Friday, November 27, 2009

Buttermilk cake with Brandied Cranberries and Caramel

I made this cake for a dinner party last week and it was a total FAIL, I used too much buttermilk and it looked a lot like cobbler when it came out of the pan. I took it to the party anyway and it was devoured, the cake plate was scraped dry of any trace of caramel or brandied cranberry sauce. It was obvious I was going to have to remake it and make it more solid. (I remade it twice more; #2 had too much flour and this is #3.)

This is the one that I made for Thanksgiving this year, alongside a pumpkin tart. Thanksgiving at my house was 14 (15?) people, including some of my favorite bar friends and my best friends and some people who feel like family. We finished cooking a few hours later than expected but it was worth it to have new friends helping prepare the food while they drank and mingled, while I played queen of the kitchen and enjoyed the lively conversations just outside my tiny kitchen.

This is what it looked like when everything was done:

Buttermilk Bundt with Brandied Cranberries & Caramel

2 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 batch brandied cranberries (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ.
Sift the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Scrape down the bowl again and beat in the buttermilk at a low speed until just combined. Add flour 1/3 at a time, beating until just combined.

Pour into a well-greased (I recommend spray) bundt pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Let cool about 15 minutes before trying to remove the cake from the pan. Let the cake cool completely before adding this:

Brandied Cranberries
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
12-oz bag of fresh cranberries
2 tbsp corn starch

Whisk together everything but the cranberries in a sauce pot, then add the cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for about ten minutes. Scoop some of the juice into a small bowl and stir in the corn starch until fully dissolved, then whisk the mix back into the pot. The sauce will thicken as it cools.


1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Bring the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla to a boil in a sauce pot over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Boil 12-14 minutes (yes that long), whisking frequently to prevent sticking. Add the vanilla. Pour the caramel over the cake while the caramel is still warm, but let cool before serving.

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