Then a few days before this Thanksgiving, my husband emailed me a link to a New York Times story about holiday recipe ideas, and there it was again.
With three bags of fresh cranberries practically shouting at me every time I opened my fridge, I needed to take the plunge.
I didn't change much from the original recipe. I reduced the sugar to achieve some tartness in the cranberries — to counterbalance the sweetness of the cake batter.
Let me just say: Sauced cranberries partnered with gingerbread and a nice dollop of whipped cream make for the perfect dessert this season. And, FYI, this treat tastes even better the next day, so consider making it ahead.
Cranberry Gingerbread Cake
Tweaked from this New York Times recipe.
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Line a 9-inch square or round baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350.
In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, white sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries begin to break down. Continue to cook about 10 minutes, until half of the cranberries have burst and the sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and set aside.
In another saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, milk, maple syrup and molasses. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted, then bring to a simmer. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from heat once butter mixture reaches a simmer.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pepper. Beat in the butter mixture, and then beat in the eggs. Then add the grated ginger and beat until combined.
Pour batter into pan. Then dot the top with big spoonfuls of the cranberry sauce. Use a butter knife to swirl the cranberry sauce into the cake batter.
Transfer to the oven and cook for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let pan cool on a wire rack before serving.
Slice and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Leftover cake should be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator. Tastes best served at room temperature.