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The sweetest White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake to celebrate the most wonderful time of year. Four layers of light and fluffy vanilla cake, made moist with the addition of coconut nog and greek yogurt. Each cake has a layer of homemade cranberry jam and white chocolate buttercream. Every bite is delicious with fresh cranberries, hints of coconut, and sweet vanilla cake. The perfect festive cake to celebrate the holidays this season.

side angled photo of White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake with 1 slice cut in cake

The final countdown between now and Christmas is officially on. We’re just one week away from Christmas Eve. The craziness has set in, and as usual, I’m scrambling to check every last item off my to-do list before it’s too late…

It’s going to be tight this year, but thankfully, I have an exciting cake to share with everyone today.

Jumping right into my rambling because I have stories and details to share on this very special Christmas cake.

overhead photo of raw cranberries

Here is the story…

I’ve wanted to make a version of this cake for a couple of years now, but the vision in my head stopped me every single time. Sometimes I can have a picture in my head of a recipe (especially dessert recipes) before I’ve even begun to develop the recipe. I love when this is the case because it helps me to easily write up the recipe to start testing. But with this cake? The picture in my head intimidated me. I knew there was a very good chance I could never recreate the photo in my head and that if I were to attempt the cake, I might end up walking away with disappointment. I put a lot of pressure on myself to give you guys only the best recipes and I just knew this cake could never turn out as cute as the one in my head.

I held off for a good two years, but this year it was a phone call with my mom that convinced me I needed to at least try. Because really, you never know until you try.

Plus, the sound of a sweet cranberry layer cake lightly hinted with coconut sounded so good to both of us. It was time to share this cake already!

So. I tried. And by the end of the day, I may have even shed a few tears. Even though this cake looks nothing like what I envisioned, it’s DELICIOUS. And in the end, that’s all that truly matters.

And you know what? It’s not perfect, but I do indeed LOVE it.

side angled photo of White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake before frosting the outside of the cake

The details.

The vanilla cake is not your standard cake. My secret is to use a mix of coconut nog and Greek yogurt to keep the cake extra moist. If you don’t love coconut nog or simply don’t want to make it, use buttermilk. I will say that the eggnog adds only a nice spiced flavor. I used my homemade coconut nog (which is vegan, so technically not eggnog).

While the cake itself is good, it’s not really the star flavor. Nope, what this cake is really all about is the cranberry jam. It’s made with maple syrup and hinted with orange, cinnamon, and gingers. The flavors of Christmas.

side angled close up photo of White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake with 2 slices cut in cake

It. Is. So. Good!

Once you’ve made the cake, it comes together pretty easily. The trickiest part is slicing the cake layers in half, which I know might sound scary, but you guys can do it.

I decorated simply, with sugared cranberries, coconut, and rosemary.

overhead photo of White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake slices on dessert plates

A few things…

One, don’t stress too much about creating a perfectly even cut. As you can see, my layers are nowhere near perfect, but all turned out OK.

Two, use a long serrated bread knife to cut the cake in half. This helps so much with making an even cut all the way through.

Three, be sure to cool the cake completely before slicing.

Please don’t stress about having to cut the cake layers in half. It’s not as scary as it may seem. Once you layer everything together the cake is going to be beautiful…no matter what. And, if you do have trouble and the cake crumbles a bit, don’t worry, those crumbs make for a delicious snack.

Four, remember that any “mistakes” can all be fixed with frosting…never too much frosting.

side angled photo of White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake slices stand up on dessert plate

Bottom line?

You need to be making this cake. All the holiday cookies are amazing, and we do need them, but a show-stopping cake is always a good idea. Plus, you can never have too many sweets at Christmas time.

