Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake

There are certain flavor combinations that just make me so happy. Roast beef and horseradish. Goat cheese and roasted beets. Hard boiled eggs with balsamic vinaigrette. Lemon and blueberry. And, cranberry with orange. 

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I was *so* excited to see the cranberries had arrived at Costco last week. I wish I had room in my freezer to buy like three bags. They keep a long time in there! Of course, I immediately wanted to make C-O scones. But, you know, that’d be attempt number three and even for my obsessive nature it was a bit much. So, the interwebs led me to lots of possible recipes. Saw one at the Oceanspray site and thought, alright alright alright. That should be reputable……

 

 

This was one of those “oh, shit!” recipes. You know, where have something started or in process and there is a critical problem? I had measured out and mixed all the dry and was getting ready to add the fat – in this case, butter – when I saw it called for 4 tablespoons.  For four cups of flour and two of sugar. Plus a cup of orange juice and a couple of eggs. Holy shit. This was going to be a seriously dry log – something to make a ciambella look like a pudding. Fuck a duck. So, I had to scramble for similar recipes and found a blueberry lemon cake to base the. uh, mid-recipe adjustment needed to not wind up with a giant dry crumb from the oven. 

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….Himself, looking over my shoulder, “well, that looks like a bowl of whalp.” Feel the love, people. Feel the love.

Even with the addition of more butter, more buttermilk and egg, this batter was still so stiff it held the beater in position when I popped the bowl off the kitchenaide.

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Once it came out of the oven, I knew things worked out. It tastes great – so, whew! Crisis averted. And, wtf Oceanspray?

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This is a lovely tea cake, buttery with a tender crumb, a sweet citrusy glaze and the zam! pow! tartness of those fresh cranberries.  You are really going to enjoy this one! Have it with a cup of coffee in the afternoon, or dress it up with some orange whipped cream and a cranberry coulis for dessert. YUM!
For the cake
3 c. fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
4 c AP flour
2 c sugar
zest of an entire orange (about 3Tbsp)
1 c butter
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1.25 c buttermilk
juice from the orange (about 1/4c)
1 tsp vanilla
For the glaze
zest and juice of one orange
1.5-2 c powdered sugar
Instructions
Chop the cranberries coarsely.
Mix in the mixer bowl the flour, sugar, zest, salt and leavening.
Add in the butter, mix on medium.
When the dry/fat mix looks like coarse cornmeal, stop the mixer. Pour in the wet. Just barely spin the beater a couple of times to mix. Stop.
Pour in the chopped cranberries, and again just barely spin the beater to mix them in.
Split this VERY thick batter between the two pans, and bake 60-70 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
Let cool ten or fifteen minutes while you make the glaze.
Combine the juice, zest and powdered sugar in a bowl and get out a pastry brush. It should be the consistency of crepe batter (or elmer’s glue if you’ve not made crepes.)
When the pans are just cool enough to touch, get a butterknife, and slide it down and along the sides of the cakes to make sure all the sides (and especially the corners!) are loosened and not stuck. Then whack the sides of the pan with you hand to make sure that puppy is ready to pop out and gently depan the cake. (I usually put my clean silicone oven mit across the top, invert it, lift off the pan and then set the cake on the cooling rack.)
Once you’ve got them both on the rack, put a cookie sheet underneath it. Use the pastry brush to brush away any loose crumb.
Pur about a ¼ of the icing on each cake and work wicked quick with the pastry brush to sloppily coat the top and sides with the glaze. Now, let the cakes cool. Cover the remaining glaze with some cellophane and go read some food blogs for an hour or two. When the cakes are cool, artfully drip the remaining glaze on each. You can sprinkle garnish on top of this glaze if you like (candied orange peel, sparkle or pearl sugar, colored sugars or sprinkles). Once the glaze dries, you can wrap these puppies in wax paper, or slice and devour. This will freeze beautifully.
Notes
This makes two 9″x5″ or four 8″x3″ loaves.

serves 16
calories 408
fat 13g
cholesterol 79mg
sodium 376mg
carbs 67g
-fiber 2g
-sugars 41g
protein 6g

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