Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread Recipe (1)

Total Time
1½ hours plus cooling
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Sticky, spicy and full of cranberries, this gingerbread is perfect for the holidays. The recipe has been designed to make ahead, and will taste as good 2 days after baking as it does on the same day. (It will keep for 4 to 5 days.) To store it, wrap it well, stick it in the fridge and then bring to room temperature before serving. Whipped cream or crème fraîche, spiked with a little bourbon if you like, is nice on the side.

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

  • 2cups/8 ounces/266 grams fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1stick/4 ounces/113 grams unsalted butter
  • cup/133 grams dark brown sugar
  • ½cup/120 milliliters whole milk
  • ½cup/120 milliliters maple syrup
  • ¼cup/60 milliliters molasses
  • cups/185 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1tablespoon/5 grams ground ginger
  • ½teaspoon/1 gram ground cinnamon
  • ½teaspoon/3 grams baking powder
  • ½teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt
  • ¼teaspoon/1 gram baking soda
  • ¼teaspoon black pepper
  • 2large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1tablespoon/14 grams grated fresh ginger (from 1-inch piece)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

379 calories; 11 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 69 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 51 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 198 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch square or round baking pan with parchment.

  2. Step


    In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together cranberries, granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir the cranberries over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and cranberries form a sauce that is syrupy and bubbling thickly, about 10 minutes. Aim to have about half the cranberries broken down, with the remainder more or less whole.

  3. In a separate saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, milk, maple syrup and molasses over medium heat. Bring it to just barely a simmer and then remove it from the heat. Do not let it come to a boil, or the mixture may curdle.

  4. Step


    In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper. Beat in the butter-maple syrup mixture and then beat in the eggs. Stir in the ginger.

  5. Step


    Scrape the batter into the pan. Drop fat dollops of cranberry sauce onto the surface of the cake batter. Drag a long, slender knife through the batter in a swirly design, as if you are marbling a cake. Transfer the cake to the oven and bake it until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire baking rack and let the cake cool completely before eating it.



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Cooking Notes


Made it for a New Year's Day party. If I could ingest nothing but this and Prosecco--and/or maybe some strong coffee--for the rest of my days, I'd be happy. Dead, but happy.

s leinweber

made this last night. did not have whole cranberries, used dried. cut the sugar (all the sugary bits) way down, at least by half--have found that works in ALL desserts. did not cut the butter, butter is key here. delicious, a winner!!


Since my husband likes desserts likes less-sweet, I brought the granulated sugar down to 3/4c, the brown sugar down to 1/3c, and the maple syrup down to 1/4c. I also upped the fresh grated ginger to 1-1/2 T. DELICIOUS! More moist than sticky. Next time I'll put in the full 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries.


I made an account just to review this. It was absolutely perfect. As noted by others, even better the next day. Especially when warmed up.

I agree the cranberry was a little too sweet. The cake is already sweet enough, and I'd like more tartness to contrast, but that's just my opinion. I also used the entire bag of cranberries (12 oz) for convenience, and it came out more moist (better for it, in my opinion).

This will be in my recipe book for years to come!


I added chopped crystallized ginger to the cranberry mixture. Perfection.


This is our favorite gingerbread by far, one we've made many times. But the original excellent recipe is now a bit too sweet for our tastes, so we used half the recommended amount of sugar to make the cranberry sauce, and it made a perfectly balanced mix of sweet and tart. We also used 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of 2/3 cup, and about 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger instead of 1. It ended up a true gingerbread instead of a cake, and was roundly acclaimed by all to be the best one yet...


Made it for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit, but I wanted it to be more moist & sticky. Remade it last night and using the full 12 oz of cranberries deffo helps the moisture quotient. Also made it in a springform pan with parchment circle on bottom and light oil spray, flouring on sides. Easier to deal with than cake pan.


Loved this. To make it denser, use less of the leavening agents (baking soda/baking powder) and use 1 egg and two egg yolks instead of two eggs. I also used oil instead of butter (because I was out and too lazy to go to the store). Finally, I made a lemon juice/confectioner's sugar sauce and poured it over the whole cake, which kept it moist and added the acidic kick I thought I needed.


I made this last night and it is fantastic! It's easily going to become a winter staple in my house.

Reading through the notes other people wrote, I took their suggestion for cutting the sugar in the cranberry sauce and it was an excellent choice. I ended up cutting it in half (1/2 C), since I like things on the tarter side. I also didn't have fresh ginger, so I added another tsp of ground ginger.


