Thanksgiving & Christmas
Today’s recipe is a cake, and as regular Lavender and Lovage readers will know, I am an avid baker and love baking cakes…..it’s a pretty sensational cake, I think you’ll agree, and it comes by way of the Secret Recipe Club, a group of writers and bloggers who regularly make a recipe from another member’s site/blog; the assignment is sent out secretly (hence the name), and then we all select a recipe (or more) to make, photograph and share on our own blogs/sites. Everyone in the group posts on the same Monday, and then we all get to see who was assigned our blog and what recipe(s) they’ve chosen. I’ve been a member since 2011 and it’s a great way to meet new people and try new recipes. Today’s recipe for Spiced Cranberry & Walnut Bundt Cake, is sadly my last recipe for The Secret Recipe Club, as it has finally closed its doors, due to dwindling numbers……which, is very sad. But, in the spirit of the club and with Thanksgiving and Christmas looming on the horizon, I have decided to go out with a spectacular cake to celebrate 5 years of membership and friendship!
My “Secret assigned blog for today, is “Thyme for Cooking Blog”; and, after reading all about Katie, I realised we had lots in common; we both live in France now, and we have both lived all over the world, although Katie is originally from the USA and I am British. Kate’s blog is a wonderful fusion of French, European and American recipes, with tales of restoring a farmhouse, so it makes for tasty and interesting reading! As ever, I found it hard to choose just one recipe to make, and I bookmarked lots of Katie’s recipes before I decided to make her Cranberry Bread. I was very temped by these recipes too…….Pipérade, a French classic and favourite of mine; Seafood Newburg in Puff Pastry Shells; Caramelized Onion, Herb and Cheese Stuffed Bread and her recipe for Hunter’s Pie with Venison and Duck Sausage. However, having several kilos of fresh walnuts at my disposal, from the tree in our back garden, as well as some plump cranberries in the freezer, I decided on her Cranberry Bread, but I made in a bundt tin instead of a loaf tin.
Katie says about her Cranberry Bread recipe, “This has been a family holiday tradition forever” and she has taken the bread into her French classes, with people asking for the recipe. I stuck to the recipe as Katie posted it, but, I decided to make the bread into a showstopper cake and decorate it for the upcoming festivities and feasting in November and December. In order to bake it in a bundt tin, I also increased the size, but other than that, this is Katie’s recipe, but with a few of my own bells and whistles added! As Katie is American, I have also changed the cups to metric measurements, so my European, Australian and Canadian friends and readers can follow the recipe with ease. The recipe is very low in fat, but that gives it a rather lovely open texture, and the addition of the orange juice and juicy cranberries makes it a moist cake for all it only has 2 tablespoons of butter in it.
I hope you feel inspired to have a go at making this cake, it looks and taste divine, and takes the minimum of effort to make. If you can’t source fresh cranberries, as is often hard for me in France, then frozen cranberries work just fine, but DON’T use dried cranberries also called “craisins” as they will not work in this cake recipe, which relies on the juiciness of the fruit and the orange juice to make a moist crumb, in the absence of butter. I’d just like to end by saying a BIG THANKS to all the moderators and people behind the scenes that made the Secret Recipe Club happen, and a BIG THANKS also goes out to all the wonderful people I have met over the last 5 years – I will miss you all, but hopefully we won’t become strangers, as they say across the pond! The recipe for Katie’s Cranberry Bread and my adapted version of Spiced Cranberry & Walnut Bundt Cake is shared below, and ENJOY if you make it! Karen
Spiced Cranberry & Walnut Bundt Cake
250g white caster sugar
2 heaped tablespoons butter, unsalted
360ml orange juice
300g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons mixed spice
280g fresh cranberries, or frozen
200g chopped walnuts
150g icing sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
cranberries, walnut halves and bay leaves to decorate
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
2. Butter and flour a 20cm (8″) bundt or kugelhopf tin.
3. Cream the sugar, butter and egg together.
4. Stir in orange juice and mix well.
5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir well.
6. Add the mixed spice, cranberries and walnuts and stir to combine.
7. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Turn out to cool on a wire rack and decorate when completely cold by drizzling the orange icing over the top of the cake, and then adding the cranberries, walnuts and bay leaves.
Add the orange juice to the icing sugar to make a thick but runny glaze/icing. Decorate as above.
All of my