Wednesday, December 16, 2015

cranberry spice cake.

I have a thing for farmer's markets. (That should come as no surprise.) But my farmer's market obsession does not stop with our neighborhood one.  (Of course not.) When we travel, I seek out the markets in those cities; I like browsing what's seasonal, I like seeing what the crowd is like, and I really like buying things that will raise the eyebrows of TSA agents. Things like a sack of hulless oats (they tested me by asking how to cook them), goat's milk yogurt (which is apparently considered a liquid and will get confiscated - not that I'm still upset about that...), cheeses(!), and bags of local cranberries. 

When Tyler and I were in Chicago last month, I bought lots of cranberries.  I didn't need them but it was a week and a half until Thanksgiving and all I could think about was cranberry and pear chutney. I've never been practical a day in my life so I saw no reason why I shouldn't buy loads of cranberries and pack them in my carry-on bag (the TSA loves me).    

So I made chutney (which was a real crowd-pleaser) and was then left with an over-abundance of leftover cranberries and a lack of inspiration. My default cranberry recipe is this upside-down cake which is so utterly dreamy but far more labor intensive then I had the energy for.  I looked to Google for help and was feeling absurdly defeated as everything just felt too fussy and finally, on page 10 (no one goes to page 10 unless they are feeling truly defeated) I stumbled across a recipe that was everything - simple, seasonal, and spiced.   

This is that cake and I think it's going to be a new go-to around here.  It comes together in under 10 minutes, it bakes up beautifully, and it feels like winter (even if it doesn't literally feel like winter around here).    

Cranberry Spice Cake
Recipe adapted from The Year in Food 

This is not a very sweet cake which means it's completely acceptable for breakfast (WEE!) or as a side to an afternoon tea. The original recipe called for 2 cups of almond flour and while I love almond flour, I don't like cakes that cost $10 to make so I halved it and replaced it with some wheat flour.  You can do either.  I would have added slivered almonds to the top but I was out so I omitted it - it's brilliant either way (though prettier with the almonds).  

1 cup almond meal or almond flour 
1 cup wheat flour (whole wheat, rye, white, buckwheat would all work)
2/3 cup brown sugar or muscovado 
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs, room temperature, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
Zest of two oranges
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds (optional)
1 tablespoons coarse sugar + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, wheat flour (if using) brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder and soda, and sea salt.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs with the melted butter, and orange zest and juice. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, mixing just until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the fresh cranberries.

Thoroughly grease and then flour a round 9-inch baking pan. Pour the batter into the pan.  Sprinkle with the coarse sugar and cinnamon mixture then  scatter the sliced almonds over the batter (if using). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Save for a little cranberry juice.) The cake will become very fragrant when it’s nearly done. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Slice into 8 portions. 


  1. Just discovered your blog! I'm in Jersey City as well. Cranberries are the best.

    1. So happy to meet a fellow Jersey City blogger!