15 May 2006

Cranberry ~ Orange Coffee Cake

Ahhhh, what to make to accompany the luxurious purchase of organic heavy cream? Why, an ethereally light cranberry orange cake from the Moosewood of course! For those wondering about my tiny recipe archive, it's true. My sweet cookbooks are limited to: "Moosewood Restaurant: Book of Desserts" a Christmas present from dad, "In the Sweet Kitchen" by Regan Daley (a gift from Mom), "Professional Baking" by Wayne Gisslen (a post- George Brown Baking course reference book), "Home Baking" by Toronto's Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (a wedding present from the actor), and a small recipe box section of photo copied and scrawled recipes. My hopes for the future do involve a larger personal collection of baking and dessert books-- however, this will follow the paying off of the student loan and the acquisition of a reliable day job! In the meantime I rely on the Moosewood for many recipes that can be whipped up without making an additional run to the grocery store or a large dent in the weekly food expenses. Funny how these often turn out to be the most satisfying recipes as well! I have attempted a few desserts from Daley's book--one was outstanding and some others required more time and cost than were warranted for the results. Has anyone found this with her recipes? Antonio approximated the cost of one tart I made at around $60 (but this of course included much more of some expensive ingredients than could be used for just 1 dessert--organic almond extract for example)!

The tart sweet cranberry topping was so deserving of its buttery light base! My first attempt at this recipe, it will definitely become an old standard, especially because the ingredients will usually be on hand.

Recipe, slightly adapted:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar (or combo or white sugar + molasses)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 cup milk (or cream!)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups rinsed cranberries (fresh or frozen & thawed)
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (or white + molasses)
1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel and/or
dash of grand marnier or cointreau
pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a light coloured 8" square or 9" round pan
2. Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a small bowl
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light, add egg and mix well
4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and juice and ending with the vanilla, mixing gently to incorporate
5. Scrape into the pan and bake for about half an hour, until the top springs back and a skewer emerges clean
6. While the cake bakes, combine the topping ingredients in a small pot over medium heat, stirring until the berries soften, about 10 minutes--put aside to cool
7. After cake has cooled about 10 minutes, unmould onto a plate and cover with cranberry topping
8. Serve with softly whipped organic cream, or ice cream, or even thick yogurt... (the whipped cream had already been devoured by the time I got around to taking the photo--I'm sure you can use your culinary imaginations!)


Anonymous linda said...

Great cake! Looks delicious! I just ordered a 'few' (14!) cookbooks on baking, chocolate and the like...I know...I went a little crazy! But that's what happens when you read other people's blogs and see what books they use. Have to be patient though, I opted for normal (read: slow) delivery... BTW In the Sweet Kitchen is one of them

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Ivonne said...

Ciao Kristina,

What a glorious cake! The cranberry topping is stunning.

As for the cookbook collection, it's not how many you have it's what you do with them. You are obviously a Queen in the kitchen and clearly you know how to select and make the most delicious recipes.

Therein lies your greatness as a cook and baker. The cookbooks will come ... all in good time. In the meantime, keep up the fantastic posting.


2:59 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

That looks seriously good Kristina.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Linda- Thanks! Sounds like a good shopping spree... Interested to hear your take on the recipes in "In the Sweet Kitchen," especially because many of the ingredient lists are so long!

Ivonne--Thanks so much--it was tasty and especially pretty with whipped cream on top, to contrast the dark red. I always enjoy selecting recipes and modifying them to suit what I have on hand as well as our budget. It's actually become kind of fun! Thank you for your compliments-- your recipes serve as a great addition to my collection.

Barbara- Thanks! I wish I could have all these lovely ladies over for a coffee or tea and a slice of cake... I guess there are limits to making international friends!

2:41 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Hi Kristina,

I agree with Ivonne. I enjoy your blog, that's why I'm tagging you for the recipe meme. No pressure, no worries.

11:24 PM  
Blogger krissy said...

hi kristina, i clicked on a link on someone's blog and it led me over here. (sorry i forget who, it wasn't one i'd ever seen before.) you have some fantastic recipes over here...i'm definitely bookmarking you to come back and try some. are you vegetarian or do you just enjoy cooking veggie-friendly food? just curious because it seems we have some things in common: i'm vegetarian, i'm a teacher, i live in toronto, i'm also married, and my name is kristina...yes, with a "k"! anyhow, nice to meet you. i'm sure i'll be by again soon....

3:44 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Mmm. Cranberries are a favourite. East coast staple and time well spent every summer picking these little gems from the mozzie infested bogs. You'd think I'd be immune!
I agree with your "In the Sweet Kitchen" comments. Although a nice book, I have much the same feeling: Lovely but not very budget friendly. And besides, there is nothing like la cucina povera :) I picked up an old second hand copy of the Joy of Cooking for $7.50 a few years back. Second hand bookstores are the student and graduates best friend.
Also MUST echo the sentiments expressed about that cake. Those beautiful tangy berries and cream. Fantastic!

1:29 AM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Hi Krissy,
Thanks for stopping by! Your blog looks mighty cool and I'm sure I'll browse often.... Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, my trip stunted my blog quite a bit! BTW: I was vegetarian for about 10 years but have recently decided to start eating a moderate amount of fish only, for the good fats and the protein, but also to give me more options when I go to Sicily for one month at a time! It's really funny that you are also a teacher...as time goes on maybe I'll have questions to ask you!

Mary--I agree with you about the cucina povera...I'm not sure why but for some reason it's more enticing to me at this stage of my life...(hmm, maybe for the time and the expense!) I'm glad you liked my cake--hope it inspires you to try your own, and don't forget the cream!

6:06 PM  

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