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Cranberry gingerbread cake on Christmas Eve
Some Kinda Good
cranberry gingerbread cake

Festive desserts during the holidays are a lot of fun, but many of them can take hours in the kitchen, and who has time for that? My cranberry gingerbread cake is filled with warm spices and pillowy whipped cream. It starts with a boxed cake mix and makes a fabulous presentation. All you need is a little decorating know-how and that’s where I can help.

Topped with fresh, sweetened whipped cream and garnished with “snow-capped” rosemary trees, I love to serve this cake as the grand finale to our family dinner on Christmas Eve. I bake the cake before our Christmas Eve church service and allow it to cool while we’re away. I use one 9-inch cake pan, so there are no layers or fuss. The cake rises to the top making for pretty, deep slices. All that’s left to do upon returning home is to whip up the cream and add the garnishes. After eating a heavy Christmas Eve dinner, this recipe is light and fluffy, and a welcome, fun finish to an exciting evening. Serve it with steaming cups of hot coffee or hot chocolate. 

Moist and packed with gingerbread flavor, make this dessert for a show stopping holiday treat — and remember to leave some for Santa! For more holiday recipes, visit or check out my bestselling memoir, Some Kinda Good, wherever books are sold. 

Some Kinda Good Cranberry Gingerbread Cake


• 1 box gingerbread cake mix,

such as Betty Crocker

• 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract

• 1 1/4 cups whole milk

• 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the topping:

• 1 cup heavy whipping cream

• 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, 

plus more for dusting trees

• 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

• 3 stems of fresh rosemary

• Fresh cranberries for decorating


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9-inch round cake pan. Combine cake mix, vanilla, milk and egg until well incorporated. Pour the cake mix into the pan and drop on the counter to expel any air bubbles. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before topping.

Meanwhile, whip cold cream until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla until combined. Rinse rosemary, and while wet, dust with confectioner’s sugar, shaking away any excess. Top cake with whipped cream, spreading just until the top is covered. Decorate with cranberries around the border and in the center, and top with “snow-capped” rosemary trees.