21 cm diameter.


In a large bowl, sift the flour together with the baking powder and all spices.


In another bowl beat the butter with the sugar until smooth, add the eggs one by one, beating until incorporated. Add the remaining liquid ingredients and beat lightly. Incorporate the flour mixture into several beating additions until it is integrated.


Divide the dough in 3 pans evenly and bake for about 40 minutes, in any case and as always, test the wooden stick in the center to check that it is cooked. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.


To prepare the buttercream, beat the butter with the mascarpone until smooth. Add the icing sugar in several additions and beat for about 2 minutes at medium speed. If the consistency of the buttercream is too compact, add tablespoons of whipping cream until has the texture you want, in any case, do not add more than 4 tablespoons.


To assemble the cake, unmold the cakes and trim the top to make them flat. Put the first layer of cake and cover with cream, about 2 cm height. Lay the middle layer and cover with cream the same way. With the rest of the cream, cover the top with a layer of 1 cm approximately and for the sides use only a little. Remove the remaining cream from the sides with a shovel or spatula, so that you can see the cake a bit to create the "naked" effect. Garnish with sugared cranberries and fir twigs.


The cake, as always you can prepare it the day before, or even more days in advance and freeze it. Same for the sparking cranberries, they can stay for weeks in the fridge!
With the measures of this recipe you get 3 cake layers of a round pan of 21 cm, if you want to make it smaller you can divide the measures in half. The same applies for the cream.

Happy and sweet Christmas,

1948693098513013220916 cupcake-nadal


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  • Reply
    Heather Hawvermale
    December 5, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Do you have the recipe converted to American measurements?

    • Reply
      Raquel Ramos
      December 10, 2021 at 8:37 am

      No, I am sorry. But there are very good converter online.

      • Reply
        Heather Hawvermale
        December 14, 2021 at 11:46 pm

        ok thank you!

        • Reply
          December 24, 2021 at 11:49 pm

          Hello! Just wondering what you mean by liquid cream? Is half n half alright to use? Also, great recipe and photos I’m excited to make this tonight! Beautiful cake!

          • Raquel Ramos
            December 28, 2021 at 10:56 am

            Hi Rachel,

            sorry I could not reply to your comment before. I mean whipping cream or heavy cream. Not sure which will be the best term in English.

    Vuestros comentarios son mi alegría! Dime qué piensas de esta receta!!

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