Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bestest Ever Cranberry Cake with Caramel Topping

Bon Appetit!

Ok, sorry...just watching Julie and Julia for the third time this week (thank you Rebecca for lending it to me)!  I found it so admirable that Julie Powell (we are going to have to use some initials here to keep the Julie/a's straight - so she will now be JP) tackled such complex recipes during the work week.  Of course JP had a genius idea to cook her way through what most people use for a door stop and blog about it but I was mostly struck by her and her husband sacrificing a "normal" dinner time to eat at 9:30 or later as those complex French recipes came together each night.  Can you tell I like to eat?

I have to say I didn't know much about Julia Child (JC) except that I knew she was on TV as I was growing up and she had a distinct voice.  I remember there was speculation that the Childs were spies at some point and I thought I heard that they were but Wikipedia does not confirm my shadowy memory of this.  But I thought Meryl Streep was wonderful as JC and I want to take a lazy Saturday and watch some old episodes of The French Chef.  

And for those who were curious about why JC didn't embrace JP's blog as a way to bring cooking to a new generation I found on-line that JC felt that JP wasn't "serious" about cooking (her posts often don't feature the food as much as JP's day and have a "by the way" feel to the cooking) and that she swore too much on her blog.  Interesting, eh?  I thought so especially considering the "cannoli" comment of JC's in the movie!

Anyway I am a goal person so what I found most inspiring was watching how JC and JP achieved their cooking and life goals.   JC ended up with her ground-breaking cookbook which opened the door for her to become a teacher to all of America on TV and JP ended up becoming a writer like she set out to be.  So a goal I set for myself is to post on this blog at least once a week for 2010.  At that point we can decide if we want to continue, ok?

Bestest Ever Cranberry Cake with Caramel Topping

So for anyone keeping track this is my second cranberry cake BUT this one is way different since it does not come from a box (number one) and it has the caramel topping (number two) and surprisingly enough, no eggs (number three).  My friend Rebecca passed this gem on and in her words it is "incredibly delicious."  I first made this with rhubarb instead of cranberries and I didn't love it as much - bland bland bland. 

So if you are going to make this, and I hope you do because it is so easy and yummy, use the tartest cranberries you can find and don't be afraid of the richmess of the topping.  I personally followed Rebecca's advice exactly and made this when I knew I could share if with some friends so we could share in the naughtiness.


1 cup unbleached, white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 tbls melted butter

2 cups cranberries, cut in half

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan.
2..  Mix all ingredients together, that's right mix them up.  No need to separately mix up the wet and dry.  Just save the cranberries for the next step which is...
3.  Fold in the cranberries.  Pretty easy right?  The batter should be creamy and smooth at this point and dotted with cranberries.
4.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Either immediately after pulling the cake out of the oven or while there is about 5 minutes left on the timer start the caramel topping.

Caramel Topping

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla

1.  Brown butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
2.  Add sugar, cream and vanilla and stir to combine. 
3.  Bring sauce to a boil and remove from heat.  Pour sauce directly over cake and allow it to soak in.

Serve while cake is warm.  This will make 12 -16 pieces depending on how you cut it.  Since this is so sweet I prefer to offer the small pieces and you know, you can always go back for more.

Fun fact:  The real-life JP had three cats and a snake instead of the lone cat shown in the movie.  Do you think the producers thought she would be more relatable by ditching the snake?  Also on her blog JP talks about hating Dean and DuLuca but the movie has her happily shopping there.  You just can't judge a person by the movie that was made about them.  :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm just loving the sound of this. YUM! Never thought of pairing cranberries (love em) with caramel. Great recipe!


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