Happy Friday!! Can you believe it's the last one before Thanksgiving?! Have you decided on your menu yet? I know I'm going to my mom's house, but that's about it. As the resident dessert maker in the extended crew, I will definitely be bringing the sweets but at this point other than this Cranberry-Apple Crumble Pie and this Pecan Pie or this Maple Pecan Tart (or a chocolate pecan pie I just saw that is calling out to me), I am still undecided. Do you make just one or two things or is there a "dessert table"? You can probably guess which way I lean. Why have only 1 or 2 desserts when you can have 10, right?!! And what about those who prefer cake over pie? Wouldn't want to disappoint anyone now, would we?!! If including cake on your table this holiday (or any time, really) is critical, you can't go wrong with any of the recipes from Christie Matheson's Cake Simple cookbook, my Famous Fridays honoree this week. The book is filled with more than 50 recipes for classic and not so classic bundt cake varieties, including this delightful, tender and extremely flavorful Cranberry Almond Pound Cake. It's absolutely going on my list of things-to-make-while-my-boys-are-home-for-Thanksgiving!! I know they're going to love it and so will you!!
I'd like to take credit for posting this on the same week as National Bundt Cake Day (Nov.15) but the truth is I actually had no idea that the holiday even existed. Who knew I could be so "in"?!! That's certainly a first! But all trendiness aside, bundt cakes are some of my favorites kinds to make--they're so simple and homey and don't require a special occasion. Cake Simple has great recipes for ones like Triple Chocolate Banana Bread Bundt Cake (I've made this and it's amazing), PB&J Bundt Cake, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Pink-Peppercorn (for when I'm feeling kinda adventurous) and many more, even mini-bundt varieties. The book is filled with great color pictures too and lots of helpful tips. If you know someone who likes to bake, it would make a great holiday gift.
Now on to the cake--remember yesterday's post where I told you to whip up this whole-berry cranberry sauce? Well, here's one of the reasons why. A tunnel of cranberry sauce runs through the buttery, moist crumb, perfectly balancing out the sweetness with it's tartness. It's so pretty looking too!
And then there are the toasted almonds which you sprinkle on top before the cake bakes but which when inverted actually becomes the bottom layer. Their crunch adds just the right touch.
The addition of créme fraiche to the batter results in a soft lush cake that will have you slicing off "just another sliver" again and again!!
And as if I haven't already given it enough of a big sell, this cake would also be amazing to serve at any sort of brunch you might be hosting or going to over the holiday weekend. It's extremely versatile--just as good for breakfast as after dinner! Or instead of dinner...hmmn, is that an option? Stop me now!! Pick up a copy of Cake Simple and start churning out "bundts" to your hearts delight. And have a great weekend--more Thanksgiving goodies to come--so many recipes, so little time!!
Cake Simple's Cranberry Almond Pound Cake-Famous Fridays
Makes 10-12 servings
You will need a 10 or 12 cup Bundt pan for this.
Prep Time for Cranberry Sauce: 15 minutes (plus several hours of chilling): Prep Time for Cake: 15-20 minutes; Bake Time: About 50-55 minutes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
- 2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup créme fraiche (or sour cream, but créme fraiche is better--you can even make your own--recipe is posted at the bottom)
- 1 batch this homemade whole berry cranberry sauce or 2 cups canned whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan and set aside (alternatively you could use a nonstick cooking spray with flour in it--I've done it before and it's worked well too)
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda and powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed for a few minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. One at at time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternating with the créme fraiche (in two increments) so that you begin and end with the flour. Beat only until each addition is incorporated and scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. You don't want to overbeat here.
4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with half of the cranberry sauce. Pour the rest of the batter over that and then top with the rest of the cranberry sauce. If you like, you can take a butter knife and swirl the sauce through the batter a bit. Top with the chopped almonds.
5. Bake the cake for about 50 minutes. If you've used the 12 cup pan, you will want to start checking around 40 minutes. The cake should look golden brown and a tester inserted into the center should come out clean of cake batter--it's ok if there is some cranberry sauce sticking to it.
6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and let it cool completely. You can definitely make this a day ahead of serving. Keep well wrapped at room temperature. Leftovers should last at least 3-4 days well wrapped at room temperature.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CREME FRAICHE
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
Mix the heavy cream with the buttermilk in a bowl and cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature in a warm room for at least 8 hours. Stir the mixture. If it's thick and creamy like sour cream, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container. If it's not completely thick yet, cover it again and let it sit for a few more hours.
Note: Recipe adapted from Cake Simple by Christie Matheson. The original recipe calls for a cranberry glaze to top the cake. I really don't think it needs it all, but if you like you can mix together a cup of confectioners' sugar. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and a tablespoon of cranberry juice until smooth and drizzle it over the cooled cake.