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Every year we host either Christmas or Thanksgiving and I always make anywhere between 10-15 desserts. I like to make some favorites, but also like to try new recipes. I made this White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream Frosting a few years ago and it became a family favorite. It’s one of our family’s top 5 holiday desserts now, so I make it for every holiday that we host now.

Don’t be put off by the time it takes to make this; 9 hours of this is “chill” time. Because it takes a little bit of time to make this, as there are a number of components to this dish, here are some make ahead tips you can do to save time and just assemble the day of serving…

Make Ahead Tips:

  1. You can make the cakes and freeze them ahead of time and pull them out when you assemble and frost the cake. No need to thaw them ahead of time, it’s actually easier to frost them frozen!
  2. Make the filling a few days ahead of time and keep refrigerated until ready to assemble. It needs to chill for 8 hours to set, so make sure you do this step a day ahead of time.
  3. Make the frosting ahead of time. Either keep it in the refrigerator or the freezer. Thaw and bring to room temperature before frosting your cake.

Buttermilk Substitution Tip:

  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own. My Mom never had store bought buttermilk, she always made her own this way. Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice to whole milk, stir, and allow to set at room temperature for at least 10 minutes, and the milk will begin to thicken slightly like the texture of buttermilk.

500 recipes like this one can be found in our cookbook “Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins’ MORE Favorites Recipes” which can be purchased at our Gift Shop.

And if you’re visiting the Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak area, book your stay in our Pikes Peak Guest Cabin.

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Recipe List:
Prep Time: 9 Hours and 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Hours
Servings: 10


  • 1 (12-oz) jar cherry preserves
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (frozen will work too, no need to thaw)
  • CAKE:
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh orange zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (See Buttermilk Tip in description for how to make your own buttermilk if you don't have any on hand)
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

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