Christmas Wreath Cake

This festive, layered Christmas Wreath Cake will be the center of attention and talk of the table this holiday season. It is festive, delicious, and most importantly easily recreated meaning you can skip the store-bought and take all the credit. 

This Christmas Wreath Cake features a classic white cake layered with luscious cranberry jam-like filling, iced with a shortening based frosting then decorated with sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary to make a wreath. No need to stress about your decorating skills because the rosemary functions as the perfect way to hide any imperfections. 

Christmas Wreath Cake

The recipe was created for a holiday Instagram feature with the brands Crisco, Clabber Girl Baking and Spice Islands. These well-known and well-loved brands are ones you are likely already familiar with for their ability to deliver high-quality results when baking. 

I was happy to give this cake a test run to make sure it’s the cake that will be gracing my own holiday table. While a classic white cake is a southern holiday staple, the addition of the cranberry jam adds a holiday centered focus and allows those little seasonal lovelies their opportunity to shine well beyond Thanksgiving. 

I’ve used cranberries in this sauce, in these appetizers, in this bread, and in this sangria. All perfect for the holidays!

Before you get started with this cake, you’ll need to make the sugared cranberries.

How to make sugared cranberries:

Sugared cranberries are incredibly easy to make, with only two ingredients and the highlight of the holiday season. Have them on hand for snacking, or for dressing up any holiday recipe or as garnish for sangria. They are a sweet, tart and crunchy treat!

You’ll need:

2 cups of sugar, divided

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries

Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Gently stir in cranberries until well coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack; let dry for at least 1 hour.

Working in batches, roll cranberries in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until well coated; let dry for at least an hour.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If they begin to weep, just roll them in a fresh coat of sugar to revive.

Christmas Wreath Cake

The cake itself is a simple three layer white cake recipe. The addition of fresh cranberries and cranberry syrup woven into the icing adds just enough cranberry sweetness with each bite, but not overpowering should someone not really love cranberries. I

Christmas Wreath Cake

Christmas Wreath Cake

Yield: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

This Christmas Wreath Cake features a classic white cake layered with luscious cranberry jam-like filling, iced with a shortening based frosting then decorated with sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary to make a wreath. Perfectly festive for the holiday season!

*White cake recipe inspired by Bakingathome.com.


  • For the Cranberry Filling:
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the Cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 5 egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • For the Icing:
  • 2 cups Crisco shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons whole milk, as needed


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, oranze zest and cinnamon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered about 10 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a medium bowl to cool. Once cooled, transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray with flour (Bakers Joy) and line with parchment paper cut into rounds.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk, water and extracts in a measuring cup with spout.
  4. In another large bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high, and gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar. Beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks form- about 5 minutes. Beat together Criso with remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in another large bowl, on medium speed until fluffy- about 2 minutes.
  5. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Stir about one-quarter of the egg whites into batter, fold in remaining egg whites in 3 additions. Divide batter between the 3 pans, filling about halfway. Tap the pans to even out the batter and smooth the tops.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown on edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Make the Icing: Beat together Crisco, salt and extracts in the bowl of a stand mixer until light. Add half of the sugar and 3 tablespoons milk, beat on low speeed until combined. Add remaining sugar and beat on low until no dry patches remain and the icing becomes light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add additional milk in 1 tablespoon increments, as needed, until icing is spreadable.
  9. To assemble the cake: Use a cake leveler or a serrated knife and trim the dome from each cake layer. Place one layer on a cake plate, spread a heaping amount of cranberry filling and top with a second cake layer. Repeat with cranberry filling and top with the final cake layer, bottom side up.
  10. Coat the cake with a thin layer of icing and refrigerator until firm, about 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and completely cover the cake with icing by adding a heaping amount to the top of the cake and using an offset spatula to smooth down the sides of the cake.
  11. Garnish with fresh rosemary, sugared cranberries and upside down white chocolate morsels, if desired.


Christmas Wreath Cake

It’s perfectly festive and a great addition to your holiday table. In fact, it’s so darn beautiful that it doubles as a centerpiece! 

Cranberry Christmas Cake