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Cranberry Spice Cake

If there was a national fruit of New England, it would totally be the cranberry. 

Ok. So maybe we would also consider the apple for the title and perhaps even the blueberry (from Maine, duh), but for our purposes, we are honoring the cranberry.

Especially since blueberry season has long passed us by and the best apples were baked into pies two months ago. Plus, it's almost Thanksgiving and cranberries are practically the, wait, national fruit, of, uh, Thanksgiving too...? Whatever. Just go with it. We're talking about cranberries on today's show.

In our humble opinion, cranberries aren't used often enough in baking. It seems that most frequently, especially around Thanksgiving, they are mashed and desicated and turned into CANNED JELL-O! Hi. Gross. Poor cranberries. Slash we love that sliced deliciousness but it's a bit trashy so we have to keep our love a dark secret. Kind of like our forbidden love of Kraft American Cheese singles wrapped in plastic sleeves. Rolled around some Oscar Meyer bologna. 

Seriously. Don't. Tell. Anyone. 

You can imagine then our excitement at discovering a recipe using fresh (New England) cranberries in this month's Bon Appetit. And from Karen DeMasco no less! And, AND (!!!) it's like a tea cake and we love tea and we love that the Brits consider tea a separate meal where you basically eat cookies and cake and tea. And scones. Genius. It ensures you can have dessert everyday. As if you didn't already. Ha.

Anyhoo. Cranberries. Karen DeMasco. Tea. Cake. Done. 

Cranberry Spice Cake
Serves 6-8
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Print Recipe

For the Cake:
Nonstick cooking spray 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
dash of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (8 ounces) fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar 
2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar 
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil 
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream 
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (roughly 1/2 a lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup apple cider

For the Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (roughly 1/2 a lemon)
3 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Coat the bottom and sides of 8 1/2-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray (or use vegetable oil spread with paper towel). Line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper and coat the paper with spray too. Whisk flour and next 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Pulse cranberries in a food processor until minced but not puréed; set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and oil to blend. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on low to blend between additions. Mix in sour cream, orange zest, lemon zest, and vanilla.

Gradually stir in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with cider in 2 additions and mixing on low to blend. Fold in chopped cranberries. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out almost clean, about 50-60 minutes. We recommend checking the cake after 45 minutes since ovens vary. Transfer the pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around inside of pan to release cake; turn out cake onto rack. Peel off parchment paper, then flip cake and let cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile make the lemon glaze. Whisk powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. Spread glaze over warm cake, drip down sides. Let stand until glaze becomes crackly, about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature.

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Reader Comments (3)

I always forget to incorporate cranberries into my holiday desserts but this looks fantastic!

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren at Keep It Sweet

ooohhhh - ahhhh ... very pretty!! It looks delicious :)

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiving The Sweet Life

this looks delicious and absolutely perfect for a Thanksgiving dessert substitute... I love pumpkin pie, don't get me wrong, but I sure do like another dessert thrown in the mixture. Preferably one high in calories. This looks like it might do the trick. Thanks for sharing!
Katie at

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

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