Monday, April 2, 2012

Cranberry Apple Cake

We were gone all weekend so there was little cooking done and I figured what we ate won't offer any information. We were invited to a family weekend with an organization we have been involved with for ages and they prepared all our meals.
I did have one last recipe from last weekend's bake fest to share so it's perfect for today. This week I'll be working on a couple of lemon recipes. I am running low on several ingredients so baking is not an option. I'll be making lemon curd (after a quick trip to the store to get eggs) and lemon syrup. We'll see how much lemon juice we have left over after that and see what we can make. The lemon syrup takes 3 of our 4 cups of lemon juice but we might halve it to make more curd. Those are what we are looking forward to so it will all depend.

This cake is actually a cranberry pear walnut cake but I ran out of pears and walnuts in my bake fest so I subbed apples. I bought a bag of fresh cranberries in November and threw them in the freezer. Cranberries freeze beautifully and I wanted them for future projects. The bag had more than two cups (1 pound bag) so I cleaned out the less than desireable berries and then dumped what was left in the batter. The cake was filled with the tart berries which I liked. It was less sweet than the other cakes (I also skipped the caramel sauce because everything else was so gooey sweet). If you like cranberries this is a perfect cake for you.
I did use a combination of oat and whole white wheat flours.

Cranberry-Pear-Walnut Cake
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup pear, peeled, cored, and chopped (or apple)
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1 Caramel Sauce, recipe below
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. Combine 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and allspice; set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating on low after each addition until combined. In a bowl toss cranberries, pear, and walnuts with remaining 1/2 cup flour; gently stir into batter. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan; cool on rack. Top cake with whipped cream, cranberries, and pear slices. Serve with Caramel Sauce. Makes 12 servings.

Caramel Sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup half-and-half or light cream
2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, half-and-half or light cream, and corn syrup. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil gently for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool slightly.

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