Monday, November 30, 2020

Cranberry Harvest Cake (or what do I do with the rest of these fresh cranberries?)

This is a take on the Almost Famous Cranberry Cake from Sarah Copeland at Edible Living. It comes from her cookbook, Every Day is Saturday, which I enjoyed cooking from earlier this year. But it's more in service of a dilemma I face every year - over purchasing fresh cranberries and needing recipes that will use them up. I know one can freeze fresh cranberries, but this is usually a better idea if one plans ahead and does so immediately after purchasing, and not as good of an idea once they've lingered in the fridge for two weeks, waiting for Thanksgiving inspiration and getting a little wrinkled. I like this cake plain, a little more cakelike than a quick bread, but close enough to just be a loaf slice.* If you want a glaze, please see Sarah's recipe.

Slice of cranberry harvest cake on an orange plate.
Cranberry Harvest Cake

1½ cups (3 sticks/336 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour or (310 g) gluten-free flour, plus more for the pan
1 cup (120 g) almond flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) half-and-half
2 heaping cups (200 g) cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2-3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional, I used pecans because I had leftovers)
1/2 cup cocoa nibs (super optional, I just threw them in because I had them!)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Position a rack in the lower middle. Butter and flour a 10-inch, 12-cup (25-cm, 2.9-L) nonstick Bundt pan. 
Beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until uniform. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, and stir to combine. 
In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the juices and half-and-half, and beat on low to combine, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the cranberries. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it will come to the top of the Bundt pan) and bake on a baking sheet until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with a tiny crumb, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan, and let cool completely on the rack.
*Notes from JennyBakes:
 I combined the juices and half-and-half but this does curdle the dairy, don't worry about it.

I added cinnamon but you could use any combo of favored fall spices. I almost added some chopped crystallized ginger but forgot, whoops.

I looked around and added other extras from the pantry to add more texture - pecans and cocoa nibs added toasty and crunchy and a hint of chocolate to the cake.

I found the cake to be an improved texture the day after baking. This would probably be even more helped by a glaze but I can't be bothered.

Mine is pretty dark because I baked it in an ancient bundt cake pan I bought at a garage sale in Indiana for 50 cents 15 years ago, and I always forget to bake it at a lower temperature and super flour the pan, so half the top of my cake also remained in the pan. I have such a nostalgia attachment for that pan though.

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