Cranberry Apple Spice Cake

Christmas cheer and chaos continue in my household—but, hey, that’s why there are the 12 days of Christmas.  I don’t have 9 ladies dancing and 10 lords-a-leaping, but it sure feels like it with the four grown-up “kids” home with friends thrown into the mix.  Gone are the quiet empty nest days, replaced by lots of lively discussions and, of course, lots and lots of food.

I decided to try a new dessert for Christmas and was inspired to make the cranberry apple spice cake I saw on Lacey’s Small Town Cookie site.  Lacey and I participated in the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer blogging event this month, and I was the happy recipient of a dozen Hazelnut Dusties she had made.  Since we were introduced through this event, I have been a frequent visitor to her site.  Lacey is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Portland with a degree in Patisserie and Baking, so she knows her way around the kitchen!

When I saw the photo of the cranberry apple spice cake she made, I was hooked.  It just screams “holiday!”  On top of that, being from Massachusetts, I am partial to fresh cranberries.  The cake is loaded with shredded Fuji apples (my favorite eating apple) and chopped cranberries, and it is spiced ever so fragrantly with traditional fall spices.  I liked that it has a touch of cardamom, a popular Swedish spice.  The cake is topped with a warm cranberry sauce and whipped cream.  It all adds up to yum!

Even though we were stuffed from two days of nonstop eating, we all made room for a piece of this moist, delicious cake.  I was afraid that I might hear someone complain about the fact that I hadn’t made an apple or pecan pie, but I needn’t have worried!

One year ago:  Pork Crown Roast, Make-ahead Gravy

Cranberry Apple Spice Cake

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Ingredients for Cake

  • 13.5 oz. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 tbl. cinnamon
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 medium Fuji apples
  • 6 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 7 oz. vegetable oil
  • 21 oz. sugar

Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 7 oz. sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 8 oz. apple juice

Ingredients for Whipped Cream

  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbl. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions for Cake

Line a 9×13” pan with parchment and spray with baking spray.

Preheat the oven to 350o F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour through cinnamon.

Place the eggs and oil in a medium-sized bowl.  Beat lightly to break up the eggs

Peel, quarter, and core the apples.  Use a food processor to shred the apples.  (I used the large holes on my box grater to shred the apples.)  Add the shredded apples to the bowl with the eggs and oil.

Place the cranberries in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment.  Pulse about 10 times to roughly chop the cranberries.  Add the cranberries to the bowl with the shredded apple.

Add the sugar to the bowl with the apples and cranberries.  Stir everything together.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.  Stir just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the middle.  The cake will be a deep golden brown after baking.  Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least one hour.

Directions for Cranberry Sauce

To prepare the cranberry sauce, combine the apple juice and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Stir and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the cranberries and the cinnamon stick to the pan.  Turn the heat to medium and allow the mixture to cook.  As the sauce cooks, the cranberries will pop and the sauce will thicken.  Cook until most of the cranberries have popped, about 10 minutes.  Remove the sauce from the heat.

Directions for Whipped Cream

To make the whipped cream, place the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  The cream will whip easier if the bowl and whisk beater have been chilled.  Whip on high speed until soft peaks form.  (I used my iSi whipped cream dispenser—love it!)

Serving

To serve the cake, cut the cake into squares or use a biscuit cutter to cut rounds from the cake.  Top each piece of cake with a desired amount of cranberry sauce and whipped cream.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

Fran’s Notes

As with all professional trained cooks, Lacey weighs her dry ingredients.  I used my digital kitchen scale, one of my favorite kitchen tools.  I was too rushed with holiday preparations to convert into cup measurements.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I highly recommend that you get one—I can’t do without mine!

Source:   A recipe from Small Town Cookie

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