Cranberry Cornmeal Cake
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature (plus more for pan)
1 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra to dust the pan)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
Zest from two large oranges
3/4 cup dried cranberries, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
Put oven rack in the center of the over and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan (or alternatively, spray with a non-stick cooking spray with flour).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest.
Measure 3 Tbsp of the flour mixture into a small bowl and add the cut, dried cranberries; toss until the cranberry pieces are coated and separated.
Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
Beat in the vanilla extract (and, if you want a slightly heavier orange flavor, add 1/4 tsp orange oil).
Add the egg yolks and whole eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next.
Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
Using a spatula, gently fold in the cranberries.
Pour the patter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Bake until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester (toothpick or bamboo skewer) inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean – about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To serve, cut the cake into wedges and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Note – you can expect different appearances depending on the cake pan. An aluminum cake pan will give a more uniform top surface; a darker, non-stick pan will produce a cake that has a tendency to sink in the middle. Either way, the cake tastes the same and is very moist. If you sense that the cake is drying out, drizzle a little fresh-squeezed orange juice over the top before serving and before dusting with powdered sugar.
Variation 1 – Orange and clove
Omit the cranberries. Add 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. What you’ll get is the essence of an orange/clove pomander (how traditional can you get?).
Variation 2 – Apple, raisin, and cinnamon
Omit the cranberries. Substitute apples, or apples and raisins, and a generous 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (more, if you want – give it the smell test).