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Bonnie Aeschliman: Cranberries add colorful, tart touch to cake

  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, at 3:16 p.m.

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

Servings: 12

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 1/4 cups cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 -inch cake pan. Spray with a nonstick spray on the bottom just to be sure the cake will unmold when done.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter. Bring to a boil, then pour into bottom of the cake pan. Distribute the cranberries and pecans evenly over the bottom of the pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy with electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined. Then stir in the vanilla.

Add flour and sour cream alternately, mixing after each addition. (Here’s how to do that: Add about one-third of flour mixture; beat until combined. Add one-half the sour cream, beat until mixed. Add half the remaining flour; beat until combined. Add rest of sour cream; beat until mixed. Then add rest of the flour, mixing just until combined.) Pour batter into the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving platter and carefully remove pan. Serve warm with Vanilla Bean Sauce.

Vanilla Bean Sauce (Makes about 1 cup)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer 30 seconds. It will thicken as it cools. Serve chilled over warm coffee cake.

Cranberries are seasonal and, of course, grace many tables at the holidays in the form of a sauce of some sort. But I love to bake with them – they are colorful, tart and add a fresh note to many baked goods.

Recently I taught a brunch class and finished with a cranberry upside-down cake for dessert. It had been out of the oven for only about an hour when I served it, still warm, with a drizzle of cool vanilla bean sauce over the top. It looked festive and was delicious. My guests did not even leave a crumb on their plates.

Here’s the recipe. Don’t forget the sauce: That is what makes it special. Serve the sauce cool over the warm cake. I love the contrast in temperature and textures.

Bonnie Aeschliman is a certified culinary professional who owns Cooking at Bonnie’s Place in Wichita.

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