Friday, January 14, 2011
The Cake Slice, Belated December Edition: Cranberry Cake
Lately it seems that every time I pop on here it is to apologize. I keep missing my assigned posting dates, even though I have been preparing (most of) the recipes. It is a shame that I didn't make time to talk about this Cranberry Cake, though, because it was delicious, seasonal, and a perfect addition to the holiday table. It was lost in a late December frenzy, but I want to belatedly share it with you because it was gorgeous and just so good.
This cranberry cake is the third cake that I have made as a member of the Cake Slice Bakers, and it was, by far, my favorite. I really liked October's pumpkin cake, but I thought that it could use a bit of tweaking. November's cinnamon pudding cake was not terrible (and Andrew really liked it), but it will not be making any repeat appearances in my apartment. This cake, however, was almost perfect. It starts with a butter and egg laden batter, the richness of which is offset by an entire bag of fresh cranberries, and is topped with a crunchy almond streusel that provides some textural contrast. Not only is this cake delicious, it is also an absolute stunner, golden and studded with ruby fruit.
Another positive attribute of this cake is the ease of preparation. The batter and streusel are made with melted butter, so if you, like me, have a tendency to forget to leave your butter at room temperature, you don't have to delay your baking until the butter softens. The batter does take a significant amount of beating (about seven minutes total), but if you have a stand mixer you can stand back and let if do the work for you. The recipe calls for a ten inch springform, but I only have a nine inch and my cake suffered no ill effects. It did take significantly longer than an hour to bake, but I was rewarded with a gorgeously tall cake.
Because the cake is made with fresh cranberries I can imagine it becoming a part of the Thanksgiving buffet or holiday spread, but it could make an out of season appearance with a bag of frozen cranberries. I can also see this cake with blueberries (and a bit less sugar in the batter) and some freshly grated lemon zest. Now I have another reason (besides the two feet of snow that piled up this week) to look forward to summer.
Please visit the Cake Slice Blogroll to see how big a hit this cake was with our group of bakers.
Recipe from Lauren Chattman's Cake Keeper Cakes
For the Streusel:
1 c. sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
For the Cake:
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
Make the Streusel:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 10 inch springform pan. Combine the almonds, butter, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Work the mixture with your fingers to form large crumbs, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the Cake:
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixture, and beat on medium-high until the mixture is lightened and increased in volume, about 5 minutes. With the mixture on low, add the butter in a slow stream. Turn the mixture to medium and continue beating for 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.
Using a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold in the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Fold in the cranberries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, an hour to an hour and 10 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then release the sides on the pan and, using a large spatula, slide the cake from the pan bottom to the wire rack. Cool completely, then cut into wedges and serve.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper, or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.