With December around the corner, I’ve already started some traditional Christmas baking by making a fruit cake and mincemeat in preparation for holiday celebrations. Although the traditional holiday fare can be a firm favourite for many, some people hate the dreaded fruit cake and are not fans of mincemeat tarts, so I was keen to find a Christmas dessert for entertaining that was a bit different from the tried and tested traditional. I had been eyeing up a recipe for a cranberry upside down cake which I thought I might try so I picked up some cranberries with that in mind. After flipping through some more recipes, I decided to try baking a cranberry and orange cake instead.
This cake is based on a Catherine Fulvio’s recipe for a blackberry and pear cake found in The Weekend Chef cookbook. I’ve made it a few times and it is delicious. She adds yogurt to the batter which makes it thick enough to suspend the fruit and lovely and moist when it’s baked. The cake also includes a hazelnut and honey topping that is layered with the fruit throughout the cake, adding a sweet crunch. The sweetness of the hazelnut and honey topping balances out the tartness of the cranberries. In addition to supplementing the fruit with cranberries, I also added some fresh orange juice to go with the orange zest in the original recipe. This cake could be made with any combination of seasonal fruit throughout the year.
For anyone looking for an alternative to traditional holiday desserts but something that is still seasonal for a dinner party or celebration, this is one to try. If nut allergies are an issue, you could try supplementing oats in place of the nuts in the crumble topping.
Cake Ingredients – 180g caster sugar, 160g butter softened, 4 large eggs, 250g plain flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 120g natural yogurt, zest of 1/2 orange, juice of 1/2 orange, 125g cranberries washed, 2 tbsp. honey.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin with baking parchment.
3. Cream together the sugar and butter using an electric mixer or hand blender until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until combined. Add the juice and zest of half an orange to the yogurt then mix into the batter.
4. Assemble the cake by pouring 2/3 of the cake batter into the tin, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Arrange 1/2 of the cranberries on top of the batter then sprinkle 1/3 of the topping over the cranberries. Pour the remaining batter on top, spreading it evenly with a spatula, followed by the remaining cranberries and topping.
5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Drizzle the honey overtop of the cake while it is still warm. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack. Serve with warm custard or fresh cream. Enjoy!