Cranberry Christmas Cake

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      Cranberry Christmas Cake

      3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
      3/4 cup almond meal/flour
      1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp kosher salt
      3/4 cup sliced almonds
      3/4 cup sugar
      zest of one orange
      1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
      1/2 tsp pure almond extract
      1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
      3 eggs, room temperature, lightly whisked
      2 tbs whole or low-fat milk
      3/4 cup fresh cranberries, sliced in half
      powdered sugar, for dusting

      Preheat the oven to 325° with a rack in the center position. Generously grease an 8-inch cake pan (at least 2-inches deep) with baking spray or butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, grease again, and set aside.

      In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Reserve and set aside roughly one tbs of sliced almonds. Break the remaining almonds with hands and stir them into the flour mixture.

      In a stand mixer bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest. Using fingertips, rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar until fragrant and moist. Add the softened butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract.

      Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar mixture over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 min. Scrape down the bowl halfway through to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated evenly.

      Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the eggs. Beat until incorporated. Over low speed, slowly add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the milk. The batter will be relatively thick.

      Using a large spatula, gently fold the fresh cranberries into the cake batter. Transfer the batter into the greased cake pan, and smooth the top with a small offset spatula. Top with the remaining sliced almonds.

      Bake for 55 min to 60 min, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 min.

      Using a knife, run along the sides of the cake pan to release the sides of the cake and carefully invert onto a wire rack. Flip and allow the cake to cool right-side up. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature, dusted lightly with confectioner’s sugar as desired. Serves 6-8
      balloony  smilie

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