Monday, December 28, 2009

Cranberry Coffee Cake

I invited my high school friends to come over while I was at my mom's house for Christmas, since many of them also make the pilgrimage home - we couldn't get everyone, but 5 out of 7 of us got to see each other. When they came by, I had a fresh lemon pie ready for them, and also this cranberry coffee cake for something a little more conventional. While I baked the lemon pie under my mom's supervision, I just followed Deb's recipe for this one, with only minor modifications. The resulting cake is great - very nicely moist and tart, not at all dry. As my mom pointed out after the fact, an interesting experiment would be to make our family lemon pie with the cranberry filling instead (since both the lemon and the cranberries would do a good job striking the balance between sweet and tart). Perhaps this coffee cake can also be made with the lemon filling to complete the switcheroo.

Cranberry Coffee Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1¾ cups sugar
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (6 ounces)
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter a 9-inch round springform pan. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.

2. Pulse cranberries with ½ cup sugar in processor until finely chopped (do not purée).

3. Mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together 1 stick butter and 1 cup 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. Add in the vanilla last and beat until well mixed. Add in the flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, mixing with a spatula until just combined.

4. Spread half of batter in pan, then spoon cranberries over it, leaving a ½-inch border around edge. Spoon small bits of the remaining batter over the top of the cranberries and smooth them out gently.

5. Blend remaining ¼ cup sugar with remaining tablespoon each of butter and flour using your fingertips. Crumble over top of cake.

6. 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. Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up.


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