November 15, 2022
You have to love cranberries to love this simple, straightforward cake. The tart taste of the cranberries against the sweetness of the cake is a dynamic combination that is perfect for your Thanksgiving weekend.
Truly you can enjoy this cake all year round if you remember to freeze a couple of bags of cranberries to use in the future. You see, cranberries are only in season for a short time, but they freeze well. I always throw a few bags in freezer so I can bake with these beauties whenever the mood strikes.
One of the magical things about this cake is that the cake batter and the streusel topping are made from the exact same batter. You just remove 1/2 cup of batter, mix it with some more sugar and use it as a topping. At the same time, you add some sour cream, egg and vanilla to the large bowl of batter and you have your cake!
Cranberry Streusel Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe in the New York Times
For the Filing
12 ounces (usually 1 bag) of fresh cranberries
3 tablespoons apple cider or water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cake AND Crumb Topping
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar - also known as Demerara or Sugar in the Raw (If you don’t have this type of sugar just use granulated sugar)
Preheat oven to 375º F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a cookie sheet. Sometimes with a springform pan the grease from the pan will ooze out. The cookie sheet makes sure your oven stays clean!
For the Filling
Place cranberries and apple cider (or water) in a small pot. Cook them on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the sugar. Lower the stove simmer (low) and stir together with a metal spoon - if you use a wooden spoon the mixture will stain it red.
Cook on low for about 5 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and easily smushed against the side of the pot. While most cranberries will burst, you wasn’t to smush as many as you can that have remained whole. Take the mixture off the heat. Add the vanilla and the cornstarch and stir until incorporated. The mixture will have thickened with the addition of the cornstarch. Set aside to cool.
For the Cake AND Crumb Topping
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter cubes and use your fingers to rub them into the flour mixture. Smush the butter pieces around in the flour until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs with pea and walnut sized pieces of butter.
Remove 1/2 cup of flour mixture and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the turbinado sugar and mix until combined. This will be your crumb topping.
To the large bowl, add the sour cream, egg and vanilla. Mix well. Put the batter into the pan. It is very sticky and thick. You can wet your hands and push it around the baking pan until it is even, or use a utensil.
Pour the cranberry mixture over the batter, spreading it out evenly across the batter using an offset spatula or a knife.
Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the cake.
Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, until it is golden brown. Cool completely and run a knife along the edge of the cake to make sure it has pulled away from the pan before opening the spring on the pan.