Firstly, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. No, I am not blogging on Christmas morning 🙂 These blog posts are usually written and then scheduled for the morning.
Some of us are busy. Some of us may finally have the time to sit and read a blog post instead of going off to work. So, I decided to post this cake which may save someone if they need a quick dessert or breakfast to bring to someone’s house this holiday weekend.
Why I love this recipe:
1. All of these items are usually on sale together and in season at this time. (Aldi was selling bags of fresh cranberries for 25 cents each!)
2. I have used this recipe for breakfast and dessert and snack.
3. You can make this the day of or the day before you need it.
4. It is a little like a pie… but without the need for a pie crust.
5. Kid approved too! My kids love this and eat it whether I make it the original way or the “healthier” way.
Recipe Notes: I have made this recipe 4 times in the past two weeks and the following are my observations:
Freezing fresh cranberries yields great results. As mentioned above, I found bags of fresh cranberries at Aldi for 25 cents each. I stocked up and froze them in ziplock freezer bags. To use them, I thaw them in the fridge first overnight. I am sure you could use them frozen and just watch the cake baking time – it might take longer to bake with frozen cranberries. I do this all of the time with frozen blueberries.
Keep in mind, I have lowered my tolerance for sugar/sweets. So, the original brown sugar content was too sweet for me and I lowered it to 1/4 cup. Some reviewers of the original recipe complain that the 1/2 cup of brown sugar is not sweet enough. I believe this is all your preference and what you are used to.
I noticed NO discernible difference between using all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. Again, my family is used to eating almost all whole wheat/whole grain products. So, again I think it is all what you are used to. If you want to try white whole wheat, go for it!
My butter and applesauce notes-
#1 First try was with all butter: of course it was delicious! Nice buttery background flavor to the cranberries. The top had a slight crunch with cake like interior that melts in your mouth.
#2 Second try was with 4 Tb. melted butter and 4 Tb. applesauce. I couldn’t tell much difference. The finished product tasted very similar. The texture was slightly more gummy than the airy all butter #1 cake.
#3 Third try was with all applesauce: it was delicious too! The cake part was a little more gummy as is typical with substituting applesauce for oil or butter in most recipes. The slight crunch on the top was gone completely. The taste was very good and you definitely taste the cranberry. The butter flavor was gone… but without eating the pies side by side, I didn’t miss it.
For serving guests, I make version #1 because it is delicious and decadent. If I make this recipe for close friends or family, I go ahead and make version #3 because it is more economical as well as fewer steps in the recipe.
Even the pie pan is drooling because this tastes so good! 🙂
- 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained; or a bag that was frozen and thawed
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced (you can peel it too if you like)
- 1 and ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼-1/2 cup brown sugar (1/4 cup for a tart cake, ½ cup for a sweet cake)
- 2 oranges
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup + 1 Tb. sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled; or ½ cup applesauce
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spray a 10" or 9.5" ceramic or glass pie pan with cooking spray. Set it on top of a rimmed cookie sheet or rimmed pan.
- In a large bowl, toss together cranberries, chopped apple, 1 tsp. cinnamon and brown sugar. Zest the 2 oranges to get 1 Tb. of orange zest. Now, cut them in half and squeeze out ¼ cup of orange juice. Pour into pie pan.
- In another large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer for 2 minutes on medium-high. Add 1 cup sugar, butter (or applesauce), vanilla and sour cream (or Greek yogurt). Beat on medium until mixed together.
- On low or "stir", add the flour and salt. Mix until it just combines. Pour this batter over the fruit.
- Mix together the other 1 Tb. of sugar and ⅛ tsp. of cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the cake batter.
- Bake 55-60 minutes. The top will be a pretty golden brown.
- Wait for this cake to cool an hour or two. I like mine cold from the fridge similar to how I like to eat apple pie. Or, warm it up. Or serve while warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Or simply serve for breakfast or quick snack.
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