Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake

I love cranberries but have never had fresh ones at all.  During the week of Thanksgiving, fresh ones were on sale at our grocery store. I grabbed a bag and planned on using it in something, although I had no idea what.

I was looking for a breakfast idea one morning and ran across Cranberry Coffee Cake.  I found this one on the Smitten Kitchen website and was very happy because I had all of the ingredients.  

So I dove into the recipe and have decided that I'm going to find more recipes to use fresh cranberries in.

Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

1) Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan. (I used a square one since all our circular ones were being used and it turned out fine).
2) Put sugar into food processor, add vanilla, and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl.
3) Pulse cranberries with 1/2 cup of the vanilla sugar in processor until finely chopped (do not purée).
4) Whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
5) Beat together 1 stick butter and 1 cup vanilla sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl.
6) Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.
7) Spread half of batter in pan, then spoon cranberries over it, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edge. Spoon small bits of the remaining batter over the top of the cranberries and smooth them with as gentle of a hand as possible.
8) Blend remaining 1/4 cup vanilla sugar with remaining tablespoon each of butter and flour using your fingertips. Crumble over top of cake.
9) Bake until a wooden pick inserted into cake (not into cranberry filling) comes out clean and side begins to pull away from pan, 45 to 50 minutes.
10) Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up

Jacob suggested that next time we use brown sugar as the topping, and I think I'll try that instead.  Flavorwise the topping didn't really do much, but I think the brown sugar might change things up a little bit.  I think that I'd also add even more cranberries than I did.  I think three cups would be great (but then again I love cranberries).  This was a great breakfast, it was a perfect balance of tart and sweet.

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