Spiced Mascarpone Cranberry Cake

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a simple spiced cake with mascarpone cheese, tart cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange

yield: 1 (8”) cake


  • ½ lb whole cranberries
  • 1 ¼ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick (4oz) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (4oz) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Combine the cranberries, ¼ cup + 2 tbsp of sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to combine. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Let the mixture cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8” cake pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the softened butter and remaining 1 cup of sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, cream together for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Mix in the mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix just to combine and remove any lumps. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Transfer the batter to the cake pan and spread into an even layer. Spread the cooled cranberry mixture over top. Bake on the bottom rack for 35 minutes. Cover the cake with foil and continue to bake for about 15-20 more minutes until the center of the cake is cooked through (a toothpick should come out free of batter but still appear moist).
  6. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges. Place a cutting board on top of the cake pan and flip the cake over so that it releases from the pan. Flip again so the cake is upright. Allow the cake to cool fully.
  7. Dust the cake with lots of powdered sugar and cut into slices for serving.