Cranberry Buttermilk Cake

Tuesday, November 13

Cranberry Buttermilk Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

When I read a book, I like to be swallowed up by the story. I allow my mind to become lost inside the words, the feel, the atmosphere...so when I put finally put the book down, I see the world through the eyes of the character(s). The lighting cast from my lamps is no longer my own, but belongs on a foggy London street, and the familiar creaky wood floor is the breath and life of a drafty old castle. Oh, how I love to read!

The same applies to working in the kitchen. When I bake and take photos, I like to set the mood by playing whatever music strikes my fancy at the time. Weather usually dictates the ambiance, but so does my idiosyncratic taste in music. I enjoy almost all genres of music, except country (I'll keep trying though!). Yesterday was one of those wonderfully strange weather days. It was cloudy and sunny, and drizzly, and indecisive. The clouds cast massive, angry shadows as they rolled across the treeline, only to reveal the sunlight between each act. It was the perfect mix of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Leonard Cohen, and Vivaldi.

Each recipe has it's own soundtrack. This simple cranberry buttermilk cake mirrored the temperamental brooding sweetness of yesterday's weather, perfectly.

Cranberry Buttermilk Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

Cranberries are only available for about 60 days out of the year, this makes them all the more alluring. (No, canned cranberry mush is not the same.)

Most of my taste-testers found this cake "Not quite sweet enough." Such a shame, really. More for me! True, this cake is not over-the-top sugary sweet. But I think it's perfect. The buttermilk works it's magic and gives the cake a hint of tangy softness while the cranberries offer an assertively pleasant, check-tingling sour note. Plus, who can resist their intense colour, or the way they burst open inside your mouth?!

I think this cake would be the ideal Thanksgiving dessert to polish off a rich, indulgent feast. Besides, someone almost always brings a rich, indulgent dessert anyway, and we almost always say "No thank you, I really shouldn't."--at first. ;)

Cranberry Buttermilk Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

Cranberry Buttermilk Cake
makes about 8-10 servings

for the cake
1 cup granulated sugar + 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling
1 Tablespoon orange zest (about 1 medium orange)
12 oz bag of fresh cranberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups all-purpose flour + 2 Tablespoons for coating the cranberries
2 teaspoons baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 room temperature egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

method
Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan. {Note: You may also use a 9-inch cake pan, but make sure it's at least 2-inches deep.} Line the bottom with parchment paper, grease the parchment and then lightly flour the entire pan with flour. Gently tap out any excess.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup of sugar with the orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it's moist and aromatic; Set aside for a few minutes to marinate. ;)

In a separate large bowl, toss the cranberries with 2 Tablespoons of flour until evenly coated; Set aside.

In yet another large bowl (oh, dishes!), whisk together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt; Set aside.

Add the butter to the stand mixer bowl with the orange/sugar mixture. Using the paddle attachment, beat until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes on med-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well-combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

On low speed, alternate between the flour mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, and only mixing until each addition has been incorporated. {Note: I added the flour mixture in 3 phases, and the buttermilk in 2.}

Use a large rubber spatula to gently fold in the cranberries.

Scrape the batter into prepared pan, using an off-set spatula to smooth out the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar. {Note: Feel free to use more sugar!}

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. {Note: My cake took 55 minutes to bake, but my oven is very angsty. Check for doneness at the the 45 minute mark.}

Remove the pan from the oven and onto a cooling rack. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

recipe adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen

48 comments:

  1. this is such a beautiful cake, and i love that it isn't too sweet. i'm thinking that this would make a fabulous thanksgiving breakfast :)

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  2. I don't like too sweet..this looks so good!
    I LOVE my music and photo food sessions.

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  3. Very tempting! Oh, I love how the cake is interlaced with the fruits...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Valerie this is a gorgeous cake and I love that it's made in a springform pan, no icing needed. Just a dusting of sugar and the glistening sugar sprinkles, the berries, it is just so pretty! I love cranberries, too!

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  5. Wow! This looks so pretty and festive too! It would also be perfect to serve for Christmas!!

