Cranberry Pudding with Butter Sauce

A popular recipe from the 1950s and 1960s, a dense, moist cranberry cake served with a rich butter sauce.

Cranberry Pudding with Butter Sauce ♥, a popular recipe from the 1950s and 1960s, a dense, moist cranberry cake served with a rich butter sauce.

Real Food, Fresh & Seasonal. Retro Dessert. Budget Friendly. No Mixer Needed. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Holiday Potluck & Party Friendly. Vegan Cake.

Joy to the World!

Tis the season!
The halls are decked, strings of street lights blink red and green, sweet singing in the choir.
Snow is glistening and Jack Frost nips at our noses so the fire is so delightful.
With any luck, Mommy’s kissing Santa Claus, we’ll all be home for Christmas and faithful friends will gather near.
Soon enough, the night will fall silent, upon the midnight clear.
We’ll hear the bells on Christmas morn, our finest gifts we’ll bring.

Joy to the world!

"An Oldie But Goodie"

In the kitchen, tis the season to turn to recipes festive and somehow familiar, even if new, simple and yet special, even if decidedly unfussy.

Cranberry Pudding is definitely an "oldie but goodie" stretching back into my childhood. I remember my mother ladling buttery pools onto plates, then licking the spoon. Cranberry "Pudding" is an English-style pudding, a dense, moist cake. It’s delicious with the sauce, very good without.

My Auntie Meryl reports that "every bridge club in town" served Cranberry Pudding in one version or another back in the day. I even came across my mom's column for Cranberry Pudding from 1971. It starts off, "This cranberry pudding does not sound like much and does not even look like much when you serve it but it is outstandingly good, I think."

(Did you know? My mom originated Kitchen Parade way back in 1959, see About Kitchen Parade.)

I concur, on all counts!

What Is Cranberry "Pudding"?

Let me be frank.

Cranberry "Pudding" isn't anything like our favorite chocolate pudding or tapioca pudding or butterscotch pudding, so soft and cool and spoonable.

Cranberry "Pudding" isn't even like the cake 'n' pudding combinations like Lemon Pudding Cake or Gingerbread Pudding Cake where one batter magically converts in the oven to pudding on the bottom and cake on the top.

In fact, here, Cranberry Pudding is a moist, almost wet dense cake topped with a sugary, buttery sauce. So why is cake with sauce called "pudding"??? The answer is simple.

What Americans call "dessert" is called "pudding" in Britain and other countries with colonial ties to Britain like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Pudding = Dessert.

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this old-fashioned cranberry dessert hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...
Cranberry Pudding with Butter Sauce ♥, a popular recipe from the 1950s and 1960s, a dense, moist cranberry cake served with a rich butter sauce.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Serves 9
  • 1-1/2 cups flour (fluff to aerate before measuring or 187g)
  • 1/3 cup (66g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (9oz/255g), chopped in a food processor to yield 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup hot tap water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/8T/112g) salted butter
  • 2/3 cup (132g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk (half & half and cream work too)

CAKE Preheat oven to 350F/180C. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking soda. Stir in the remaining cake ingredients (the batter will poof a bit). Transfer to a well-buttered 9x9 pan. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes (will be slightly sticky). Cool slightly.

SAUCE Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan, add sugar and stir til smooth. Bring to a boil, let simmer for about 5 minutes. Slowly add milk and return to a boil. Boil for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat but rewarm before serving.

Cut cake in nine pieces, serve warm topped with warm sauce.

ALANNA's TIPS Mom’s sauce called for cream but that’s rich for my taste. Still, it might suit you and your family. Or it might just be what's on hand! The cake itself is vegan and naturally fat-free, no dairy, no butter. I've made it successfully using Splenda as a sugar substitute and 100% white whole wheat flour.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 332 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 7g Sat Fat; 29mg Cholesterol; 234mg Sodium; 56g Carb; 2g Fiber; 35g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 7 & PointsPlus 9 & SmartPoints 16 & Freestyle 15 & myWW green 15 & blue 15 & purple 15 & future WW points

Love Fresh Cranberry? Me Too!

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Cranberry Recipes & Ideas ♥, Savory to Sweet. Recipes, tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.

Fresh Cranberry Cake ♥, a rustic cake that pops with fresh cranberries, best made a day ahead so perfect for potlucks and holiday gifts.
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Fresh Cranberry Bars ♥, a chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar snow. No mixer required.
  • THE RECIPE Fresh Cranberry Bars A chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar "snow".
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Fresh Cranberry Drop Cookies ♥, an easy cranberry cookie recipe with festive holiday appearance. Fresh cranberries, pecans and orange.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cranberries ~
~ molasses ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2006, 2008, 2009, 2020, 2021 & 2022

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/18/2007

    Oh, boy does the Cranberry Pudding ever sound good1 I've had the cranberry applesauce and loved it, so I'm really looding forward to trying the pudding. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes with us all.

    Sharon Mc


  2. Anonymous7/18/2007

    Yum! That cake part is vegan (and fatfree!), and sauce looks veganizable. Guess what I'm thinking!


  3. Sharon ~ Oh I hope you like it!

    Susan ~ Go, veganize! And thanks for pointing those out, I've been making the recipe for so long, I hadn't even realized.


  4. Anonymous7/18/2007

    Bonjour =)
    someone sent me some cranberries ( they are really hard to find in France, and expensive too ) so i was looking for recipes and i found yours. I made the pudding yesterday, without the butter sauce because the rest of the "meal" was very rich and i didn't want our stomachs to explose :p
    We loved it, really ! so i wanna thank you for posting.


  5. Anonymous11/14/2007

    When I clicked in cranberry pudding on google and KITCHEN PARADE come up I knew instantly what I had. It made me teary. The recipe is exactly what I was searching for including the hard sauce. I enjoy your added comments. I will return to it again. I am sure you have heard it before; you are so like your mother. A lady and friend that is missed. Love, Pauline

  6. Hi Mrs P ~ Talk about making someone teary (my dad and my sister too, when I forwarded your note to them), this surprise sweet message from one of my mom's longest dearest friends.

    We do miss her, don't we, and your Bill and his gentle presence, too.

    Hugs to you, Alanna

  7. Yum. Thanks for sharing this-- a pudding dish with nothing I can't have! (Except butter, but ghee will work for that.) I'm going to have to make it this holiday season.

  8. Anonymous10/22/2008

    My friends and I make a pilgrimage every year to the Toronto One of a Kind Craft Show to buy this pudding (brought in from British Columbia!) It's amazing - heats up beautifully in the micro, and until you add the sauce (gotta have it) it's fat free! Thanks so much.

  9. Gramma used to make this every year... same recipe from WW and a great one!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna