Cranberry Cake in a Dutch Oven

I just love this hearty Cranberry Cornmeal cake for dessert. It’s perfect in fall as the cranberries give that Thanksgiving feel and it’s so easy to make that you’ll be sure to do it more than once! Sweets is something that sometimes goes amiss when it comes to outdoor cooking. If you’re sick of S’mores and want to try something new for dessert on the firepit, try this cranberry cake in a dutch oven!

cranberry cake in a dutch oven

Cornmeal is such a crowd pleaser – I often knock up a batch of cornbread to accompany a meal or keep the kids happy on a road trip. This cranberry cake reminds me of a Thanksgiving Day – in my home, we have a traditional contest we always take part in…

A large bowl which is full of cranberries is placed on the ground with 4-10 players sitting around it and each of them has a needle and a piece of thread. The aim of the game is to thread the highest number of cranberries onto the string using the needle. Each player has 3 minutes to put together the highest number of cranberries together. When the time is over, the one who makes the longest string wins the game. The one who makes the shortest will get a wooden spoon (and washing up duties!) However, I digress….

Cornmeal and cranberries are the key ingredients of this cake. Cornmeal creates a sweet, hearty and tender crumb. When the cranberries are cooked, they become juicy and create light sour taste. When brown sugar is added to the flour the cake will have a sweet and sour taste with a great texture.

How to bake a cake in a dutch oven

Cooking in a cast iron dutch oven takes a little practise, but once you have the hang of it, there’s no going back! Hopefully you’ve seasoned and taken care of your dutch oven, so it lasts you a lifetime. Never place your camp oven over the direct flame – you want to use radiant heat. I suggest getting your campfire cranking away well before you need to start cooking, so you have some lovely hot coals you can work with on the side of your firepit. You can grease the inside of your oven with butter, olive oil or coconut oil to prevent your cake from sticking. Once you have your cake batter in, keep the lid on and shovel some hot coals around the sides and even on the lid of the dutch oven to give even heat. I like to rotate my camp oven every 15 minutes or so wearing a pair of heatproof gloves.

Try out this recipe this fall – I’m sure you will love it. By the way, you can also make this in a standard oven, but you know how much I love cooking on a firepit!

Ingredients you will need for my Cranberry Cake in a dutch oven:

  • 1 1/4  cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream or full fat yoghurt
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

How to make my Cranberry Cornmeal Cake

  • Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl;
  • Melt your butter in the dutch oven and swirl to grease the inside before pouring the rest of the butter into your bowl with the dry ingredients.
  • Add honey, eggs and sour cream and whisk.
  • Add half the cranberries to the mixture and mix.
  • Transfer your cake mixture to the dutch oven and top with the remaining cranberries and brown sugar. Sometimes I just put all the berries in the mixture and top with the brown sugar alone (for fussier kids!).
  • Cooking time can depend on how hot your coals are. I usually find 25-40 minutes is about right. You can check that your cake is done my inserting a skewer or a knife in the centre and if it comes out clean, you’re good to go!
  • Note: Try not to take your lid off unnecessarily as you will lose so much of your heat inside the oven. Rotate at 15 mins, take a peek at 25 and that’s it!



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