‘Tis the 1oth week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Meal Planning Magic. This year has flown by – I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! Most of my holiday shopping is done, although I didn’t have much of a choice because of the upcoming move. I’m really looking forward to some down time during Christmas week. While I know we’ll be visiting a lot of family, I’m hoping for a few hours to curl up with a book while my hubby serves me tea and cocoa (ha! wishful thinking, right?)
Anyway, after last week’s rich, decadent Bourbon Balls, I thought I’d bring you something a little lighter. I made this Lemon-Cranberry Cake for no special occasion, just for my hubby and I to have a sweet around the house. I enjoyed the cake for breakfast (it’s got fruit in it!), snack with tea, and for dessert. With all of the rich sweets that are served from mid-November through the Christmas season, this cake felt refreshing, with a burst of lemon and cranberry flavors. (Note: The lemon flavor still comes through in the cake, even if you decide to skip the glaze.)
Adapted from The Pastry Queen p. 76
Makes 1 loaf cake
Ingredients for the Cake:
- 1 1/4 c. fresh cranberries
- 1 2/3 c. plus 1 Tbs. all purpose flour (divided)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 Tbs. more to grease the pan
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 Tbs. lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter. Be sure to get the edges so that the cake doesn’t stick to the pan! Flour lightly, tap out excess flour, and set aside.
In a small bowl, toss cranberries in 1 Tbs. flour. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about a minute. Lower speed slight and add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With mixer on low speed, add baking powder, salt, and half of remaining flour. Add half of milk, and when incorporated, add the rest of the flour, followed by the remainder of the milk. Scrape down sides of the bowl, mixing again on low speed if needed. Fold in lemon zest and floured cranberries.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55-70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Set a cooling rack on top of a piece of parchment or wax paper (to catch any glaze that may drip if you glaze the cake). Invert cake onto wire rack to continue cooling.
Make the Glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cool sugar and lemon juice until sugar has melted, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until it has come to a boil. Allow to boil for 30 seconds before removing pan from heat. Allow to cool slightly, as glaze will thicken a little as it cools.
Glaze the Cake: Pierce top of cake all over with a toothpick. Use a pastry brush to apply warm glaze to cake. (My cake was still warm when I glazed it.)
Store covered tightly with plastic wrap at room temperature.