Ah, cranberries, how I love thee…..
So tart, yet so additively scrumptious when paired with something sweet.
Cranberries are one of the current love-crushes of the health world, due to their high anti-oxidant levels, ability to fight ulcers and urinary tract infections, and their notable levels of Vitamin C. But no wonder – they are fresh in flavor, bursting with color (so they're great for decor on a holiday table as well as for food), and they just plain make you feel more cheerful. Good for the body, good for the mind….
And since my family lives in a place where we're surrounded by cranberry bogs, making a cranberry coffee cake in October is a wonderful seasonal treat. This recipe produces a moist, fairly crumbly cake that caramelizes a bit on the outside and is best eaten with a fork – which requires sitting down with a cup of coffee and basking in a few moments of just enjoying a treat, made even better when eaten and enjoyed with friends, children, or other family members.
- 3 cups (1 12-ounce bag) fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed)
- 1 1/2 cups whole cane sugar (sucanat, rapadura, etc)
- 2 cups spelt, whole wheat, or sprouted wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, slightly soft
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter a large loaf pan, at least 9"x5".
- Pulse the cranberries with 1/2 cup of the sugar in a food processor until they're finely chopped, but be careful not to puree them. Scoop the mixture into a sieve and let it drain while you make the batter.
- Place the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl - whisk or sift to combine well, then set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the remaining sugar together on medium-high speed until the butter is pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each one. Add vanilla. Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix just until incorporated.
- Spread one-third of the batter in the bottom of the loaf pan. Spoon half of the drained cranberries down the middle of the batter, leaving a 1-inch margin all around. Spoon another third of the batter over the cranberries, smoothing it as much as possible, then repeat with the remaining cranberries. Finish with the remaining batter and sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired.
- Bake until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Cool cake in pan for about 30 minutes, then use a silicone or other non-scratching knife to make sure the sides of the cake don't cling to the pan, then invert (if possible - the cake is very soft) onto a plate, cut into portions, and serve either warm or at room temperature.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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