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  6. This is just the sort of cake I want to tuck into on a chilly wintery afternoon! The cranberries are like little jewels - gorgeous! :)

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  7. A beautiful cake! I enjoy a not overly sweet cake, especially for breakfast with my morning coffee but if some tasters feel it needs more sweetness -how about a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top!!!
    I was eyeballing the bags of fresh cranberries at Trader Joes last week but just wasn't ready to pick up a bag..now I need to go back and pick up a couple of bags-how's that for good planning??!!

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  8. I think it looks lovely. True, cranberries are tart and not necessarily my first choice. But mixed with the right ingredients, they're quite a knockout. Hooray for leftovers that no one else wants!

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  9. You and I read the same way--I get lost in the characters and imagine myself living in their world. For especially good books it's always a bittersweet moment to read that last page. As for music, I've recently developed an appreciation for country music--but only for some songs. :)

    Love this cake, Valerie. I would zip straight to this cake if I saw it on the Thanksgiving table. :)

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  10. cranberries are to yummy! This cake looks great. It would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

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  11. What a beautiful cake and so perfect for the holidays! I am with Patty - I almost picked up a bag of cranberries from Trader Joe's last week too. This cake is a winner!!!

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  12. I'm with Jean-some songs are nice to listen to:)Now to convince my kids;)Thanks for taking me on a journey while you baked this lovely cake. I also think some of my desserts with cranberries are perfectly sweet and my taste testers say not exactly;)

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  13. Looks just perfect, Valerie! I happen to have cranberries & buttermilk in my fridge right now!

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  14. I anticipate and yearn for cranberries through out the year until their time of arrival in the autumn months. I am craving to make this delightful cake with my favorite autumnal fruit of cranberries and I thank you for kindly sharing this recipe!

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  15. I'm pretty sure if someone brings a cake like this to the Tahnksgiving party I won't say "i shouldn't". It would be more like "I shouldn't eat the whole cake all by myself" but that's a totally different story.
    I listen to the radio when baking :)

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  16. I've been waiting for a sweet treat from you, Valerie! One week without a post - is that a record? LOL :) Yeah, I don't know how some people do it, posting regularly or more than 2x or 3x a week. I'm going back to work early next year, so I blogging is another thing I have to "manage" and "schedule" - ha!

    I love the way you tell a story - how each recipe has its own soundtrack - love that! I'm the same way with books and cooking - I like to get caught up in the story. Most of the time, it's about a travel story for me - remembering the times pre-kids when I could pack my suitcase at a whim and whisk myself away to somewhere in Europe or to New York or to Tokyo...those were the days...ahhhhh....Now, can I have a slice of cake? I almost never say no to cake at parties! And that's what gets me in trouble...and 15 pounds overweight! Teeheehee.

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  17. You've convinced me to sneak some cranberries into my December desserts. Lovely pictures as usual, and great music choice ;) (seeing Leonard play in Montreal in a couple of weeks! Speaking of Leonard and literature, I'm reading his 60s novel Beautiful Losers, definitely recommend)

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  18. Gorgeous cake! I never know what to do with cranberries, aside from make the ubiquitous cranberry sauce, but this cake seems like the perfect addition to Thanksgiving dinner (err, dessert). :)

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  19. Sometimes you need a not-so-sweet cake to balance out the sugar overload from other desserts. Besides, this cake is so pretty how could you not like it?

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  20. This cake looks absolutely beautiful, Valerie. I myself like a cake that's not overly sweet, it really allows you to convince yourself that it's not that bad. :)

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  21. Ariane: Thank you for the Leonard Cohen recommendation! :)

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  22. What a seriously stunning cranberry beauty!!! So glad I found your gorgeous blog today!

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  23. great way to use cranberries and buttermilk!

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  24. Your cake looks incredible. So moist, and the buttermilk sounds perfect!

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  25. Oh how I love to read too, and I love your comparison to getting lost in baking - perfectly said!! Beautiful cake and lighting too :)

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  26. I am the same with music, although I do not really bake. And I really prefer a less sweet cake over more sugary ones myself :) Looks amazing!

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  27. I think this cake looks wonderful and I love that it's not overly sweet. The pockets of red look so festive and pretty.

