Cranberry Buttermilk Cake

This cake was gorgeous.  It just might be the perfect treat for Christmas morning.  The cranberries are bright bursts of tart juice, the batter is full of sweet orange flavor, and the cake is light and fluffy.  With the cranberries, this isn’t a very sweet cake, so it’s great for brunch or tea.  This is a great winter spin on the Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake I made for Mother’s day in the spring.  If this seems like too much cake for you, you can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8×8″ square pan.

Cranberry Buttermilk CakeCranberry Buttermilk Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

Adapted from Alexandra Cooks

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.

Cream butter with orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla, beating well after each addition.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.  Leave a couple of Tbsp of flour to toss the cranberries in (this keeps the berries from sinking to the bottom), then fold the cranberries into the batter.

Scoop batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Chunk Eggnog Cookies

These are one of the cookies I made last week for Carroll Cafe.  Now I have to confess that I don’t like eggnog.  But every year Sister likes to get a carton of eggnog for the season, and usually cuts it with milk because it’s too rich on its own.  So there’s typically at least half a carton left.  Now I finally have a recipe to help use up the rest of the eggnog!

These cookies are a bit cake like, and even remind me of a muffin-top…a little crispy on the edges, but soft and doughy in the middle.  The eggnog flavor is pretty subtle, but definitely noticeable with it’s faint spiced flavor.  And obviously you can’t go wrong adding in some chocolate chunks.  These are quite the seasonal treat, so put out a plate for Santa and enjoy.

Chocolate Chunk Eggnog CookiesChocolate Chunk Eggnog Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 18 Tbsp (2 sticks + 2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
  • cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add in eggnog, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until completely combined.  Slowly add in the flour, mixing until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Scoop the batter onto prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon.  Bake for about 22-28 minutes, or until golden around the edges and set.  Let cool on a wire rack.  If you don’t need to bake them all immediately, I recommend scooping the batter, freezing it and storing it in a ziploc freezer bag with baking instructions written on it to save them for later, or for when unexpected company arrives during the holidays.

Monster Cookies (gluten-free)

These cookies are full of all the tasty things a cookie monster loves, they’ve got peanut butter, chocolate chips, M&Ms, toffee and oats.  And they just happen to be gluten-free.  I don’t normally look for gluten-free recipes, but for last month’s Carroll Cafe, I thought it might be nice to have one gluten-free option.  These are definitely popular with kids, but adults with a sweet-tooth will love them too.  They’re nice and chewy from the oats, and peanut butter-chocolate is always a winning combination.  Feel free to mix in different candies or add nuts to make the perfect creation for the cookie monsters in your life.

Monster Cookies (gluten-free)Monster Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 3 dozen large cookies

Adapted from Betty Crocker

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (make sure they’re gluten-free if that’s a concern)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup toffee pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat sugars, peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in oats, baking soda and salt.  Then fold in the chocolate chips, M&Ms and toffee pieces.

Scoop dough into large balls on an ungreased cookie sheet leaving lots of space between each cookie.  Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until golden.  Allow to cool briefly before removing from pan.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are simple, yet exquisite.  The brown sugar tastes caramelized, giving a rich toffee flavor and nice chewy texture that goes well with the oats.  These are definitely going to be one of my go-to cookies.  It’s especially good for anyone who isn’t that into chocolate.  While obviously cookies are always best when eaten hot from the oven, these maintain their chewiness once cooled too.  I doubled the recipe and got nervous that I’d have too many leftovers, but these are definitely a favorite, so I’m glad to have extras in the freezer!

Brown Sugar Oatmeal CookiesBrown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 4 dozen (using a 2oz scoop)

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups dark brown sugar (light would be fine too if that’s what you have)
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 cups old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda, then add into the creamed butter mixture in 3 batches, mixing until just combined.  Fold in the oats.

Scoop batter onto lightly greased, or parchment paper covered baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until beginning to brown on the edges and center is golden and set.  Let cool slightly, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (I find this is easier to do if the cookies are on parchment paper and then you can just slide the paper onto a wire rack to cool).

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake

This cake is a great way to use the fresh fruit of autumn.  This cake is super moist and filled with apple-y flavor.  Dusted with a little powdered sugar, it’s the perfect balance of sweet.  Perfection is this cake with a cup of tea or coffee, or really get into the holiday spirit with a cup of hot cider!

