A twist on a classic: cranberry cake made with Greek yogurt

Our family has a wonderful cranberry cake recipe that’s been passed down for generations.  I remember my mom making it growing up – I loved how the sweet icing complimented the slightly bitter taste of the cranberry sauce.  It’s the perfect combination. Yum!

Cranberry Cake made with Greek yogurt | Hemming Birds Create

I’ve adopted many of the recipes my mom cooked every year at Thanksgiving for our own holiday dinner – including the recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.

I’d say that I always end up with leftover cranberry sauce, but really I make extra so that I can make Aunt Elsie’s Cranberry Cake.  

Cranberry Cake made with Greek yogurt | Hemming Birds Create

This year, I decided to try the recipe with a little twist.  I’ve experimented with swapping plain Greek yogurt for sour cream in many recipes, and so far have been very pleased with the results.  I use this handy chart from Stonyfield to determine how to do the substitution.  In this case, I swapped 1 cup of 0% fat plain Greek yogurt for the 1 cup of sour cream in the recipe.

CranCake_Ingredients

How did it go for our favorite family recipe?  One word. . .yum!  Even my mom, who perfected the recipe over many many years, agreed it was much better with yogurt!

So why substitute yogurt?  

For one, I’ve found that it works just as good if not better than the other dairy product you are using.  

Second, in this (and most) case(s) it has far fewer calories (130 -vs- 444 in 1 cup of yogurt -vs- sour cream) and less fat (0 g in a cup of yogurt -vs- 45 in sour cream).  

And sure, it’s a cake recipe. . .it’s not meant to be healthy.  But if you can make it a bit healthier and it tastes just as good (or in this case, better) then why wouldn’t you substitute? 

Cranberry Cake made with Greek yogurt | Hemming Birds Create

I also changed one other aspect of the original recipe by baking it in a bundt pan instead of a square baking pan.  I’ve had trouble with the cake collapsing in the middle after it’s cooked, and I found the bundt pan not only decreased the baking time but also ensured that it baked evenly.  If you plan on doing the same, just know that the batter only fills the bundt pan ~2/3 full.  But don’t worry, it’ll rise quite a bit while baking!

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Cranberry Cake with Greek Yogurt
Yields 1
The perfect cake for both dessert and breakfast! Moist, sweet, but not overly sweet. Made with full fruit cranberry sauce
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Cake
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 tsp baking soda
  4. 1 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
  8. 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 cup full fruit cranberry sauce
Glaze
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1 TBSP water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream room temperature butter and sugar together.
  3. Add unbeaten eggs one at a time, beat until combined.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
  6. Add dry ingredients to butter/egg mixture in 3 parts, alternating with yogurt.
  7. Grease a bundt pan (or coffee cake pan).
  8. Add half of the batter to the pan, then the cranberry sauce. Add rest of batter and swirl.
  9. Bake ~45 minutes. Remove when tester comes out clean (I use a chopstick).
  10. Mix powdered sugar and water, add more sugar or water to reach desired consistency (should drip off your mixing utensil, but should not be too liquidy).
  11. When cake is cool, drizzle glaze over cake.
Notes
  1. If you don't have Greek yogurt, 1 cup of sour cream also works. If you use a regular pan (prior to the bundt pan I used a 9x9 square brownie pan), increase bake time by at least 10 minutes (cook until tester inserted into the middle comes out clean).
Adapted from Great Aunt Elsie (& Yana's Mom)
Adapted from Great Aunt Elsie (& Yana's Mom)
hemming birds http://blog.hemming-birds.com/

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