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  28. Valerie this cake is beautiful and I can taste the tangy cranberries giving my mouth a tingle. You are so expressive in your writing, wishing I had that talent without the work though :). I do know what you mean about reading and seeing things through the eyes of the characters after the last page is read. What no country music? Well it had to grow on me but now it has and I love it but I too like all types of music. Believe it or not sometimes I sit all day in silence on no tv or music while working in the house, but my head is constantly carrying on a conversation ;)

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  29. It's beautiful! I'd love to make it for Thanksgiving week company!

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  30. Mmm, looks amazing! I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so the pairing with the tart cranberry sounds absolutely perfect for my taste. Must try!

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  31. I just baked this today as muffins with an orange glaze and it was delicious! I love how soft the crumb was and the flavors were just perfect! I'm definitely going to use the base for this cake for other fruits. I love the citrus tone. :) Thank you for posting such a wonderful and pretty recipe!

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  32. iscribber: I'll have to try making this in muffin form! There's something so enjoyable about eating a muffin...it's so much more personal than a cake slice. :D Thanks for letting me know! (This would be wonderful with raspberries!)

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  33. Looks like a delicious recipe. Not too sweet is fine by me. I've frozen bags of cranberries before and they hold up well. I also use them in an apple pie recipe during the holiday season, and to take the tart edge off, I cut them in half and coat them in sugar. Might work in this for those with a sweet tooth.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Brett

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  34. I agree with some of the others it sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving breakfast not to heavey or to sweet I can't wait to make it Thanksgiving morning have that and a some coffee. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

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  35. Hi,
    We just made this cake. Very easy and the taste and texture is lovely. Much like a tea cake. We swapped the cranberries for cherries.
    Exactly as you posted. I love it when recipes and photos match.

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  36. Anon: Thanks for stopping by! I Love to hear how recipes turn out for people. :) (Brilliant idea to use cherries!)

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  37. I made this for the first time last night and it was fabulous! The whole family loved it. I will definitely make it again! Thanks for the recipe.

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  38. Elizabeth: I'm so happy that you and your family enjoyed the cake! Thanks for letting me know. :D

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  39. i made it this week! it was very easy and exactly as you described; not that sweet. but i liked that very much (and so did everyone else!). so little ingredients and indeed, the color of the cranberries is beautiful...

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  40. @CaT, I'm glad that you (and everyone else!) enjoyed the cake! Thanks for the visit! :)

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  41. I love desserts that border on sweetness but don't quite go there. And I'm in love with fresh cranberries right now! So many fabulous things to make with them.

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  42. I have tried this once at one of my aunt’s place, but it was looking bit different than this. It was delicious, I still have the taste in my mouth.

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  43. Hi,

    I tried baking this cake for a friends' birthday last week. The key words are not too sweet, and buttermilk. We like off-beat cakes that are free of spikey sugar frosting, and colors...

    This cake tasted delicious! I had a 6" pan, so the extra batter I put inside a loaf pan for some cranberry bread. Not such a good idea. The cake in the pan came out delicious, and the one in the loaf was not fully done...

    In fact even this cake I found a bit too sweet. Instead of 1 cup, I would make 2/3rd or 3/4th cups sugar. Like another commenter said, if you wanted it sweeter, you can drizzle chocolate syrup, ice cream on it... Less sweet the low calorie it is...
    Thanks for the recipe. It is a keeper!

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  44. JoO: Sorry the loaf cake didn't turn out. I was thinking about trying that myself the next time 'round...I'll have to play around with the baking time apparently. :)

    I'm so happy that you and your friend enjoyed the 6" version. How cute!! :D

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  45. This cake was just as you presented it. I served it for Thanksgiving and am making it again today for our Christmas dinner. Topped with a little whip cream it was just sweet enough with the tart cranberries. Thank you.

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  46. Made your Cranberry-Buttermilk Cake for a brunch this morning with a bag of cranberries I had stashed in the freezer from this past fall (there, I admit it).
    Your recipe was a big hit and gone in a flash. I will also admit that I added about a half of a tablespoon of orange juice since I had already zested the whole fruit and it was sitting sadly by the side of the sink.
    Thanks for your recipe and your lovely blog :)
    Best wishes.

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  47. @Anon: Thank you! I'm happy to hear that this cake was loved by everyone. (If you happen to have a spare bag of cranberries in your freezer, please let me know!) :D

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Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie

 

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