I know I said it last year, but it bears repeating: I cannot consider a table without cranberries on Thanksgiving. The trouble with cranberry sauce, that old Thanksgiving standby, is that even those of us who adore it can still only eat so much of it, and some people just pass it up all together. Really though, it’s more of a relish or chutney than a dish itself, so you can’t expect people to take big bucketsful back to their seat. That still doesn’t stop me from planning on a twelve ounce bag for every 2 – 3 guests, despite all rational common sense.
Last year I decided to get my cranberry fix in twofold; one with my No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake, the other my Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sangria. The cheesecake softens the sharp sourness of the cranberries, while the sangria balances it with sweetness. But I still want that characteristic tartness of real cranberries. Enter Cranberry Spice Cake.
Whole, fresh cranberries are folded into a cake batter, spiked with warming, cozy spices that were practically made for the season: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. The tart, lip puckering bite of the cranberries are contrasted by these so well—a bit like sprinkling chili powder over fresh peaches or papaya, or cayenne pepper in chocolate—but I take it a step further by steeping fresh ginger in cream, which I sweeten, whip, and cascade over the punchy cake. I love the cream with it, and quite a bit of it, because I think it takes the edge off the berries a bit, but still leaves their sharpness ever-present.
If you’re looking for something a little different from pumpkin or pecan pie you can’t go wrong with this, especially you’re a cranberry lover like me. It’s the perfect dessert for the holidays and, off the record, any leftovers make a pretty good breakfast. I mean, I would imagine it would… Not like I would do that.
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|8 - 10||10 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|40 - 45 minutes||2 - 8 hours|
- 1/2 cup butter softened at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 t-spoon baking powder
- 1/4 t-spoon baking soda
- 1/2 t-spoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t-spoon grated nutmeg (from whole nutmeg, preferred)
- 1/8 t-spoon ground cloves
- 1/8 t-spoon ground allspice
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk whole milk
- 1 t-spoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- Small pinch kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 4 - 6 tablespoons powdered s sifted
- 2 ounces fresh ginger roughly chopped
- Roughly chop the ginger and add it to the cream. Stash this in the fridge for at least 2, but up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a 9” cake pan.
- In one bowl toss the whole cranberries with the tablespoon of flour. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients; in another add the eggs. Mix the milk, sour cream, and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup.
- In a standup mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Turn the speed to low and add the egg and yolks one at a time, allowing each one to incorporate before adding the next. Don’t forget to scrape the bowl from time to time.
- With the mixer still on low, add about a third of the dry mix. Let it beat for just a moment so it’s mostly incorporated before adding a third of the liquid. Repeat this step twice more—dry, wet, dry, wet—and then shut the mixer off. Don’t worry if it’s not totally incorporated yet.
- Tumble in the flour-coated crans and fold with a rubber spatula until they’re evenly distributed.
- Pour the cake into the prepared pan and even out. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until the center is baked through.
- Remove the pan from the oven and set on a cooling wrack for about 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the cooling wrack and let it cool completely.
- When the cake is cooled, strain the cream through a sieve into a large bowl to catch the ginger. Add some powdered sugar to the zippy cream, whisk to soft peaks, and either cascade the tart cake with the cream or serve alongside.