I made this exactly as directed. It was very good, but would be even better with the others' suggestions: (1) increase the amount of ginger by .5 T or add crystallized ginger, and (2) use the whole bag (12 oz) of cranberry. Looking forward to the next batch!


So delicious! An easy weeknight cake--no mixer needed. I mistakenly added the ginger to the cranberry sauce; next time I'm going to do that and add even more to the batter! I like the taste of cloves, so I added an 1/8 tsp to the flour mix. All in all a great cake!


Swap honey for maple syrup, and this might be an interesting stand-in for honeycake on Rosh Hashana.


For all those of you asking about how to make it gluten free, just use (or make) a standard all purpose flour blend. There are zillions of recipes on the Internet, or you can start with Gluten Free Girl's basic formulas. The typical substitution numbers are 5 ounces/140g gf flour for every cup of wheat flour. Recipes like this are perfect for converting to gf with no problem.

Daughter's recipes

Thanks for the Notes... I took everyone's advice and cooked cranberries for an additional 10-15 minutes. Mine were so large and juicy that 10 minutes did not make a nice thick syrup. Followed all the directions as written and made sure to swirl to the edges of the pan. Cranberries were well distributed throughout and made for a nice spicy gingerbread with a gooey sweet/tart cranberry swirl!


A lot of the sugar goes into making the cranberry sauce and if you like a tarter flavor, this is where to cut back on the white sugar. The molasses adds wonderful depth. Don't overcook the cake or it won't be as sticky-gooey as it ought. I only make this if I have to take a cake somewhere to share since it is too tempting to have in the house. Freezes well.


I made this yesterday, and it was delicious. I took other poster's suggestions to cut the white sugar in half to make the cranberries more tart, and feel it was a great suggestion. Used half the maple syrup because I ran out. I will make this again.


I liked, good breakfast kind of bread, was not a huge hit with the family


I prepared this exactly to the recipe, except for substituting cup-for-cup gluten free flour, and it was scrumptious!

Anne K

I made this in a Bundt pan. Came out great. The outside had a nice chewy texture. Time was about the same. Looked great under my cake dome!


Superb. Didn't change a thing. Made for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved it. I had to give the few leftover pieces to my daughter because I knew I would devour them all as soon as my guests left. I was very sorry the next day thinking about what a good accompaniment to coffee they would have been.


Truly a delicious and warm cake that ticks all the boxes! Wish I heeded others comments about the cranberries being too sweet, will use half the sugar next time. I accidentally forgot to add the fresh ginger into the batter so I mixed it into the cranberries. It worked beautifully. Looking forward to making this again!


Found this recipe two weeks ago. It was a huge hit for a holiday party and a definite keeper. Appreciate a comment to use a springform pan. I had a 9 1/2 not a 9 but that did not seem to impact the recipe. I also did not have whole milk and used 2%.

A. Burton

I was excited to try this recipe when I first saw it. I found, however, that the combined flavors of the molasses and spices overpowered the sweet/tart of the cranberries and that the end result was a lot like fruitcake. If I make it again I would adjust to allow the taste cranberries to play a little louder.


I made this for 2 occasions this holiday season and it was a hit at both. Easy to follow recipe that works exactly as written.


This is a very delicious cake. Best the first day, but lasts well for a couple..I added dried cherries and unsweetened dried cranberries to the cranberry mixture and continued cooking it as directed. Just an added richness.I also make a simple cream cheese frosting with a touch of vanilla and powdered cardamom and frosted the cake when it was cooled. Not necessary, but it dresses it up a bit and if you love cream cheese frosting as much as I do, a great addition.


Tasty gingerbread with tart cranberries. Not sure where the sticky comes in. I made it Christmas weekend thinking it would be similar to sticky toffee pudding, not the case.

Mary O

I made this for my book group, and followed the recipe, except that I was out of milk, so used cream. Also I used the entire 12oz bag of cranberries for the sauce. Delicious! I love the bite of fresh ginger against the sweet swirls of cranberry. I’ll be making this again tomorrow, my family complained that there wasn’t enough left over from book group!


Gawd. This is just perfectly great Christmas gift cooking. The cranberries floated to the bottom, so I just flipped the cake - like an upside down cranberry gingerbread.


This was fabulous just as written.


This was just ok. Nice gingery taste but I think I’ll stick with regular old gingerbread.

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Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread Recipe (2024)


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