Cranberry Clementine Shortbread Cake

February 19, 2014

Cranberry Clementine Shortbread Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

I don't always acknowledge happiness as it wisps and curtsies in front of me on a daily basis. My distracted mind keeps a wary eye on the cloud inside the silver lining. It's me. I worry, I over-analyze, I talk myself out of beautiful happenings and cling to the cold and damp, even as I rail against their tyranny. But I'm hopeful. Also. And I find inner peace in the midst of things I thought would be my undoing. Basically I'm an unhinged wicker basket case over an empty paper towel roll and a red raspberry stain but when life throws actual snowballs (like a site not loading properly), I'm a Boss.

When Better Homes and Gardens contacted me last week and said I was a nominee in their Blogger Awards, I was absolutely floored! Blithe thoughts all 'round. (An elephantine Thank You to everyone who tossed my name into the hat!) It's cosmic to see une gamine among bloggers I idolize.

Voting went live today and...well, my site suddenly decided it wanted to be a magician. A dramatic, angsty pseudo magician (think Gob Bluth). For a seemingly endless amount of time this morning it stubbornly refused to load on my iPad. *Hopefully* the issue has been squelched. When it came back online we had a little heart to heart, shared a few memories, laughed at some of my too up close & personal food photos, and thought about the future. If anyone is having problems, please try clearing your browser cookies. Sometimes crumbs and chocolate end up in places where they don't belong.

I am calm. I have cake and gin and the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack on repeat. 

Cranberry Clementine Shortbread Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

This is a recipe I made several years ago when I was a member of Tuesdays with Dorie. A pie masquerading as a cake, or a cake going incognito as a pie - it's jaunty. Since I took a few weeks off from baking, I turned to something I knew I was already infatuated with. The affair was just as lush and sweet as I remembered.

I wouldn't call the surrounding pastry a "pie crust," it's more akin to a voluminous sugar cookie. The filling is a jammy mix of assertive cranberries and demure clementines. Everyone plays together beautifully. If you can't find fresh cranberries, feel free to use frozen (don't thaw, use them straight from the freezer). Or switch things up a bit - I think blueberries would be dreamy!

Again, Thank you Thank you!! I still can't wrap my head around the fact that this little blog caught the attention of Better Homes and Gardens, but it could not have happened without you. I'm so happy and, aside from the trip at the entrance this morning, I'm actually okay with being happy. xoxo

Cranberry Clementine Shortbread Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

Cranberry Clementine Shortbread Cake
makes one 9-inch cake

for the filling
grated zest of 2 clementines
1/4 cup clementine juice (about 4 clementines)
1 12-ounce bag (2 cups) fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar

for the cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick + 5 Tablespoons (that's 13 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
1 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Prepare the filling: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the clementine zest, juice, cranberries, and 3/4 cup of sugar. Stirring frequently, cook over medium heat until boiling. Turn the heat down slightly and, stirring often, continue cooking until the cranberries pop and you're left with a lush thick jam. Scrape the jam into a heatproof bowl. If it tastes too bitter for your liking, stir in the remaining sugar. Cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In stand mixer bowl, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and cream (about 3-5 minutes on medium speed). Add 1 cup of sugar and beat on medium for another 3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves into butter. Add egg and egg yolk - beat on low speed until combined then beat in the almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed - just until the flour disappears into the batter (don't overmix!). The dough should be thick and malleable.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the ball in half amd form each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Remove one dough disk from fridge. On a lightly floured surface, or between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll the dough out until it's big enough to cover the bottom of the pan. This particular dough is easy to work with and if you prefer, you can probably get away with simply pressing it into the pan with your fingers (without rolling).

Spread the cranberry clementine jam over the dough.

Grab the second disk out of fridge and press/roll it until it's just the diameter of the pan. Gently lift the dough and place it on top of jam filling. If necessary, use your fingertips to carefully pinch and pry it so the jam is completely covered. Lightly brush the cake with water and sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar on top.

