Cranberry Olive Oil Cake with Cream Nuggets Chunks and Walnuts

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A delightful moist spiced cake with tart cranberries and cream cheese nuggets that is easy to make and will hold for several days. A perfect cake to make in advance or to give as a gift for the holidays.




  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup plus 6 T granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, divided
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t powdered ginger
  • 1/2 t fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice plus zest from 1/2 orange
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 8-ounce package of cream cheese (not whipped)
  • 12 T powdered sugar for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 400 F degrees. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9″ round springform pan. Wipe the bottom and sides of the pan with olive oil and place the parchment circle in the bottom of the pan. Smooth to remove air bubbles.
  2. Sprinkle 2 T of sugar into the pan to coat bottom and sides, tapping the pan and turning it to coat. Tap out excess. Set aside.
  3. Place the cranberries in a small bowl and toss with 2 T of sugar. Set aside.
  4. Place 1/2 cup walnuts in a food processor, mini-prep or blender and pulse until they are chopped and about the texture of cornmeal. Do not over process or you will get walnut butter.
  5. In a medium bowl mix processed walnuts, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl mix together Grand Marnier, orange juice and vanilla. Set aside. 
  7. Put the eggs, 1 cup of sugar and orange zest in a large bowl and whisk on high for 10 minutes. This is an important step as it adds air into the batter and will help the cake rise.
  8. Slowly add 1 1/4 cups of olive oil, streaming it in slowly as you mix it in. 
  9. Pour half of the flour mixture into the egg and sugar mixture and fold in until fully incorporated. Add half the Grand Marnier and orange juice mixture and mix until incorporated. Repeat. 
  10. Cut the cream cheese block into 32 cubes (4 slices across the length and 8 across the width).
  11. Fold in the sugared cranberries and cream cheese chunks into the batter, mixing gently to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  12. Sprinkle 2 T of sugar over the top of the cake. Top the surface of the cake with the remaining 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, spreading them evenly over the surface. Place the cake in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 350 F degrees if you are using a conventional oven and 325 F degrees if you are using a convection oven. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted deeply into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  13. Move to a wire rack and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Using a chopstick, poke holes all over the top of the cake. Slowly drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over the top of the cake, allowing the cake to absorb the oil.
  14. Run an offset spatula or knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and release the springform pan. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Sift 1 to 2 t of powdered sugar over the top of the cake. This is optional, but makes for a pretty presentation. 
  15. If not eating the cake the same day, wrap it in plastic wrap until ready to serve. Cake will be even better the next day and will keep for several days wrapped. Unlike my other olive oil cakes, I do refrigerate this olive oil cake because it has the cream cheese in it. Generally these cakes do not need refrigeration. Bring the refrigerated cake out about 1 hour before serving so it comes to room temperature. 

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