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Mandarin Cranberry Bundt Cake

November 21, 2016 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

Alright all, we need to talk about healthier autumn desserts and so I wanted to share this Mandarin Cranberry Bundt Cake for you. Sometimes I get tired of heavy, dairy-filled, sugar-packed holiday desserts. They leave us feeling sluggish and tired in the morning and they take us further and further away from meeting our health goals. I love to slash the sugar and saturated fat in my recipes and I love to offer gluten-free and vegan options. That’s a little hard with cake but it’s possible. I’ve got options for you on how to make some adjustments below. The cranberries and mandarins in this recipe create a festive color while the vanilla and cinnamon make your entire house smell wonderful and offer flavors that remind you of the holidays.

The other day I was asking one of my clients about their Thanksgiving plans and he started joking with me. He told me that dietitians probably don’t enjoy Thanksgiving because we “only eat broccoli”. Not true!! (though I seriously eat a lot of broccoli). I’m hosting this year and planning a mostly-traditional dinner for everyone. I told my client that dietitians love eating – that’s why we got into this work! Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite. The fun thing about this Mandarin Cranberry Bundt Cake is that it can literally be made whenever you see cranberries hitting the shelf – from October through the end of December. 

There’s no denying that Thanksgiving can be a very rich meal. Some estimates suggest an average Thanksgiving dinner could provide 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. Whoa. There are a lot of ways to lighten up this festive dinner and dessert is a simple place to start. For example, a slice of cheesecake offers upwards of 400 calories with 12 grams of saturated fat (a day’s worth). In this Mandarin Cranberry Bundt Cake, I used less sugar and less butter than the traditional recipe. I used yogurt, fresh cranberries and mandarins. Winter flavors like cinnamon and vanilla enhance the aroma and compliment the fruit so that the lower sugar rendition is less noticeable and the cake still tastes amazing.

Making the Mandarin Cranberry Bundt Cake

This cake looks beautiful when you pop it out of the pan with its bright reds and oranges from the fruit. Gone are the days of the boring plain bundt cake. When you serve this to guests or bring it to a holiday party, people will think you spent a lot of time making it but I promise it’s so simple and easy to make! The really great thing is that you can update the recipe to meet your needs; use a gluten-free flour blend to create a gluten-free dessert and use vegan butter, yogurt and milk to make it friendly to those who don’t eat dairy. 

The Fruit

Apart from this cake already being a delicious healthier alternative, the mandarin oranges and cranberries offer several awesome health benefits. Both fruits are full of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, especially Vitamin C to help you fight flus and colds this year. Some people even consider cranberries to be a superfood because they’re so high in antioxidants and nutrients. One problem with cranberries is that they’re so often found in recipes packed with sugar. I’ve got lower-sugar options for you all over the blog. Try my jalapeno spiced cranberry sauce, my maple cranberry sauce, and if you want to get super fancy, my Smashed Cranberry Champagne Cocktail. 

We’re all used to seeing cranberry sauce on the table for holidays but I can’t think of a time I’ve seen either on the dessert table. This dessert is sure to impress. 

The Yogurt

Yogurt is a great way to add moisture and richness to any cake. The tanginess of yogurt adds a unique flavor to the cake while the natural acidity helps to activate the baking soda which gives the cake its fluffy texture. 

Yogurt is also a rich probiotics food. Unfortunately, the healthy bacteria in yogurt are killed in the cooking process so be sure to enjoy your leftover yogurt to feed your gut microbiome. You can also use any leftover yogurt to make an icing to top your cake. Combine yogurt, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to make a delicious and probiotic rich topping for your cake. And if you’re a vegan friend, I highly suggest using either a coconut or, better yet, a soy yogurt. I love Nancy’s plain soy yogurt – it’s high in protein and has a nice texture. 

Do you have any tips for making Thanksgiving dinner a bit more healthy? Let me know! I hope you have a wonderful holiday no matter what you make – 

Mandarin Cranberry Bundt Cake

A gorgeous, flavorful and vibrant way to celebrate the holidays with a healthier sweet treat
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, holiday
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: cake, cranberry punch, cranberrycake, healthy holiday, holiday cake, mandarincake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Ginger Hultin


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter divided (vegan butter is ok!)
  • 6 ounces fresh cranberries (rinsed)
  • 1 11-ounce can of mandarin orange slices (drained and roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk dairy or nondairy
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and 1/4 cup of butter. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then pour it evenly into the bottom of the bundt pan. Add the cranberries and mandarin oranges to the bottom of the pan over the brown sugar mixture.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the remaining 1/4 cup butter, coconut oil, and sugar. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, yogurt and milk.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until batter is combined.
  • Pour the batter into bundt pan over the cranberry mandarin mixture. Bake it for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the top comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then quickly and carefully invert the cake over onto a serving plate.
Tried this recipe?Mention @champagnenutrition


  1. Taylor Eovacious on November 4, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    This cake is incredible! I have been slowly adding more of your recipes to me repertoire and this is one of my favorites so far. It’s so pretty and tasty too!

    • Ginger Hultin on November 4, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      Love!!! I hope you make this over the holidays 🙂

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

Integrative nutrition specialist helping clients navigate complex health conditions to reduce inflammation and feel better.

Thanks for visiting! If you're struggling with a cancer diagnosis, autoimmune condition, gut health problems, or even a medical mystery, nutrition can make a HUGE difference in your day-to-day life. I run a virtual, concierge private practice where I partner with my clients over time to help them improve their health through nutrition. Be sure to visit the blog for easy, plant-based, anti-inflammatory recipes and our "Resources" page for a variety of self-paced programs, books, e-books, and nutrition podcast episodes.

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