Sunday, November 20, 2005

Almost a winner

Cinnamon-Cider-Cranberry Cake
Have Your Cake and Eat It Too Copyright 1993

Butter-flavor no-stick spray
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries, picked over, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup apple cider or apple juice I used cider
½ cup unsulfured molasses

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Generously coat the baking pan (9-inch bundt pan) with cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess flour. (Be sure to grease and flour the pan very thoroughly so the cranberries do not stick.) (I used Baker's Joy and the cake flew out of the pan.)
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt onto a sheet of wax paper or into a bowl. Combine about 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture with the cranberries in another bowl, and toss well. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, oil, butter, until well-blended. Add the egg and beat well.
4. In a small saucepan, bring the cider or apple juice to a boil. Remove from heat and add the molasses, stirring until it dissolves.
5. With the mixer on very low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and molasses mixture to the beaten sugar-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the cranberries. The batter will be quite thin.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is springy to the touch and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto another rack and let cool.

Makes 12 servings. (221 calories, 3 g protein, 5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 43 g carbs, 166 mg sodium 23 mg cholesterol per serving)

You should make this cake if for nothing else but to scent your house. It’s perfect for this time of year, which is why it caught my eye. I was concerned about how the cranberries would be in this recipe and I was right to be concerned. The tart cranberries just don't work, in my opinion, although they did mellow out after the cake sat (I tasted it about an hour after it came out of the oven and then had another piece the next morning.) I chose the smallest cranberries but maybe chopping them would have been better. Or maybe dried cranberries, raisins, apples or something else could be substituted for a better result but these ingredients would probably sink to the bottom of the thin batter. The cranberries floated as if they were still in the bog.

The cake itself is delicious (NOTE: To agree with this statement you would have to be a fan of molasses.). I think it would have been fine on it's own, like a gingerbread. I could tell the difference from a full fat cake but it still had a pleasant texture. And I likely overbaked it since I was tending to my son when I should have been checking on it.

I’ve had this cookbook for several years. I’ve made other recipes from it and they weren't disappointing. The author was a pastry chef who published a few full-fat dessert cookbooks. When her mother developed health problems that prohibited any more fatty desserts in her diet, the author reworked previous recipes and developed new ones with the emphasis on lowering the fat (not necessarily calories, definitely not sugar). She definitely put a lot of effort into maintaining the quality of the recipes and her methods aren’t complicated.

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