Cranberry Oat Spice Cake with Coconut, Chocolate, and Pecans

I try to keep a well stocked pantry.

I never want to be without ingredients like vanilla, spices, chocolate chips, oats, dry fruit, and many other items I deem essential to my happiness. My well stocked, and organized, pantry has made many a recipe on this site possible. Let’s face it, I am a lazy person and if I can avoid an extra trip to the grocery store I will. One consequence of a well stocked pantry is something I call the ‘little bits’. What that means is I have a little bit of this and a little bit of that – not enough for a whole recipe but too much to just toss into my morning oatmeal. So, when this happens I make recipes of the ‘kitchen sink’ variety to use up the little bits. I also make a list for my weekly trip to the grocery store so I can stock back up!

This ‘kitchen sink’ cake was a HUGE hit with my co-workers. They loved the moistness of the cake, the blend of warm spices, and the different textures and flavors of the various mix-ins. The chocolate combined with the tart cranberry was a particular favorite of most tasters. You could, of course, use whatever bits of this and that you have, but for some reason the combination below REALLY works! You can bake this cake into muffins or mini-bundts, just reduce the cooking time to 18 to 22 minutes. This would be a brilliant end to a hearty fall meal, a lovely hostess gift for a holiday party, or baked into muffins a lovely grab-and-go treat!

Cranberry Oat Spice Cake with Coconut, Chocolate, and Pecans
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
For the cake:
  • 1 cup dry cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
For the icing:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
For the garnish:
  • 2 tablespoons toasted chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon grated bittersweet chocolate
  1. Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a 12-cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium pot combine the dry cranberries with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat then immediately turn off the heat. Allow to stand until the water has cooled to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Drain the berries and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, mace, and nutmeg. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the sugar and brown sugar and mix well.
  4. Add the buttermilk, butter, oil, vanilla, and eggs and mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Add the cranberries, coconut, pecans, oats, and chocolate chips and mix until everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center and it starts to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
  6. Once the cake has cooled prepare the icing.
  7. In a medium bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter, milk, water, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix until the icing is smooth. Season with a pinch of salt if you would like to cut the sweetness of the icing. The icing should be the consistency of pancake batter, fairly thick but loose enough to run down the sides of the cake.
  8. Spoon the icing over the cake, letting it run down the sides. While the icing is still wet garnish the top of the cake with the pecans, coconut, and grated chocolate. Let the cake stand 1 hour so the icing can set before serving.


© 2012, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • I swear by a full pantry. It’s the only way I can pull together decent meals without any notice, AND occasionally, I can pull together blog recipes without shopping first. It’s not often, but it happens! 🙂

  • DesertForTwo – YES! Most nights my pantry saves me from the dreaded take-out. I use my pantry as a source for recipe inspiration, too. This post is evidence of that, in fact! 😀

  • looks unreal amazing!

  • Love the recipe – It’s a must try for me. I frequently have bits and bobs about which need to be enjoyed before I restock 🙂 At the moment it’s dried cherries, which I’m sure would work here too. Thanks!

  • Sue

    This looks and sounds so good, it’s a must try for me. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe and all the others. I am very grateful ;0)

  • I think this has all my favourite flavours in it – amazing!

  • Y

    What a great looking cake! I make similar pantry inspired cakes occasionally, but they don’t usually turn out looking so pretty 🙂

  • Martha in KS

    I just discovered your site through Brown Eyed Baker. This cake looks delicious. I have frozen cranberries to use up. Do you think I could use them after thawing instead of the dried? Any idea how much to use? Thanks!

  • Kelly, I have to agree with you. I need my basic staples as well because if I have to drive to the store … it probably will not happen. This sounds amazing and I love the cranberry/coconut combination. Perfect!

  • I love this! Everyone needs a “bits” cake recipe, and this looks like a fantastic one. There’s nothing more devastating than going to the pantry mid-recipe only to discover one of your staples is missing! It’s the worst!

  • Hooray to all the lazy peoples who stock up so they don’t have to go to the grocery store in the middle of recipe-cookin’! I hate when that happens. I’d rather be lazy like you and not have to go. I love me some moist cake. It looks great.


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  • Mel

    Added more filling accessories and it DOES NOT BAKE IN ONLY 35-45 MINUTES. That’s bogus. It takes 60-75 minutes as do any bundt cakes that have that much comexity. If you’re only cooking it for 35-45 minutes, i promise you’ll get sick from eating raw cake. Loved the recipe however, c’mon logically, any baked item that large and complex will not bake as long as a cupcake.

  • Kelly

    Mel – When I tested this recipe it took about 40 minutes to be done. Perhaps my oven runs hotter than yours! Thanks for the comment, and for reading the blog and trying the recipes!

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