Monday, February 13, 2017

Family Cookbook- Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake

Ohhhhh how I love cake. Everyone who knows me knows about my passionate love affair with cake. I guess that's a hazard when you're a baker. In school I was a bit of science geek and well, science goes hand in hand with baking. In most other forms of cooking you can wing it, and eyeball ingredients as you go. Not so true in baking. There is absolutely science involved- getting the right combination of fats to flour to liquid to leavening. Sugar to make it palatable. Salt to make the flavors stand out. Fat to keep the texture soft and moist and melt in your mouth. We haven't even got to the frosting yet!

Cake as a food has been around since ancient times. Back in those days, cakes were more like bread and likely to be sweetened with honey. Fruits and nuts often were the only flavoring available to make cakes a little more interesting. Cake a little closer to what we are used to made its appearance in Europe in the 1600s, when the technology of the day included ovens in homes and metal food "molds" and pans. Early icing recipes started to show up in kitchens too, but most were boiled and created something like a candy coating. These cakes often used yeast to rise. The mid 1800s brought us...... cake as we know it today. All the heavenly happiness of leavening ingredients like baking powder and baking soda, cocoa and chocolate, and.........Lord help me.......buttercream icing. 

The Fannie Farmer Cooking School Cookbook was published in 1918 and cakes made regular appearances in the home of people all over the country. Decades later we would see a wide variety of cake mixes on store shelves, packages of flavored frosting mix, and eventually, those plastic tubs you just need to open and spread on your cake.

It's no surprise that my kids inherited my love of cooking and baking. My oldest daughter Debbee baked this fantastic Bundt cake for our family's Christmas dinner and everyone raved. Not too sweet and not overloaded with frosting, if there is such a thing, it was a great way to finish off that big turkey feast. The cake is buttery and soft like a pound cake with so much fresh orange flavor, lots of juicy fresh cranberries and a drizzle of creamy glaze. We enjoyed the cake for our dessert but it would also make a lovely coffee cake for breakfast or brunch.

Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly coat a Bundt pan with cooking spray for baking. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of sugar in the pan. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and lemon colored. Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add the zest and orange juice. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla.

Add the flour and baking powder. Mix for several minutes until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the cranberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes until cake tests done. Cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes, then invert and remove the pan. Allow cake to cool, the drizzle with glaze.


1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons half and half

Stir together until smooth. Drizzle over cake. You can also use orange juice instead of the half and half and sprinkle some additional orange zest over for even more flavor.

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