Cranberry Pudding

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

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!

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. These cranberry recipes are favorites at my house. The pudding cake stretches back into my childhood. I remember my mother ladling buttery pools onto plates, then licking the spoon. It’s an English-style pudding, a dense, moist cake. It’s delicious with the sauce, good without. Mom’s sauce called for cream but that’s rich for my taste. Still, it might suit you and your family.

CRANBERRY APPLESAUCE For a season-perfect ruby-red applesauce, just cook 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, 4 pounds of unpeeled but cored apples with 1/2 cup sugar and 1-1/2 cups water until fruit is soft, then run through food processor.

CRANBERRY CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL For a festive starter for a holiday brunch or weeknight supper, just mix 1 cup low-calorie cranberry juice with 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier. To serve, place an ice cube in champagne glasses, fill halfway with the juice, then top with champagne. Add a twist of lime if there’s time.


Moist pudding cake with 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)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 9 ounces), chopped in food processor to yield 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup hot tap water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk (half & half and cream work too)

CAKE Preheat oven to 350F. 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.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per slice with sauce/without: 343/174 Cal (29%/1%); 11/0g Tot Fat; 7/0g Sat Fat; 59/41g Carb; 2/2g Fiber; 170/148mg Sodium; 31/0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 6/3 points


I knew this recipe was an 'oldie but goodie'! My Auntie Meryl reports that it was served at "every bridge club in town" in one version or another, in my home town. And great fun! I just now (2006) came across my Mom's column for cranberry pudding (yes, my Mom originated Kitchen Parade way back in 1959). Dated 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." I concur, on all counts! Cake: 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. Cranberry Applesauce: If using Granny Smith apples, I recommend peeling first for the skins are some tough and escape the Cuisinart's blade.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. In 2009, Kitchen Parade celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special collection of my mother's recipes. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!

More Wintry Dessert Recipes

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Cranberry Apple Crisp Butter Tart Bars Molasses Ice Cream with Molasses Cookies

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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