Fresh cranberries and a simple batter make this cranberry cake a lovely accompaniment to afternoon tea or coffee.
By Aimee Tucker
Dec 02 2015
Cranberry CakePhoto Credit : Aimee Seavey
Fresh cranberries are one of my favorite ingredients to use in holiday baking. Not only do they lend a beautiful red color to muffins, cakes, and breads, but their tart flavor is a refreshing change from chocolate, eggnog, gingersnap, and pumpkin. It also satisfies my New England criteria that cranberries are a local fruit, usually only available in stores for a short time during the end of the year, so everything made with them (meaning from fresh berries — not the jellied sauce) tastes just a little bit extra special.
This cranberry cake is a fine example, first published in the 1980 Yankee Magazine cookbook The Flavor of New England: Holiday Entertaining. I love this cookbook. Not only are there places inside with recipe inspiration for “Holiday Specialties” and “Breakfasts and Brunches,” but entire chapters dedicated to sample menus for festive occasions throughout the year, and things like “The Forgotten Art of Napkin Folding” — with diagrammed illustrations showing how to achieve the perfect napkin Greek cross, lily, or palm leaf. If you spot it at a used book store or library book sale, snatch it up!
To make the cranberry cake (one of the aforementioned holiday specialties), fresh cranberries are tossed with melted butter and sugar, then spread into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan. When the cake bakes, the butter and sugar will snuggle around the berries similar to how they do with upside-down cakes.
On top of that goes a thick (very thick) batter. Use the back of a spoon to gently distribute it over all of the berries. Then it’s into a hot oven for 25 minutes! Very easy.
Out of the oven, the cake proves to be more of an old-fashioned kind of cake than the moist, fluffy varieties we’re used to today. Some of you may prefer this, but others may find it a bit dry… If you’re in the latter camp, a big old dollop of whipped cream helps add some moisture.
So, if you like a cake that’s got a biscuit-like texture, and isn’t too sweet, this may be the perfect cranberry cake for you. I suggest serving it with morning or afternoon coffee rather than dessert.
Are you a fan of baking with cranberries? What’s your favorite way to use them?