Chocolate Christmas Bundt Cake {Moist Cake + Sugared Cranberries}

You’ll love this gorgeous and festive recipe for Christmas Chocolate Bundt Cake. This cake is the perfect treat to celebrate the holiday season.

It combines rich chocolate flavors with a hint of coffee and is topped off with beautiful sugared cranberries.

Easy to make and sure to impress, this cake is the perfect centerpiece for your classic Christmas feast.

close up of bundt cake with cranberries.

Christmas Chocolate Bundt Cake

Savor the perfect blend of deep cocoa and tangy cranberries; this Bundt cake is a dessert that's has it all: taste and beauty.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Serving Size 10 slices

Ingredients 

Cake Batter

  • 1 cup brewed coffee cooled (or water)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream room temperature

Chocolate Icing

  • cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Sugared Cranberries

  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar divided into two parts
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions 

Make Sugared Cranberries

  • Make syrup. Put a saucepan on low heat. Add ½ cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar melts. Take the saucepan off the heat. Add the cranberries and mix them in the sugar water. Put a lid on the saucepan and let it sit for 10 minutes.
    saucepan with syrup and cranberries.
  • Dry and coat. Use a strainer to remove the cranberries, but keep the sugar water for later use. Put the cranberries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to dry. Let them sit for 1 hour at room temperature. Put the remaining sugar on a plate. Roll the cranberries in this sugar until they are covered.
    cranberries being tossed in sugar

Make the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix wet ingredients and cocoa. Mix coffee (or water), vegetable oil, vanilla, eggs, and sour cream, and cocoa powder in a large bowl.
    wet ingredients and cocoa.
  • Mix and add dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until everything is well mixed. Check the bowl's sides and bottom for any missed bits and stir again.
    adding dry ingredients to mixing bowl.
  • Bake. Grease a 10-12 cup Bundt pan. Put the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. If the pan is dark, start checking the cake at 40 minutes by poking it with a long toothpick to see if it comes out clean.
    bundt pan sprayed and filled with batter.
  • Cool on rack. Remove the cake from the oven. Let it cool in the pan five minutes, then flip the pan onto a wire rack. Wait another 5 minutes, then take the pan off. Let the cake cool on the rack until fully cool.
    baked cake on cooling rack.

Frost the Cake

  • Make the icing. Put chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl or a small pot. Heat until the cream gets little bubbles at the edges. Take it off the heat (or remove from the microwave), then stir until the chocolate is all melted and it looks smooth. Pour this over the cake, letting it run down the sides.
    chocolate icing before and after pouring on cake
  • Garnish and serve. Press sugared cranberries on top and let set before serving.
    overhead view of finished cake.

Notes

If you have leftover cake, it will keep well wrapped at room temperature for 3-4 days.  For longer storage, individual slices will freeze well if tightly wrapped.
You can also bake and cool the cake, then freeze it, and frost and garnish right before serving. 
Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 213IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg

Even if you choose to skip the sugared cranberries and substitute holiday sprinkles, you’ll find that this cake is moist, rich, and delicious.

What you’ll need for the perfect bundt cake

  • Brewed Coffee: This adds a rich depth to the chocolate flavor. You can use water instead, but coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor.
  • Sour Cream: This might seem unusual, but it helps make the cake moist and adds a slight tanginess that complements the sweet flavors.
  • Fresh Cranberries: These make for a festive and slightly tart garnish, perfectly in tune with the holiday spirit. You’ll find them in the produce section from October to January.
ingredients on white wood counter.

As a far as equipment goes, a few things are essential:

  • A 10-12 cup Bundt cake. Be careful! Some of the pretty Christmas ones re only 9 cups and your cake could overflow. When in doubt, fill it up with water and check!
  • Nonstick cooking spray or shortening dusted with flour. It’s not fun when your cake sticks. Be sure to grease your pan generously.

 Nordic Ware Let It Snow Bundt, Silver, 10-Cup Capacity Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt 12 Cup, Gold Nordic Ware Cut Crystal Bundt, 10 Cup, Gold

 

Everything else is just the basics and simple pantry ingredients.

Tips for a Successful Cake

Quality of Ingredients: Use good-quality cocoa powder and chocolate chips for the icing to get the best chocolate flavor. (I don’t use anything fancy, just Hershey’s Cocoa and Tollhouse Chocolate Chips.)

chocolate bundt cake with sugared cranberries on top.

Temperature Matters: Make sure your eggs and sour cream are at room temperature. This helps them mix better into the batter.

Timing: Timing is key when making this cake. Don’t rush the cooling process; let the cake fully cool down on a wire rack before applying the icing. This ensures that the icing will not melt off.

Icing: When making the chocolate icing, heat the cream until little bubbles form at the edges but it’s not boiling. This is the perfect temperature to melt the chocolate chips into a smooth icing.

Garnishing: Place the sugared cranberries on top while the icing is still wet to ensure they stick.

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And above all, don’t over-mix!

overhead view of bundt cake with icing and sugared cranberries.

Of course, you can always skip the icing and berries and dust with powdered sugar, particularly if you use intricate Christmas Bundt pans.

More holiday desserts

It’s the best time of year for desserts. Here are some of our favorites.

slice of cake being lifted out.

This is a beautiful and delicious recipe. I truly hope you love it.

Chocolate Christmas Bundt Cake {Moist Cake + Sugared Cranberries}

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely wonderful cake!! I made this for desert after Christmas dinner. The sugared cranberries were not only a beautiful decoration on the cake but the tartness helped cut through the richness of the chocolate. This cake was a huge hit and I will definitely be making this again.

  2. If making this ahead of time (2 days before Christmas), would it be best to completely assemble and refrigerate the topped cake, or bake ahead of time and assemble the day of?
    Thanks!

    1. hi lynn, i meant to save it in case you need to re-wet the cranberries to get the sugar to stick. but to be heonst i’ve never needed it because they are sticky enough. and i’m sorry it was so confusing! 🤣🤣🤣