Place cake pan on top of a thin cookie sheet. Bake 35-45 minutes or until cake is light golden brown and a thin tester inserted through center comes out clean (save for red cranberry stains). :) Remove cake from oven and place onto cooling rack. Cool for about 30 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan. Cool to room temperature.

adapted from Dorie Greenspan


  1. HUGE HUGE congrats, Valerie!!!!! But so very well-deserved, too :) You were one of the first blogs I started following when I embarked on this blogging adventure and it's been a joy to read every one of your posts. Thanks for all that you do! (And, UM, YES to this cake! It sounds incredible.)

  2. Congratulations Valerie on your BH&G kudos!! So well deserved! Love this gorgeous recipe, and that scrumptious filling!

  3. Your nomination is so well-deserved, Valerie. Congratulations! I've voted, I've tweeted, and my fingers are crossed.

    And wow, what a recipe you chose to celebrate it with. I feel like making a mad dash to the grocery store right now to buy the cranberries I'd need.

    Enjoy your happy time!

  4. You had me at "voluminous sugar cookie" - this is the loveliest thing I've seen all day, Now if only I had a large triangle to appease my afternoon sweet tooth. Congratulations again! xo

  5. Just beautiful! Congratulations on your nomination. Well deserved.

  6. You have such a beautiful blog, both for recipes and for words, I'm so happy for your recognition! Also, pillowy shortbread cake?! Brilliance. This just rose to the top of my to-try list.

  7. Congratulations on the nomenation! Your shortbread cake looks divine.



  8. I am not surprised at all..not only are your photos wonderful..the accompanying recipes are always..I must make that!

    And you write so well.Kudos.

  9. congrats on bhg! that is soooo awesome and so well-deserved! i love your blog so much, and i love this cake!

  10. Woohoo, congrats! I will definitely be voting for you:-) Love these pictures with the gorgeous pops of bright colors.

  11. Hello! Can I use frozen berries? If yes, do I use the same quantity? Thank you in advance!

  12. WOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You SO deserve it! I am thrilled for you! AND for this pie! :-D

  13. @Anon: Yes, you can absolutely use frozen berries - the same amount (12 ounces...about 2 cups). Don't thaw the berries, use them straight from the freezer (or your jam filling will be too watered down).

    I have never used frozen berries for this particular recipe so I can't pat them on the back, but I have substituted frozen berries in other recipes - usually they're just as stellar as their fresh counterparts. :)

  14. Kudos on catching the eye of such a well respected magazine. You have a lovely blog and should be recognized. This cake looks and sounds AMAZING!

  15. I am so excited for you!!! You deserve to win! I'm off to go vote :)

  16. So excited and so proud of you! You deserve it big time, my cookie queen! Now off I will go and vote for you :-)

  17. you just put a whole bunch of stuff I love into a cake...your the best

  18. These look so incredibly delicious, I wish I could have a slice of that right now!! YUM! Thanks for sharing your recipe, looks great!

  19. I love the flavors of orange and cranberry together. And a pie-cake sounds pretty good to me, too :)

  20. Congrats on the BHG nomination! This cake looks amazing, love the shortbread!

  21. oh valerie, congrats to you! how incredibly exciting, you deserve this recognition.

    and this cake-pie creation: what a way to celebrate!

  22. i may have voted a few times in your favor, and boy do i enjoy your writing! i'm terrible at leaving comments, so just assume i'm just stalking your page all the days.

  23. hhhmmmmmm...delicious, creamy, an excellent dessert cake with that cranberry feeling which is so sweet :D

  24. Ohmigod! A super huge CONGRATULATIONSSS to you Valerie. Just shows how if you really put your heart into things, they'll go far. So so happy for you. Heading on over to vote (if it's open for Indian residents too)... I'll cheat an address if it isn't ;)

  25. Congrats on being nominated. What an amazing honor. This shortbread cake/pie looks amazing. I think it would be perfect with a cup of hot tea.


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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