Tis the season. Enjoy it, and then…healthy January will follow.

overhead close up photo of White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake slice with fork in cake slice

If you make this white Christmas cranberry layer cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

White Christmas Cranberry Layer Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings: 24
Calories Per Serving: 437 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Cranberry Jam

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract (use your favorite or both)
  • sugared cranberries, shredded coconut, and rosemary, for decorating (optional)


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) beat together the canola oil, yogurt, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggnog (or buttermilk). Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined. 
    3. Pour the batter among the cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling.
    4. To make the jam. Add the cranberries, maple syrup, and orange juice to a medium-size pot set over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, once boiling use a fork to break down the cranberries a bit. Continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the jam has reduced and thickened by 1/3. Stir in the vanilla, ginger, and cinnamon. Remove from the heat and let cool.
    5. To make the buttercream. Add the butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the butter and powdered sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the melted white chocolate and vanilla and beat until combined.
    6. To assemble. Using a large serrated knife, carefully cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1/4 of the buttercream over the cake and layer with about 1/3 cup of jam. Repeat with the remaining 3 cake layers. Be careful not to over fill your layers or the cake will be hard to slice. Lightly frost the outside of the cake. Chill 30 minutes. Serve or store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Before serving, decorate with sugared cranberries, coconut, and rosemary, if desired.

Sugared Cranberries

  • 1. In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups fresh cranberries with 1/2 cup maple syrup. Let sit 10-15 minutes. Strain the cranberries, then add them to a parchment lined baking sheet.
    2. Toss the cranberries with 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar until all the cranberries are coated. Allow the cranberries to dry, in a single layer, for at least one hour.
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  1. 5 stars
    Wow, every recipe I have tried from you has been terrific and this was no exception. The cake was so lovely sitting there on the table before I sliced into it. The cranberry jam was so flavorful, and the cake and frosting were so easy to make. The sugared cranberries on top were a hit as well, and something I had never tried before. Guests went home with leftovers!

    1. Hey Tess,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it. Have the best week! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Okay so first–this is the best cake I have ever made, possibly ever eaten. The layers of flavor are so complex and interesting (as are all of the recipes on HBH, one of the main reasons I love it here) and even though it has a few components to make, it wasn’t particularly difficult or even really all that time consuming. I had some misgivings going into it and along the way, but I trusted Tieghan and didn’t make any of the alterations that I considered and I’m SO GLAD. So for anyone who’s thinking like me, here are some notes:

    1. The cranberries cooked down to, what seemed to me, a very small amount. It was not too small! It was perfect.
    2. I made it in an 8×8 square cake pan because that’s what I had. I think that made the layers easier to cut in half, but harder to frost (stupid corners). My cake was pretty ugly but who even cares. It was so good.
    3. The cake was almost cloyingly sweet so I was afraid to add a frosting that relied on white chocolate, but I trusted the process and it truly wasn’t too sweet. It just had a lovely, buttery, rich flavor and the cranberries really tied it all together.
    4. The frosting was one of my biggest fears since it had 3 sticks of butter and only 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. I didn’t think it would set properly, but it was SO delicious and set beautifully (chilling is probably key here, so definitely don’t skip that step). I’m not the biggest fan of buttercream because I usually find it too sweet, but this was absolutely delicious and fluffy and perfect.
    5. I used dark brown sugar because it was what I had, and the cake was darker than the pictures, but amazing. I would do it again. I also used regular eggnog, and 2tbsp of brandy instead of rum. I would probably omit the brandy next time because I’m not sure that it added anything. There are so many other flavors going on that it felt unnecessary by the end. I also didn’t use any of the coconut ingredients because I don’t like coconut. So I’m here to say that this cake is A+ without coconut but probably only improved by it if that’s your thing.

    All in all, this cake was amazing. The post says that the cake isn’t the star, the jam is, but I might disagree? I don’t think any one component is the star because all the components need each other. Truly, this cake is a perfect harmony. I could go on but this review is already crazy long. Just make the cake. Do it.

