Serves 24


  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick; 85 grams) butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

  • 1 ½ cups (300 grams) packed light brown sugar

  • ¾ cup (102 grams) all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 ½ cups (340 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

    TST-BakeSmart Book Cover Bake Smart: Sweets and Secrets from My Oven to Yours Samantha Seneviratne
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113 grams) butter, at room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) finely grated orange zest

  • 2 large (100 grams) eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup (160 grams) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

  • 3 cups (320 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries, not thawed if frozen

(Frozen cranberries will immediately cool and stiffen the batter, but that’s just fine, though the cake will take a few extra minutes to bake through.)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two long sides. Butter the parchment. 


In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and salt.

Add the butter and, with an electric mixer on medium speed, mix it in. The mixture should look like evenly moistened sand.

Set aside. 


In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, butter, and orange zest with the mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beating the orange zest with the butter allows its flavor to permeate the batter more effectively.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Beat in the vanilla.

Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture. Do not overmix.

Transfer half of the batter to the prepared pan and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. (The layer will be thin.)

Sprinkle about 1 cup of the crumb mixture evenly over the top.

Top with about half of the cranberries.

Dollop the remaining batter over the top of the cranberries and spread it out evenly with the offset spatula.

Top with the remaining cranberries.

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top, squeezing it into various-sized pieces.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

If you used fresh cranberries, start checking the cake at around 35 minutes. If the cranberries were frozen, the cake may take up to 55 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.

Using the parchment overhang, carefully lift out the cake and transfer it to a cutting board to cut and serve.

The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen for 1 month; thaw at room temperature before serving. (The sugary topping may become a bit moist over time, but the cake will still taste delicious.)

Recipe from BAKE SMART Sweets and Secrets from My Oven to Yours by Samantha Seneviratne. Copyright © 2023 by Samantha Seneviratne. Used with permission by Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

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