From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Yesterday afternoon, I chanced to comment that the sky, which had grayed considerably, looked like the Thanksgiving sky of my Chicago childhood. Well, this morning we were greeted with the remains of an early storm that left a very Midwestern mix of hail, sleet and snow lightly covering the ground. Unfortunately, that pristine cover weighed far more heavily on the fir trees whose boughs were bent under the weight of ice that had accumulated on them. Ice on our shallow rooted fir trees is a bit like a troubled marriage that cracks under stress. As an outsider, you want to avoid the drama and sound affects that are associated with its demise. You especially want to avoid proximity to those limbs, who signal with an eerie echoing crack, that gravity has triumphed and they are coming down. Sensible folks stay inside until the sun begins the melt that will set everything back in order. That also means that those sensible folks who have food blogs get some extra time to search out a new recipe or two. The days when apple, pumpkin and mincemeat pies were the must-have desserts for Thanksgiving Day are long gone, and the need for something new or different has become the order of the day. I found several new recipes for holiday desserts this morning and this upside-down cake is the first I want to share with you. The cake has a lovely crumb and I think you will enjoy the slightly tart cranberry layer that tops it. The recipe for the cake is based on one that was developed by Lindsey Shere and it was originally featured in the Williams-Sonoma, Winter Seasonal Celebration Series. It is not difficult to make and it would be a perfect addition to your holiday brunch or dessert table. Here is how this pretty jewel-toned cake is made.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Willams-Sonoma
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 pound cranberries
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1) To make topping: Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Put butter and brown sugar in prepared pan and place pan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Scatter cranberries over butter-sugar mixture. Set aside.
2) To make cake: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Using a spatula, fold in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. In another bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, fold whites into the batter. Spoon batter over cranberries in cake pan, spreading it evenly. Bake until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of the pan to loosen cake. Invert onto a serving plate, let stand for 5 minutes, then lift off pan.
3) To make whipped cream: In a bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form. Stir in the vanilla and confectioners sugar.
4) To serve, cut cake into wedges and top with the whipped cream. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
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