I was inspired to bake this gorgeous cake when I found some cranberries in the freezer, leftovers from Christmas. Winter will be over before we know it (I'm a deluded optimist I know) and this recipe is the kind of warming rustic fare that works best after a cold brisk walk in the elements. As it cooks it perfumes the house with the darkly sweet aromas of baked spices, orange and cranberry.
Adapted from the recipe on the website www.joyofbaking.com. See their recipe here.
for the cranberry topping:
230g fresh cranberries, or frozen and thawed, halved
190g caster sugar
90g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Turn oven to 180C (160C fan ovens), and grease and line a 20cm round spring form tin. If you're using a tin with a removable base, make sure you place a baking sheet under the cake tin, to catch the drips from the cranberry topping juice.
2. To make the cranberry topping, melt the butter over a low heat. Next add the caster sugar, water, cinnamon, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil.
3. Finally, add the cranberries and stir them into the sauce then pour into base of the tin.
for the cake base:
200g light muscovado sugar
200g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
200g self raising flour
quarter of a teaspoon ground cinnamon
quarter of a teaspoon nutmeg
quarter of a teaspoon ginger
quarter of a teaspoon ground star anise
grated zest of 1 orange
100g ground almonds
4. To make the cake base, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.
5. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
6. Add a spoonful of flour, and stir into the mixture along with the grated orange zest.
7. Stir in the rest of the flour, followed by the spices and ground almonds. Stir with a wooden spoon gently until just combined.
8. Pour the batter over the cranberry mixture in the baking tin, and bake in the oven for approx 50 minutes, checking at 45. You'll know the cake is done when a skewer comes out of the cake base clean. Remember that the topping at the bottom of the tin will still be sticky.
9. Leave the cake in the tin for 15 minutes, then very carefully turn it upside down to release, and leave to cool a little on a wire rack or plate. Serve warm with yoghurt, cream, or creme fraiche.
This cake was idly baked while listening to John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman 1963 sessions