A few weeks ago I spent the afternoon with my dear friend Christi of Woven Magazine baking and shooting in our beautiful, hand sewn linen dresses from Pyne and Smith. We worked in my tiny, freezing kitchen, struggling with too-cold buttercream and laughing as I tried every trick in the book to get this little cake iced. We packed up and headed east over Lake Washington and toward the pass as hills began to stack into mountains. The snow deepened and we found ourselves on the far side of a frozen lake down a country road. Just then, as if on cue, snow began to fall and simple, lovingly handmade elements became something almost alchemistic.
This cake is adapted from a long-time favorite of mine, a recipe for a lemon and blueberry cake by Sweetapolita. I substituted flavors of cranberry and orange that I realize would’ve been better-suited to a holiday cake, but I so love cranberries. Their tart flavor and bright red color are so stunning in this cake. The lovely thing about cranberries is that they freeze perfectly for use anytime of the year and unlike many other fruits, I can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen. If you can get your hands on fresh cranberries, by all means do. Otherwise, just allow them to thaw and drain any liquid before using. I used blood oranges because they were what I had on hand, use any oranges you like.
Photographs by Christi Barnes and Tiffany Howard, Christi’s stunning recap from our afternoon in the snow can be found here.
- 1 cups plus 3 tablespoons (145 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure orange extract
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cups (150 g) white sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 6 inch round cake pans by buttering them, lining the bottoms with rounds of parchment pape and dusting with flour, tapping out the excess. Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to
largerbowl. Add the drained or fresh cranberries and toss to coat them with flour. This will help keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake pans and although it would still taste delicious, you wouldn't get those even, beautiful little red jewels in your layers. Set remaining flour mixture and the floured cranberries aside.
- Stir sour cream, whole milk, vanilla extract, orange extract and orange zest in small bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined.
- Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in cranberries with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 5 minutes longer. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon pure orange extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- a pinch of salt
- Cream the butter and orange zest in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar, mixing on low speed for about 2 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes until very fluffy.