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.

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Autumnal Butternut Squash

This semester I’ve been taking an online nutrition class.  It’s been really fun and interesting.  Our last project of the semester was to try 5 new, whole foods, meaning foods that haven’t been overly processed.  As a child who grew up with a strict one-bite rule, I’m a big fan of trying new things and was eager to tackle this assignment.  Coming up with 5 foods that I’ve never tasted was a bit of a challenge, but I’ve managed to come up with quite a few things and hope to continue challenging myself to try new things.

One of the first things I thought I should try was fennel.  I’ve avoided fennel because I’m not a fan of licorice or anise flavored things.  So with a brave (and skeptical) heart, I bought my first fennel bulb.  Fennel is a good, low-calorie source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  The whole fennel plant is edible, the leaves can be use as a fresh herb, and the stalks are good for soups, but I focused on the bulb.  Raw fennel does smell very strongly of licorice, but doesn’t have too strong of a licorice taste, it’s mostly just crunchy like celery.  And when I cooked it in this dish, it was very pleasant.  The sweet notes from the butternut squash, cranberries and apples pairs nicely with the floral and more mellow flavor of the cooked fennel.  We served this dish to some family friends and once I told them about the fennel they could taste it, but otherwise it just adds a nice complexity to the dish.  We served this with pork, but it would also be great as a Thanksgiving side dish.

Autumnal Butternut SquashAutumnal Butternut Squash (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6

Adapted from Foodie Crush

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced (I cheated and got the pre-cut kind from the grocery store), about 4 cups
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large tart apple (I used pink lady, but granny smith would work great too)
  • 3/4 cup water (or apple juice if you have it on hand)
  • salt, to taste

In a large cast iron pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add shallot and fennel and sauté until softened.  Add butternut squash and sauté for a few minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Check for seasoning and doneness, add more water if needed.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

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.

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).

Cranberry Pear Crumble

Coming up with vegan desserts is a bit challenging. I really want to stick with ingredients that people might have on hand, so the idea of doing some fruit cobblers/crumbles seemed like a good place to start. When I saw this combination of pears and cranberries I was definitely intrigued. I could totally see how the tart berries would be a great balance to the sweet pears, and it really is a perfect match. The crumble combines olive oil and maple syrup, oats and walnuts for a delicious crunchy crumble. This is definitely a unique spin on some classic fall/winter flavors. I’d definitely recommend it!

Cranberry Pear Crumble

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Joy the Baker and My Kitchen Addiction

Filling:

  • 8-10 ripe but firm pears (I used bartlett)
  • 2 heaping cups fresh cranberries
  • 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon juiced

Topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel and core the pears and cut into large bite-size pieces and spread out in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Add the cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.  Toss gently and set aside.

In a food processor combine all the ingredients for the topping.  Pulse several times until well combined.

Mix 1/3 of the topping mixture with the filling, spread evenly in the pan and  top with the rest of the crumble.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly, golden and delicious.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Cranberry Orange Relish

My mom was gifted this relish about a year ago from her friend.  I tried it and instantly became obsessed.  This was surprising since I think it was only 3 years ago that I even started to eat cranberry sauce at thanksgiving, and now I’m constantly trying to come up with new combinations for this Cranberry Orange Relish.  It’s the perfect combination of tart, sweet, and fruity.  So delicious.  Perfect for someone like me who loves to create the sweet/savory combo.  This is PERFECT for turkey sandwiches, but I’m also excited to try it with egg and cheese, grilled cheese, ham and cheese…so many delicious possibilities!  We don’t alter our Thanksgiving day menu very much, but this is definitely going to be one recipe I insist on making!

This also just happened to be in Cooking Light’s November issue!

This comes together really quickly, but then needs to sit overnight for some marination time.  Plan accordingly.

Cranberry Orange Relish

Makes about 2 cups

  • 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 whole orange, chopped in 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar (more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp crystallized ginger, finely minced (optional)

Place half the cranberries and half the chopped orange (rind and all) into the food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped, about 15 seconds total.  Mix into a bowl with the sugar and ginger (if using).  Repeat with the other half of the cranberries and orange.  Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for several months.