Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake

The hubs and I decided on the spur of the moment that we are going to take a week over Easter to visit his family in Minneapolis. I've always loved the twin cities, and I love visiting his family, but I have to confess that my immediate thoughts revolved around how nice it will be to get out of Kansas. Not that we're not happy here- we could be content anywhere with each other, but neither of us are from a small Midwestern town like where we currently live, and sometimes it just feels good to go somewhere that feels more like home.

In preparation for our trip, I get to find creative ways to completely clean out the refrigerator, which will either create a wealth of bloggable MacGyver-type meals or leave me grasping at straws for material. We'll see. In the meantime, let me tell you about this tasty little cake I made the other day.

Ok, so by "little," I meant "ginormous" and by "cake" I meant "somewhere between a cake and cornbread," since it really does remind me more of cornbread than a cake. I do understand, however, that "cranberry orange corn bread" doesn't sound as appealing as "cranberry orange cornmeal cake," so I'll let that slide. . . but I digress. Whatever you want to call this behemoth, it's good. I can't say that it's earth-shatteringly, mind-bendingly, where-have-you-been-all-my-life good, but it's definitely something to keep in your "We're having company" recipe box. And trust me, you'll need company to help polish this one off.

Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake
Serves 18

2 cups flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups cranberries, divided

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round by 3-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, 1 cup sugar, salt and zest. Mix just until thoroughly combined; do not overmix.

4. With the mixer running, slowly incorporate the egg mixture into the butter just until combined.

5. With the mixer on low speed, add one-half of the flour mixture to the batter and quickly mix for 5 seconds. Turn off the mixer and add the rest of the flour, the ricotta and one-half of the cranberries. Mix the remaining ingredients into the batter over low speed just until combined, being careful not to overmix.

6. Gently pour the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top. Scatter the remaining cranberries over the top of the cake, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

7. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Place a loose piece of foil over the top of the cake if it starts to darken. Cool the cake on a wire rack before removing it from the pan.


  1. Where on earth did you find such beautiful cranberries? I searched for weeks b/f I found decent ones in VA during the holidays.

  2. I was just drooling over a recipe for blueberry cornmeal cake and now I am swayed by this beautiful one! Cranberries and orange - what a perfect combination!

  3. *drool*

    I like cornbread as it is...

    And I like sweet best...

    So making a sweet cornbread with cranberries and oranges??? You're a genius!