The Cake Slice December 2010: Fresh Cranberry Cake (GF)
Fresh cranberries instantly conjure up images of Christmas and snowy winter days, so I was delighted when this cake was voted as December’s cake. I was so excited at the prospect of using fresh cranberries. I love dried cranberries, but until I made this cake I had never tasted a fresh cranberry in any form! I know – shock horror! This is because in the UK we only have access to fresh cranberries for the few weeks either side of Christmas. They are not sold fresh or even frozen, at any other time of year. Because of this, I have never got organized enough to buy them in time before they disappeared. After having tasted them, I am so jealous of people in America who seem to have fresh or frozen cranberries available all year round – they are so zingy and fresh tasting and I adore their vibrant glossy colour, like shiny red jewels.
This cake is a vanilla cake which is studded with fresh cranberries and topped with an almond streusel that turns wonderfully golden and crunchy during baking, giving the cake a sort of almond Florentine crunchy topping that worked so well with the moist fluffy cake. The cranberries burst whilst in the oven creating little stained pools of ruby red juice dotted throughout the cake which made it look so appetizing.
The cake is also extremely moist, although I may have undercooked mine slightly. The recipe made a huge 10inch cake which was too big for me, so I cut the quantities by a third and baked it in an 8inch tin instead. I thought this might also mean less baking time, so I checked my cake early and gave it a little shake to see if it was cooked – big mistake – the middle wasn’t quite set with the result that the centre sank! I left it in the oven for the rest of its baking time but unfortunately the damage was done. However, this didn’t decrease from the deliciousness of this cake, so no real harm done.
I adored the flavour of the cranberries in this cake. They seemed to pop when you bit into one releasing their zingy, slightly tart juices. The sweetness of the cake and the golden crispy crunchy almond topping prevented the berries from being too sharp and made for one delicious cake. My family kept cutting off little slices just to ‘neaten’ the edges.
I am now a fresh cranberry convert and have bought an extra two bags which I have stashed away in the freezer to use at a later date. This cake was also really easy to convert to being gluten free and was so festive that I bet it would make a great alternative to the traditional Christmas fruit cake if dried fruit’s not your thing. Click here to see the other Cake Slice bakers cranberry cakes.
Fresh Cranberry Cake (GF)
(Recipe adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)
160g plain flour (I used Doves GF flour blend)
¾ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
300g caster sugar (I only used 225g)
100g butter, melted and cooled
¾ tsp vanilla extract
230g fresh cranberries
Method – Streusel
Heat the oven to 150C. Grease an 8inch round spring form pan.
Combine the butter, almonds and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Work the mixture between your fingers to form large crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Method – Cake
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high speed until the mixture is lightened and increased in volume, about 5 minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter in a slow stream. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for another 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.
Gently but thoroughly fold in the flour mixture, half a cup at a time. Then stir in the cranberries.
Scrape the butter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1hour 10minutes.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Release the sides of the pan and use a large spatula to slide the cake from the pan bottom onto the wire rack. Cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Makes one 8 inch round cake