OMG you guys. This cranberry cake is the easiest, tastiest cake I’ve made since the peach cake I make every summer. This is exactly the kind of cake I love most to make — a simple cake loaded with seasonal fruit. It’s not that I don’t love frosting – it’s just that I see it as a whole separate food group and I love frosting so much, it can overshadow the cake. Cakes like this are all about the cake and the fruit.
For the uninitiated, The Secret Recipe Club is a group of around 130 food bloggers, separated into four smaller blogging groups, each of which post at different times of the month. Every month, we’re each assigned a blog in our group to look through. We try a few recipes and chose one to post about. But all month, we keep our assignment a secret until ‘reveal day’. It’s been a lot of fun – and I’ve found some great new blogs to follow and new recipes to add to my rotation.
This month, I was assigned Anna at BCMom’s Kitchen and what a wonderful blog. This recipe is a perfect example of things on her blog – recipes that look delicious and are easy to make. She tries to post recipes with ingredients you’re likely to have on hand, so most everything on her blog is very accessible to any cook, no matter your skill level. Some other recipes I want to try include her Apple Pie Liqueur (doesn’t the idea of that sound amazing?), Apple Crunch because I love everything apple, and her Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas (I already know I’m going to get addicted to them), but ultimate chose her Cranberry Tart because we’re in the holiday season. So go visit her blog. Seriously, now!
This incredible dessert could also be used as a breakfast treat (think coffee cake) or an afternoon snacking cake. I made a few changes, partly because that’s just who I am (and luckily Anna takes the same approach to her recipes too), and partly because of my husband’s and my nut allergies (the original recipe calls for pecans, which I’m sure would be a perfect pairing for flavor and a little crunch).
So I added cocoa nibs in place of the nuts, it seemed a fair trade to me, and I used coconut palm sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. This explains a maple color to the batter on top. The chocolate nibs melted and sunk to the bottom to form a little chocolate crust on the bottom. The batter melts through the fruit, thanks to a copious amount of butter, and cooks up like a cake. But you make it in a tart/pie pan. I also took Anna’s recommendation for adding some apple to the mix, and instead of the almond extract (the pesky nut allergies), I took her advice and substituted vanilla extract and orange zest.
To. Die. For. And it will be part of my regular rotation now, just like that peach cake. The kids and grandkids would love it when they visit over the Christmas holidays. Thanks Anna!
- 2 cups cranberries, rinsed and drained
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1-1/2 cups coconut palm sugar, divided (or regular granulated sugar)
- 1 Tbsp cocoa nibs
- 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of one orange
- 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- confectioners sugar, for final dusting before serving
- vanilla ice cream (optional)
- caramel (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan with butter.
- Spread the cranberries and apple chunks in an even layer across the bottom of the pie pan. Sprinkle ½ cup of the sugar and the cocoa nibs over them.
- Using a wooden spoon, vigorously beat together the melted butter, flour, eggs, extract, orange zest, and the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl to form a batter. Scrape the batter over the cranberry mixture. Dust the top with the turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is set. Test by inserting a knife - it should come out clean but moist. This is a moist cake which is probably why it was called a tart.
- Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, ideally drizzled with a little caramel.
- As a final touch, dust the top with a spray of confectioners sugar, if desired.