Chocolate Cranberry & Clementine Cake

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Chocolate Cranberry & Clementine Cake has two layers of moist chocolate orange sponge sandwiched with cranberry sauce and generously frosted with chocolate orange buttercream, sugared cranberries and candied clementine slices. Made with gluten-free flours.

Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake on a white plate on a wooden board

This gorgeous chocolate cranberry cake is a perfect compromise for all the cake lovers in your family who aren’t impressed with a traditional Christmas cake. However you can bet your bottom dollar they are big fans of a good fudgy chocolate cake.

Fresh clementine zest is used in the cake sponge to make a lovely moist chocolate clementine cake which is sandwiched together with cranberry sauce also laced with clementine which is tangy and sweet. In fact the whole cake has a kind of Terry’s Chocolate Orange vibe going on but a touch more sophisticated.

A slice being pulled out of Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake

Why is this recipe so brilliant?

  • Boasts all the best flavours of the season – fruity cranberry, zesty clementine and fudgy chocolate.
  • Ideal alternative to a traditional Christmas Cake if you need a change of pace from all the spiced dried fruit.
  • It’s a real showstopper of a cake. The sugared cranberries and candied clementine slices are well worth the extra trouble for their beautiful frosted effect.
  • A great recipe to use up leftover cranberry sauce!

READ MORE >>> Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake on a white plate on a wooden board

Which flour do we use for this cake?

This recipe below is made with gluten-free flours but if you are not gluten-free you can just substitute with 230g plain white flour.

Chocolate cakes are quite forgiving gluten-free recipes as they let you get away with most flours. This little trio though is perfect if you want a cake that is moist but with great structure.

1. White Rice Flour

This is a great economical gluten-free flour which works here due to its neutral taste and light texture. Too much rice flour though can get a little claggy so we need to balance it out.

2. Oat Flour

Used here for fluffiness and flavour. That toasted butterscotch taste is a great backdrop for the chocolate.

3. Tapioca Flour

Needed to help with the structure of the cake

Substitution Tip – You can swap the oat flour for buckwheat flour, teff flour or sorghum flour.

Shop the ingredients: Gluten-Free White Rice Flour, Gluten-Free-Oat Flour, Gluten-Free Tapioca Flour

Overhead view of Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake on a white plate on a wooden board

Pro Baker’s Tips for the fudgiest chocolate cake!

  • Make with both cocoa powder and melted chocolate for full-on chocolate flavour.
  • Using good quality 70% dark chocolate will give your cake the best flavour. No cooking chocolate here!
  • We use buttermilk here to add a great tang which cuts through the richness of the chocolate.
  • Instant espresso powder is essential to bring out the real chocolatey taste (you can’t taste the coffee flavour)

More chocolate cakes you’ll love!

Easy steps to make the cake

For full recipe instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or bowl set over pan of simmering water) then set aside.
  2. Whisk the flours, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, coffee and salt together and set aside.
  3. In another bowl (or a stand mixer) beat together the buttermilk, the sugars, clementine zest, olive oil, eggs and vanilla then add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix in until fully incorporated.
  5. Divide between the two cake tins then bake for 30-35 minutes.

Recommended Equipment: Double Boiler, 8 inch round cake tins, Stand Mixer, Silicone Spatula, Cooling Racks

Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake on a white plate on a wooden board

The Cake Filling: Cranberry Sauce

A deliciously zesty cranberry sauce is used to sandwich together the 2 sponge layers. You can use any kind of leftover cranberry sauce you have to hand.

Pro Baker’s Tips

  • For the ultimate version of this cake I recommend making this Cranberry Clementine Sauce – the flavours are perfect, the recipe is super quick and you’ll have a decent amount leftover for the rest of the holiday season.
  • However if you are using your own recipe or a shop bought cranberry sauce then I suggest warming it up gently in a saucepan with extra clementine (or orange) zest. The heat will allow the zesty flavour properly penetrate the sauce. Allow to cool completely before you use though.

The Best Chocolate Buttercream

The whole cake is generously slathered with the most chocolatey of buttercreams using intense cocoa and melted dark chocolate plus the juice of the two clementines you zested for the sponge.

The easy steps to make it

For full instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add cocoa powder, melted chocolate, clementine juice, salt and vanilla extract and beat into the creamed butter and sugar until everything is smooth and evenly combined.

A slice being pulled out of Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake

Decorating the cake: Sugared Cranberries and Candied Clementine

What makes this cake truly special is the festive decoration of this cake. Of course it’s absolutely delicious as it is but if you want to go that extra mile then this decoration is easier than you think and incredibly effective.

For full recipe instructions on these go to the recipe card at the end of this post.

How to make sugared cranberries

  1. Simmer caster sugar with water until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Allow to cool a little then pour in the cranberries and stir to coat evenly with the sugar syrup.
  3. Place in the fridge overnight.
  4. Remove the cranberries from the syrup with a slotted spoon, pat dry with a kitchen towel then spread out evenly onto baking parchment.
  5. Roll the cranberries so they are totally coated with sugar.
  6. Leave to dry for at least an hour before using.

How to make candied clementines

  1. Simmer caster sugar with water until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Submerge clementine slices into the sugar syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the clementine with a slotted spoon then place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes at 150°C. Turn the slices over and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before you use them to decorate.

