If necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is its dad.
Over the weekend, Salty Seattle and I set up a date for drinks on Monday. Drinks quickly turned into a dinner at her house complete with spouses in attendance. As Salty was doing the heavy lifting, as in making the meal, when she asked if I wanted to tackle dessert I promptly accepted the challenge. And a challenge it was as it was Sunday night, I has a full day of work Monday and I was just too lazy to trade my sweats for jeans and head to the store.
Hmmm . . . what dessert-like substance could I make with ingredients on hand? Banana bread? Tasty, but not a dessert. Lemon cake? No lemons in the house and bottled lemon juice does not equal rind. Perplexed and resigning myself to getting out of the chair I was becoming one with, I had a flash of brilliance. Cranberry cake. Coffee cake to be precise, reconfigured in a beautiful bundt cake pan with a glaze for frosting. Very dessert like.
Would it work? I didn’t know and didn’t have time for a do over. With the thought that if worse came to worse I could stop at a bakery I dove in. I modified a coffee cake recipe from Gourmet, stuck it in the oven and prayed to the baking goddess in the sky.
An hour and a half later it unmolded perfectly and I went to bed.
After work Monday, it was time to put on the glaze and head over to Salty’s. I perused the options in my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook – yeah, you heard me, Betty Crocker. Lemon glaze? No. Orange glaze? Hell-to-the-no. Vanilla? Maybe. I looked at the differences between the three options and the wheels in my head started spinning. If I substituted the water for cranberry juice, would it be enough to flavor the glaze? And would it even taste good. Utilizing every last bit of powdered sugar in my house, I hoped so.
I whipped up a super-size batch of cranberry glaze – you know how I like sugar – and went to town.
It may not be perfectly pretty, but it sure was good. Even Salty said so, although it’s always possible that she was just being nice. Taste it for yourselves and let me know if she’s lying or not 😉
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
- 2 c. fresh cranberries
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/8 tsp salt
- 12 TBSP butter – seriously softened
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. half n half
- 1/4 c. nonfat milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put cranberries and 1/2 c. sugar in a food processor or mini-chopper and pulse until finely chopped. Move chopped cranberries to a sieve and let drain.
In a large bowl or Kitchenaid, at medium speed, beat the softened butter and remaining sugar until pale and mixed. Add eggs one at a time until well blended. Reduce speed.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add this mixture into the sugar mixture gradually, alternating each addition with the half n half and nonfat milk (combine the half n half and milk). Stop when blended.
Pam – yes, Pam – your bundt pan. It may be sacrilege but I’m just going to say it – Pam works better than butter. So lube those pans up before you put your batter in.
Pour batter into primed pan as follows: 1/3 batter, 1/2 cranberries (spread them out to create an even layer), 1/3 batter, 1/2 cranberries (again spread), 1/3 batter and place in oven. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Add a lovely aluminum tent to the cake and cook for another 20-25 minutes. When a knife stuck all the way to the bottom of the pan comes out clean, the cake is ready to leave the oven.
Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes – IN THE PAN. Then the moment of truth. Invert and remove from pan. Let cool thoroughly before glazing.
Adapted from the Betty Crocker Cook Book
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/3 c. butter
- 2-4 TBSP Cranberry Juice or Cocktail – I used past its prime Ocean Spray (shhhh)
Heat up a 2 quart or so saucepan over medium heat and melt your butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in the powdered sugar. Whisk. Whisk. WHISK. Whisk in the cranberry juice until the desired consistency is reached. Turn off the stove. Remove the saucepan from the stove. Pour that glaze lusciousness over your Cranberry Cake until it’s drenched and the glaze is running down the cake like molten lava.
This would make a perfect Christmas cake. If you want to beautify it, just add a cranberry garnish 😉