For my birthday, which fell on the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I decided to honour the theme and the season with two cranberry laden cakes to take into work. As a great deal of my baking inspiration comes from the blogs I read, most of which are American, there was no shortage of potential recipes to be found in the weeks leading up to the 25th. I always have frozen and dried cranberries in the house but bought two bags of fresh that have appeared in the shops recently to use in the recipes below. I would imagine frozen would work just as well with b recipes, you might just need to extend the baking time by a couple of minutes and give them a quick toss in flour to help with the additional moisture.
I had to bake a bundt as they’re my favourite type of cake and I’m glad did as on the morning of my birthday I received my ‘I Like Big Bundts’ badge from Mary the Food Librarian which I earned by baking on National Bundt Day on the 15th of this month you can see the round up of all those bundts baked in honour of the day, including mine, over at her site. Thank you Mary for taking the time to post one of these all the way over to the UK, I actually squealed with delight when I opened the envelope, along with my birthday cards, on the morning of the 25th.
Both recipes are courtesy of Joy the Baker, chosen for their main ingredient of cranberries, and also because I thought the two together offered a nice contrast of flavours and choice for my colleagues; the richness of a cake laden with fruit, spices and bourbon offset by the zing of lime zest in a light muffin. The original muffin recipe states whole milk, but I had buttermilk to be used. I worried initially that it might be a little too sharp a flavour on top of the cranberries and lime zest, which is why I kept in the sugar topping, a step I often leave out. I really don’t think it was too sharp, these muffins were light and tasty and possibly my favourite thing for a long time. However,I have a confession, I didn’t manage to brown my butter. It’s not something I’ve done before and it just didn’t seem to be happening. I’ve no idea how long it actually takes to brown butter but I seemed to be standing over the pan for ages. I had my iPhone and googled hints and tips but my impatience won out and I just used un-browned melted butter. On a positive note, this means I will have to make them again once I’ve established what I was doing wrong.
For the bundt, the apples and bourbon go together nicely, but I think I would perhaps try using a brandy next time, I even have some orange flavoured rum that I need to experiment with. I just used apples I had in the fruit bowl which were British coxes
Browned Butter, Cranberry and Lime Muffins
for 12 Muffins:
100g melted butter
1/3 cup of buttermilk or whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of a lime
225g plain flour
140g caster sugar
3.4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups / 162g fresh or frozen cranberries
40g muscavado sugar for topping
Pre-heat your oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with cases.
Brown the butter by melting over a low heat until brown bits appear, once the cracking has subsided it will brown quickly so remove from the heat (or just stand stirring for a while then remove melted, un-browned butter from the heat)
Whisk together the milk or buttermilk, whole egg and additional yolk, vanilla and lime zest in a large jug. Add the browned butter and whisk in.
Whisk together the flour, sugar baking powder and salt in a large bowl and then add the wet ingredients, gently but thoroughly combining.
Fold in the cranberries, spoon into muffin cases, sprinkle with a little of the extra sugar and bake for 18 – 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the trays for 15 mins.
The batter seemed very cranberry heavy – almost as if there wouldn’t be enough muffin to encase them all once cooked, but I needn’t have worried, the cranberries were perfectly encased in the batter although they did need a little over the 20 mins to brown nicely.
Apple, Cranberry and Bourbon Cake
450g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
3 large eggs
337.5g granulated sugar (I used caster)
87.5g muscavado sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon dark rum/ bourbon /orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 apples; peeled, cored ad cut into 1/4″ pieces (approx 245g) and a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent them browning
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease a large (12 cup) bundt pan.
Whisk or sift together the flour, bicarb and salt.
Whisk together the oil, eggs, sugars, spices rum and vanilla in a large bowl.
Fold the dry ingredients in to the wet and then fold in the fruit. Joy points out that the batter will be thick and heavy and it’s definitely one that needs to be spooned in the pan rather than poured.
Bake for 60 – 74 minutes (it was 60 for me) and then allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire wrap to cool completely.