Gluten-Free Whole Grain Cranberry Coconut Cream Cake Recipe

Every November fresh cranberries start showing up at all the grocery and health food stores. Up until now I had always passed them by because I once, maybe like 20 years ago, ate a cranberry and disliked it. I never even ate cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving because I had only seen it served out of a can. So I wrote off cranberries as a big "nope."

I'm revisiting old decisions these days so I decided to give them an honest try. I flipped through some of my vintage cookbooks and was inspired by a recipe in my 1967 copy of the cookbook Maine Forestry Wives' Favorites. The original recipe uses wheat flour, pecans, no milk, only water and not enough of it to develop a proper cake batter. I adapted it to make it  with my own gluten-free flour blend, used coconut milk instead of just water, adjusted the amount of fluid, baking time, leavening agents and oven temps. I left the nuts out simply because I didn't have any on hand but it doesn't need them. However, I think adding them next time would make it more decadent.

The So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk in my recipe is a mildly diluted coconut cream which differs from the typical coconut milk beverage which is usually very watered down, contains Xanthan gum (yuck) and has around fifty calories. The culinary version is 140 calories per 1/3 cup. It's a nice creamy full fat-version to use in place of milk.

Gluten-Free Whole Grain Cranberry Coconut Cream Cake

1 cup Bob's Red Mill oat flour (480 calories)
1 cup Maine Acadian Light Buckwheat flour (535 calories)
1 cup unbleached organic cane sugar (720 calories)
1 large egg (70 calories)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk (140 calories)
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp melted butter (200 calories)
1 cup fresh cranberries (45 calories)

Sift the flours, leaving agents and salt into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl pour in the melted butter, water and coconut milk and mix together. Add the egg and hand whisk the wet ingredients before adding them to the dry ingredients. Add the cranberries and mix all of the ingredients together. Pour into an greased 8" cake pan and bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for one hour, then turn the oven up to 350 and bake another fifteen minutes. Let the cake cool for about ten minutes before removing from the pan and place it on a cooling rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar if desired.

I wasn't sure if I'd like this because of my life-long bad attitude towards cranberries.

I love this.

Because of the prolonged baking time the cranberries soften. The cake itself is moist, not overly sweet but enough to compliment and balance the tartness of the cranberries. The butter and coconut cream add a delightful rich flavor while the cake texture is light. I may make this with nuts next time and *maybe* even use two cups of cranberries! 

Makes 8 slices with 270 calories each piece. 

What's YOUR experience with cranberries? Will you be cooking or baking with them this holiday season?


  1. I love love love cranberries- especially paired with orange (zest). A fall favorite around our house are cranberry- orange scones (with almond and coconut flours, of course!)

    1. Oh that sounds like a great pairing!

  2. I can personally attest to how good this cake is!! The tartness of the cranberry in cahoots with just the right amount of sweetness is spot on.

  3. I make raw cranberry-orange relish every year for Thanksgiving, whether we host or visit (it's always requested). I cut the sugar in half, though...prefer it slightly tart! Then I use it the next day as a spread on my turkey!

    1. If the recipe isn't a family secret please consider posting it here! :D

    2. (Here meaning in the comments *if* you care to share. It sounds delicious!)

    3. Oops....didn't see your request until today! Here's Ocean Spray recipe (I use extra -fine baking sugar and cut amount of sugar in half to start). Let relish sit in fridge a day or two before serving, stirring once in awhile).
      Cranberry-Orange Relish
      1 unpeeled orange, cut into eighths and seeded
      1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained
      3/4-1 cup sugar

      Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

      Makes about 3 cups.

      NOTE: May also be prepared in a food grinder.

      Per Serving: (1/4 cup) Cal. 67 (3% DV), Fat Cal. 0, Pro. 0g (0% DV), Carb. 17g (5% DV), Fat 0g (0% DV), Chol. 0mg (0% DV), Sod. 0mg (0% DV), Vit. A 4RE (0% DV), Vit. C 10mg (16% DV), Vit. E 0mg (0% DV), Calcium 6mg (0% DV), Folate 4Ug (0% DV), Zinc 0mg (0% DV), Pot. 40mg (1% DV), Dietary Exchange: Fruit 1

  4. Hi Averyl, since I'm gluten-intolerant am always looking for new gluten-free recipes to add to my cookbook. I'm very happy because my list just got bigger after finding your recipe. This coconut cream cake looks not too difficult to cook at home, I'm definitely giving it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Excellent, Jennifer! Thanks for letting me know! :)

  5. That looks really good, Averyl! I have not eaten or cooked much with cranberries. My first experience with it was the canned stuff that my mother used to buy for my dad at Thanksgiving. The jelly plopping out of the can fascinated me, haha, but I would never try it. I have had some in baked goods a couple of times over the years and I liked the cranberries but never got around to buying any until the past 3 years. I made a cranberry relish for Thanksgiving which was very good but most of my guests didn't eat it or ate very little of it. My husband and I are usually the only ones who ate some. The problem is the size of the package. Even cutting the recipe in half makes an insane amount for only 2 people. It is such a waste. So I told my husband that this year I am buying the canned stuff. He was a little disappointed but he loves Ocean Spray anyway since that is what he grew up with.

    However, I've found a recipe for an easy Christmas Cranberry Cake and I am going to make it this year. :)

    1. Aileen I now love cranberries! After making this cake I'm scheming and plotting how to work more into my diet. I like Canyon girl's idea of using leftover cranberry relish as a spread.


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