Fresh Apple Bundt CakeFresh Apple Bundt Slice (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened applesauce (1 proportioned cup is the perfect size)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 small apples (I used pink lady, but granny smith would work too), peeled, cored and diced in 1/2″ cubes (3 cups total)
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously spay a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, oil, and sugar until pale yellow.  Add applesauce and beat until well mixed.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla.Fresh Apple Bundt (A Seat at the Table)

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add dry ingredients to wet in three batches, reserving a few Tbsp to toss with the apples, mix until just combined and then fold in the apples.  Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 48-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Check the bundt halfway through and if browning too quickly, cover with foil.  Allow cake to cool for at least 1 hour before flipping out of bundt pan and on to your platter.  Once cake is cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

This was a fantastic cake.  It was the first thing to sell out at Carroll Cafe on Friday, and I have to say that it is a great recipe.  The orange zest adds a fresh note that pairs wonderfully with the cranberries, the pumpkin keeps the cake moist and tender.  The fresh cranberries are tart and juicy, surrounded by a sweet sugar topping.  I just might have to say that this is the perfect fall cake.

And incase you’re intimidated by making an upside down cake, this was my first attempt at one.  It was surprisingly easy and even though some of the cranberries stuck to the bottom of the pan they were easy to scoop off and put back on the top of the cake and once it was sliced you couldn’t even tell.  So give it whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin CakeCranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-18

Adapted from Bakeaholic Mama

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest (about the zest of 2 oranges)
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, browned

Cranberry Topping:

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until it becomes golden and nutty smelling, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool while preparing the dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake slice (A Seat at the Table)

In a separate bowl, mix sugars, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together.  Fold dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated.

Slowly mix in cooled brown butter.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with 4 Tbsp unsalted butter.  Arrange cranberries in an even layer in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle sugar on in an even layer.  Pour cake batter over the cranberries.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center and comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool for about 20-30 minutes, then flip cake out onto a serving platter.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes and November’s Carroll Cafe Menu

Carroll Cafe will be this Friday, November 8th.  There will be a fantastic line-up of treats once again!  The menu includes:

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake
King Arthur Brownies
Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake
Monster Cookies (gluten-free)
Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Hope to see you there!

And just in time for the next Carroll Cafe, here’s the last recipe from last month’s concert.

These cupcakes are pretty fantastic.  They’re definitely decadent and have the best of both worlds:  dense, custard-y pumpkin pie flavor, and sweet, rich yet slightly tangy, cream cheese frosting.  There’s just the perfect hint of cinnamon.  You can’t go wrong with these, they’re the perfect fall treat, and would also be a huge hit at any Thanksgiving if you’re looking for something a little different than pie.

Pumpkin Pie CupcakesPumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (A Seat at the Table)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, frozen and grated
  • 2 heaping cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease 1 muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Cut in (or grate frozen) butter into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and fold gently until just incorporated.

Scoop into muffin tins, filling almost to the top (they don’t rise very much).  Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 pkgs (16oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the butter.  Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, then add in the vanilla extract.

Caramel Apple Cookies

These cookies were made for Carroll Cafe and were quite the hit.  The toffee bits add a sweet touch, the apple is a little chewy, and the almonds add a little crunch.  These are definitely a unique option and are definitely something I’d make again.  While I don’t remember the last time I actually ate a caramel apple, these definitely easier to eat, and who doesn’t love a cookie!

Caramel Apple CookiesCaramel Apple Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1 dozen cookies

Adapted from Bakers Royale

  • 14 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup diced apple (4oz, about 1 apple)
  • 3/4 cup chopped salted roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Heat 10 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until browned with a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, strain and whisk in the remaining butter until melted.

Add sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl and whisk until fully combined.  Add egg and egg yolk and continue whisking until smooth and no sugar lumps remain.  Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds; repeat 2 more times until mixture is shiny.

Sift flour and baking soda together, then stir flour into the butter-sugar mixture.  Fold in apples, almonds, and toffee bits.

Scoop batter onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes, until cookies are golden and set.

Fall Harvest Oatmeal Cookies

Is it possible that it’s November?!?  Where does the time go!  I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween.  If you didn’t get enough sweets already, here’s a wonderful fall cookie to try to remind you of the season…because clearly if I eat enough of these it’ll be easier to remember it’s already November….right?

These cookies were the fastest dessert to go at Carroll Cafe, and for good reason, they’re fantastic.  I based this off of my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe with a few seasonally appropriate additions to really make them special.  Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds add a little extra crunch (and are full of super good for you vitamins and minerals!), dried cranberries for a little tart, chewiness, and dark chocolate because….well, what’s not better with chocolate?

Fall Harvest Oatmeal CookiesFall Harvest  Oatmeal Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1 dozen large cookies, 2 dozen normal size

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book (pg. 2)

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together until smooth.  Add baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and eggs, and mix well.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Scoop batter onto ungreased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for about 9-12 minutes, or until set and just beginning to turn golden around the edges.  Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack (if you can wait).