    1. Hey Bee,
      Fantastic! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Thanks so much for sharing all of your notes and what worked well for you. Happy New Year!🎆 xxT

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for Christmas and it got rave reviews! The combination of the subtle spice from the eggnog, the creamy buttercream and the tart intensity of the jam was just perfect. Everyone was very impressed -Thank you so much for boosting my reputation with my family 🙂 Do you have any tips for getting such beautiful sugared cranberries & rosemary? Mine looked a little soggier than yours. Overall though, everything was just right. I’m going to make it again this week for a game night!

    1. Hi Mindy,
      I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! The longer you allow the cranberries and rosemary to dry, they better they look:) Happy Holidays! xT

  4. 5 stars
    3rd year in a row I made this for Christmas Day dessert! I tweaked the cranberry jam a little to make it a little less tart and once again it was amazing!

    1. Hi Danielle,
      Thank you so much for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Merry Christmas!🎄🎁 xT

  5. 5 stars
    Second year I’m making this cake because of rave reviews last year. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out great. It’s so beautiful and the flavors together are a perfect combo! Thanks HBH for the recipe! 🙂 Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi Heather,
      Thank you so much for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Merry Christmas!🎄🎁 xT

  6. Hi tiegan,

    Should I omit the bourbon in the coconut nog for this Christmas cake, since the cake recipe also calls for coconut rum? Or the more booze, the better? Lol

  7. Hi!! This is my second time making this cake because I love it so much but I can’t find cranberries anywhere!! What would be the best fruit substitute for the filling?!

    1. Hi Lydia,
      Wonderful! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try! How about cherries? Happy Holidays!🎄🎁 xTieghan

  8. Planning to make this for Christmas Day. I made the cranberry jam and attempted to make the nog today. Jam turned out beautifully, but the nog will not blend- it is separating into liquid and fat. I tried using my immersion blender first, not wanting to haul out the clunky ninja, but after it failed to blend after awhile, I did haul it out. Still no luck with the Ninja even after a few minutes.
    If I still use this nog for the cake, you think it’ll turn out ok still as long as I try to get enough liquid and fat?

    1. Hi Katie,
      So sorry to hear this! It should be okay to use, or you could just use some store bought egg nog. Please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

      1. Hi Tieghan,

        Thank you for the link. I’m in Mexico and unfortunately the cocktail recipes are not on their website. Is there another way to find the recipe?
        Thanks! Cynde

        1. Hi Cynde,
          They are in the link I sent you:) If not, I would just use store bought egg nog. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious cake, not too heavy. It was beautiful as well! Half baked harvest is my first stop for recipe inspiration.

    1. Hi Apryle,
      Thank you so very much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Happy Holidays!🎄🎁

  10. I made this cake for my birthday and it was exceptional! I omitted the rum.. but I did use the eggnog in place of milk. The flavor of the cake was delicious! The cranberries I felt were a tiny bit overpowering, so if you’re planning to make it don’t go over 1/3 cup cranberry per layer. I did feel like I could have used more powder sugar in the frosting? and I wish I would have had just 1/4 cup more of it.

    1. Hi Margaret,
      Awesome! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it. You can definitely add more powdered sugar if needed. Happy Holidays!❄️ xT

  11. Hi Tieghan!

    How far in advance can I prepare the nog for the cake? I’d love to make it this weekend for Xmas eve, but not sure if it will last in the fridge that long?

    1. Hi Rachel,
      So sorry, I am not sure what you are asking to prepare in advance? Please let me know how I can help! xTieghan

        1. If you are following the recipe from Anthropologie, you can make a few days in advance and just keep in the fridge:) I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

          1. Hi Hannah,
            Yes, that should be just fine to do! I hope you love this recipe and happy holidays! xTieghan

        1. Hi Hannah,
          I would not recommend using and immersion blending for the buttercream. I would do a handheld mixer. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try! xTieghan

  12. Hi Tieghan. Would it be okay if I substituted canola oil with olive oil? Or do you have another suggestion- I just try to stay away from the seed oils…

    1. Hey Pamela,
      That would be totally fine to do! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan