Saturday marks the last day that Green City is outdoors (and right outside my apartment). Luckily the market continues on throughout the winter, but it moves 8 blocks north which requires a chilly walk, bus or bike ride to attend. Although I have been enjoying the colors of fall and the thoughts of the upcoming holiday season, I will admit that it is going to be sad to no longer have the late summer produce explosion of the market to be inspired by. I did prepare a little bit by stuffing my freezer full of pitted sour cherries and sweet corn cut from the cob that will surely brighten a mid-winter day. Last week I was excited to see a new fall arrival to the markets: cranberries.
I like squashes and pumpkins like everyone else, but fresh cranberries are a new experience altogether. Prior to my food blog, cranberries always had the association of that stuff from a can that no one touched at Thanksgiving or chugging the juice to ward off a high school UTI. However, that all changed last year with this Cranberry Nut Bread. I picked up a bag full of cranberries on a whim at the market and that purchase became my first picture to get accepted at Tastespotting. This year I looked for a new recipe for my impulse cranberry buy.
After I learned about Gourmet’s demise, I decided to check out The Gourmet Cookbook from the library to see if it was a book I should add to my wish list (PS-it is). One of my favorite things about the Chicago Public Library is the fact that they have a pretty good cookbook selection and a great online system where you just request books and they deliver them to any location in the city for you to pick up. (Any Chicago readers out there without a CPL Card, get on it, it is awesome.) I simply went to the index and found the cranberry coffee cake recipe and immediately knew that I wanted to make it. I also have a cranberry chutney recipe tucked away to end up on the Thanksgiving table.
This was a perfectly fluffy cake that was just a tad sweet and would be perfect at a brunch table or just have a slice with a cup coffee.
Cranberry Coffee Cake (printable recipe)
Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
- 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
- 1 3/4 granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk (I used 1% because thats what I had, Gourmet calls for Whole)
- Optional: confectioners’ sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.
Pulse cranberries with 1/2 cup sugar in a food processor until finely chopped but don’t go too far that then end up pureed. Transfer to a fine mesh sieve and let drain over the sink.
Stir or sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Combine butter and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy, around 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and make sure it is all mixed in until adding the second. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternatively in 3 batches (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour) and mixing until just incorporated.
Spread one third of the batter evenly in the loaf pan. Spoon half of drained cranberries evenly over batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. I used an offset spatula with great success. Top with another 1/3 of batter and remaining cranberries, then cover with remaining batter.
Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
Serves 6 to 8. Can be made one day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature. Reheat if desired. I sent it with Dave to work after 2 days and he says the leftovers disappeared quickly.