It’s a new year, and time for a new book!  I’ve loved nearly everything we made from Sky High : Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, and I’m looking forward to baking from Southern Cakes : Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebratons.  Because you don’t always have an immediate outlet for a sky-high cake, you know?

Coffee Cake, though – I can peddle that anywhere.  It’s practically healthy.

This recipe, I altered.  Couldn’t find raisins anywhere, but did find dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s.  Also, have inexplicably run out of pecans; substituted walnuts.  All else the same.

I think, were I doing it again, I’d go ahead and make the crumble instead of layering the ingredients separately.  The butter dribbled around weirdly and ended up making odd shapes.  The taste is fine, but it looks funny.

The topping ends up nicely crunchy and caramelized, the cake moist and fluffy.  The rest disappeared rather quickly at work this morning, so I can’t report on how it holds up over a few days, but I hear it does well.

See? weird bobbles of cake.

See? weird bobbles of cake.

Cinnamon Pecan Cranberry Walnut Coffee Cake

Printable Version

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour [I used White Lily]
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs

For the Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Walnut Filling:

  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1½ cups raisins dried cranberries
  • 1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans walnuts
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, melted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 9 inch pan.

To make the filling, combine the light brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix everything well. Combine the raisins and pecans in another bowl and toss to mix them. Place the cinnamon mixture, nut mixture and melted butter by the baking pan to use later.

Yummy cinnamon, sugar, and flour

Yummy cinnamon, sugar, and flour

To make the cake batter, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir the vanilla into the milk. In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer on high speed until pale yellow and evenly mixed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl to ensure a good mix. Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then, until the mixture is smooth and light.

Use a large spoon or spatula to add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir only until the flour disappears. Add a third of the milk and mix in. Repeat twice more until all the flour and milk mixtures have been incorporated. Stir just enough to keep the batter smooth. [Actually, I mixed per Rose and beat it for a minute or so til it was light and fluffy.  The cake came out perfectly light and moist regardless]

Spread half the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the batter followed by half the melted butter. Scatter half the raisins and nuts over the top. Spread the remaining batter carefully over the filling, using a spatula to smooth the batter all the way to the edges of the pan. Top with the leftover cinnamon, butter and nut mixture, covering the cake evenly.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes [I’d check sooner – mine was quite very well done at 45 minutes], until the cake is golden brown, fragrant and beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving in squares right from the pan. The cake is delicious hot, warm or at room temperature.

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Cranberry-Orange Bread

Cranberry-Orange Bread

People are actually starting to give me money for food!  I am so excited by this development.

Also exciting is that I finally broke down and bought myself a food processor.  I’ve owned a little bitty one for years, but never a large one.  So I got this one. It came Thursday, and I spent all Friday using it to make pie crusts (about 15 so far).  I am IN LOVE.  This is the second-best large purchase I’ve ever made for the kitchen — the first is my beloved Kitchen Aid, which has been going strong for 15 years now, and I expect will for another 15.  I did pick up a secondhand 6-quart for the kitchen, and it handles doubled recipes and bread nicely, but it shall never replace my old favorite in my heart or in my home kitchen. But back to my food processor.  It has two big buttons on the front  – “ON” and “OFF/PULSE”.  The buttons, bless them, are so nice and big and easy to push that when my arms start to get tired of pulsing, I can scoot the machine to the edge of the counter and use my hip.  Ergonomic all the way!

One of the things recently ordered from the business was a loaf of the cranberry-orange bread, so now there are pictures.  One of the things I need to do is go through and bake one of everything on the list so that I can take pretty pictures for the website.  Someday, when I have free time.  Heh.

This is a pretty straightforward quick-bread – the thing to remember about quick breads is that the less you mix them, the lighter the final result will be.  It’s okay to still see flour – by the time you get it all into the pan, it’ll be mixed enough.

Cranberry-Orange Quick Bread
Recipe adapted from this one on recipezaar

Ingredients

* 2 cups all-purpose flour (I use White Lily)
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 tablespoon orange zest
* 3/4 cup orange juice
* 1 egg
* 1 cup cranberries, chopped (fresh or frozen)

Directions
1.     Grease/spray bottom only of a 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pan.
2.     Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add margarine and mix until crumbly.
3.     Add peel, 3/4 c orange juice, and egg; stir until moistened Add cranberries.
4.     Pour batter (it will be thick) into pan and bake until a knife comes clean from the center.
5.     For a 8″ loaf, about 75 min; for a 9″ loaf, about 55-65 min at 350F (watch after about 50 min, depending on your oven).
6.     Loosen sides from pan, remove & cool completely.

Cranberry Orange Loaf

Cranberry Orange Loaf

We’re in Arkansas for the weekend, so no baking, but when I get back, it’s time to make filling for a few dozen pies…