A Tasty Thanksgiving Treat

Cranberry-vanilla cake with whipped cream frosting

Amarah Karlick, Journalism Student

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays. From November to January, my family was constantly doubling recipes to bring portions to soup kitchens & shelters. I was always in the kitchen, from the turkey to the apple pies, I was so proud of myself for my culinary talents. One year, my family and I had found some spare time to look up a few new recipes.

  We found the recipe for this cake, and it was actually one of the first times I baked anything all on my own. Its’ thick, creamy frosting and spiced cranberry-apricot filling makes this cake the perfect mix of fall and flavor. Though not everyone in the journalism class likes cranberries, this cake still received several positive and favorable reviews. Suggestions not pertaining to the recipe were made as well, such as to cut baking time off by five minutes and add more sugar to the tart filling.

A cranberry-vanilla with whipped cream frosting

Photo Credit: Amarah Karlick

Cake Ingredients:

3 c. cake flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. Salt

1 c. butter or margarine

2 c. granulated sugar

5 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ¼ low-fat buttermilk

Filling Ingredients:

1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries

⅓ c. apricot jam

1 c. granulated sugar

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon


¼ c. water

¾ c. granulated sugar

1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries


2 c. heavy whipping cream

1 c. confectioners’ sugar

⅓ c. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract (I’ve always added a bit extra)

Cake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 (8-inch) pans with parchment paper, grease sides.

Into a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt

In large mixer bowl beat butter and sugar with mixer on medium-high speed. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla and flour mixture. Beat well.

Divide batter evenly among pans, smooth tops and tap pans firmly against counter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes (see previous review suggestions) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Invert cake onto rack, peel off parchment, cool completely.

Filling Directions:

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, apricot jam, and cinnamon.

Cook on medium 8-10 minutes or until most berries burst. Stir often.

Transfer to bowl, refrigerate until cold.

Garnish Directions:

In a 1-quart saucepan, combine water and sugar.

Heat to boiling on high, stir in cranberries.

Cool completely, then drain.

Place remaining sugar on plate, toss berries in sugar to coat.

Place on wire rack; let dry 1 hour.

Frosting Directions:

With mixer on medium speed, whisk whipping cream until soft.

Reduce mixer speed to low; add sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Whisk until soft.


Place 1 cake on stand; spread half of filling on top. Repeat with another layer of remaining filling, top with third layer.

Spread and smooth frosting all over cake, garnish with sugared berries.

Covered cake may be refrigerated or stored in room temperature for up to one day. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Happy Holidays, enjoy!

Mrs. Erdman is an English and journalism teacher at Freedom High School in the Bethlehem Area School District in Bethlehem, PA.

Please feel free to visit her sites: Mrs. Erdman     The Freedom Forum

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