And there you have it, a stunning Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake to ring in those festivities.

FAQs

How long does the finished cake keep for?

The cake keeps for up to 5 days if refrigerated and up to 3 days if kept out of the fridge but in an airtight tin kept in a cool dark place. If refrigerated, remove and bring up to room temperature (about 2 hours) before serving.

Can you freeze it?

Yes, this cake freezes brilliantly. You can freeze the sponge cakes before you add the buttercream. Wrap up well individually and allow to defrost overnight before decorating. You could freeze the whole cake but the buttercream would smudge when wrapping for the freezer. I usually freeze the leftover cake in slices wrapped up well in airtight containers.

More holiday desserts you’ll love!

I urge you to give this Chocolate Cranberry & Clementine Cake a try. If you do then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake on a white plate on a wooden board

Chocolate Cranberry & Clementine Cake {gluten-free}

Chocolate Cranberry & Clementine Cake has two layers of moist chocolate orange sponge sandwiched with cranberry sauce and generously frosted with chocolate orange buttercream, sugared cranberries and candied clementine slices. Made with gluten-free flours
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 1071kcal

Ingredients

Cranberry Clementine Cake

  • 125 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 20 g tapioca flour
  • 90 g cocoa powder
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 g buttermilk
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 160 g soft light brown sugar
  • zest of 2 clementines + 1 extra clementine for the cranberry sauce (see notes)
  • 170 ml olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
  • 200 g cranberry sauce see notes

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 500 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 90 g cocoa powder
  • 150 g chocolate melted
  • juice of 2 clementines
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sugared Cranberries

  • 120 g + 60g caster sugar
  • 120 ml water
  • 125 g fresh cranberries

Candied Clementines

  • 2 clementines
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 120 ml water

Instructions

Cranberry Clementine Cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line and grease 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bain marie then set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, coffee and salt and set aside.
  • In another bowl (or a stand mixer) beat together the buttermilk, the sugars, clementine zest, olive oil, eggs and vanilla then add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
  • Pour in the melted chocolate and mix in until fully incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two cake tins then place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Turn out the cakes and cool on wire racks before filling and decorating.

Chocolate Buttercream

  • Beat together the butter and sugar for about 10 minutes in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add cocoa, melted chocolate, clementine juice, salt and vanilla extract and beat into the creamed butter and sugar until everything is smooth and evenly combined.

Sugared Cranberries

  • Pour the 120g of caster sugar into a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to a low boil until the sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Pour in the cranberries and stir to coat evenly with the sugar syrup.
  • Place in the fridge overnight.
  • The next day remove the cranberries from the syrup with a slotted spoon, pat dry with a kitchen towel then spread out evenly onto a plate.
  • Sprinkle over the remaining 60g of caster sugar and gently roll the cranberries so they are totally coated with sugar.
  • Leave to dry for at least an hour before using.

Candied Clementine Slices

  • Pour caster sugar into a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to a low boil until the sugar dissolves.
  • Cut the clementines into thin slices then submerge into the sugar syrup. Bring the syrup back to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off.
  • Remove the clementine slices from the sugar syrup (reserve the syrup for clementine bellinis on Christmas morning*) with a slotted spoon then place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 10 minutes at 150°C. Turn the slices over and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before you use them to decorate.

Assembly

  • Place one of the sponge layers on a cake board and pipe a circle of buttercream at the very edge of the top of the cake to act like a dam for the cranberry sauce.
  • Spread the cranberry sauce on top of the sponge, right to the edges of the buttercream dam.
  • Place the second sponge layer on top and cover the top and the sides of the cake with the buttercream.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with the sugared cranberries and candied clementines.

Notes

  • If you are not gluten-free you can swap the 3 gluten-free flours for 230g plain white flour instead.
  • For the whole cake you can use any kind of orange zest and juice – it doesn’t have to be clementines – but they do give a gorgeous tangy flavour.
  • I recommend this Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce for the cake filling. Alternatively, you can use any leftover cranberry sauce, homemade or shop bought, warm it up in a small saucepan with the zest of 1 clementine and leave to cool until needed.
  • To make Clementine Bellinis all you need is 1 tablespoon of the clementine syrup at the bottom of your champagne glass and top it up with plenty of fizz.
  • This cake freezes well. Either freeze the sponges individually before decorating with buttercream or freeze leftover cake in slices. In both instances wrap up well to avoid spoilage.
  • The finished cake will keep for up to 5 days if refrigerated, or up to 3 days out of the fridge in an airtight tin.

Nutrition

Calories: 1071kcal | Carbohydrates: 134g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 61g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 573mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 105g | Vitamin A: 1170IU | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 4.4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @FromTheLarder or tag #FromTheLarder!

This post was originally published in December 2017 but has been updated in November 2020 with clearer instructions and more tips and tricks to make this cake sparkle.

Comments

  1. Thanks, I googled it and will give it a go!
    How far in advance can the cake be decorated? 🙂

  2. Hey there, this looks amazing!
    Could you provide the recipe in cups instead of grams?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Julia, I’m so sorry but I don’t work in cups since I’m a UK baker and any conversion I attempt to share might be too loose a guide as measuring in grams is ultra accurate. Funnily enough, converting from cups to grams is relatively easy but the other way much harder! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though, although I might have to point you in the direction of google for individual conversions. Sorry I can’t be of more help!!

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