Recipe: Cranberry and Apple Cake


17 Nov Recipe: Cranberry and Apple Cake

Listen to Ina. She is wise. When the Barefoot Contessa says use a 10-inch glass pie pate, use a glass pie plate. When she says use fresh cranberries, use fresh cranberries. But you know me. I never listen.

Or more precisely, I don’t always think ahead. I dive into recipes head first, often to find the culinary waters muddy, turbulent or shallow. With company arriving and frozen cranberries going begging, I made the best choices I could under less than perfect circumstances. So, when faced with using a 9-inch glass pie plate or a 10-inch ceramic pie plate, I pulled out the larger dish. When forced to choose between using frozen cranberries or producing no dessert at all,  I opted for frozen fruit.

And while I stand by my decisions, I paid a price.

The cake turned stubborn and took a good half hour longer to bake (part of this was the frozen cranberries, part of this was the ceramic dish and part was my stove’s questionable calibration). And while the batter dithered away in the oven, the berries got bored. In a futile escape attempt, they breached the boundaries of their generous 10-inch vessel, leaving a big black puddle of stickiness streaked across my oven floor. That’ll teach me to mess with one of Ina’s recipes.

Despite these impediments, the cake was scrumptious. Yes, scrumptious. Moist yet light. Delicate yet flavourful. Just sweet enough to be a treat and tart enough so as not to be cloying. I served it to my parents for dessert and shortly after they went home one of my siblings arrived at the door, her new husband in tow, having heard rumours of cake. More slices disappeared. By the time the second wave of eaters left, only two small pieces remained. These stragglers didn’t survive breakfast.

When the oven is clean and properly calibrated, I’ll try a variation with raspberries and blueberries. But I’ll borrow my mom’s 10-inch glass pie plate, just to be on the safe side.

Got a messy dessert you can’t resist? Tell me about it. Share a link  if you want.

Photograph of Ina’s perfect cake copyright © 2010 by Quentin Bacon.

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No Comments
  • Andrea the Kitchen Witch
    Posted at 11:49h, 17 November Reply

    Good for you for making due with what you have :) The recipe sounds great, its Ina’s so how could it not? :)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:13h, 17 November Reply

      @Andrea the Kitchen Witch, it is a lovely recipe. I just couldn’t make it look as good as it tasted.

  • Sally
    Posted at 15:08h, 17 November Reply

    All sounds very good to me ( and I distrust cooks when it goes right all the time….it doesn’t).

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:14h, 17 November Reply

      @Sally, if that’s your criterion I’m more than trustworthy!

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 23:22h, 17 November Reply

    I have simply got to move next door to you!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 00:22h, 22 November Reply

      @Robin Smart, hanging my head in shame. I should have saved you some. But I didn’t. Next time I’ll give you an extra big piece. Promise.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 10:17h, 18 November Reply

    That’s the second recipe for cranberry cake I’ve seen in two weeks. Might be the holiday, but it has me in a mood.

    When I cook it isn’t the recipes that are messy, it’s me dropping things.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 00:13h, 22 November Reply

      @Cheryl Arkison, oh, I drop things too.

      I’m sure there will be lots of cranberry posts in the next while with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon. I’m always thrilled to find an unusual use for this berry. I love its tartness and colour.

  • Maggie
    Posted at 17:39h, 18 November Reply

    I tried a recipe for a 5-spice, mocha chocolate cake that was to be baked in a large loaf pan. The recipe said it was a very runny batter but it didn’t suggest using a tray under the pan. Too bad because that runny batter rose up and ran out of the pan and all over the oven. Of course, I didn’t find out until the timer went off. It was one heck of a mess. Oh well. Live and learn.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 00:17h, 22 November Reply

      @Maggie, I believe the person who invented self-cleaning ovens was a messy baker.

      Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Sandi
    Posted at 12:32h, 22 November Reply

    Thank you very much for the above article reguarding the “Easy Cranberry Apple Cake”. You told me exactly what I wanted to know. Like you, I try to do it “my way” and end up in a stew. I was going to use canned, yes I know, canned cranberries, AND bake it in a bread pan or 9×13 cake pan, but after reading the article above I will not change a thing!

    Enjoy the Holidays!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:34h, 08 March Reply

      Yikes. Missed this comment. In my defense, it was posted two days after my husband tore his quad tendon and I went AWOL for a month.

      Glad to hear you learned from my mistake. I’d hate to be making them for no reason.

  • Becky Pappas
    Posted at 09:16h, 07 March Reply

    I made Ina’s apple cranberry cake with frozen cranberries, and it was very good, my husband was very happy with it.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:31h, 08 March Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know how the recipe turned out.

      I’m so glad your husband approves. Apple and cranberry is hard to beat, especially with a hint of cinnamon.

  • Lorraine Carlin
    Posted at 17:45h, 18 November Reply

    I am going to try you Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake, and would like to know if I can add more than one apple ( we like a full filling ) or would that make the cake not come out correctly or have to be baked longer (and how much longer). Please e-mail me. I will be making this for Thanksgiving.
    Thank You,
    Lorraine Carlin

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:32h, 20 November Reply

      This would make a lovely Thanksgiving dish, but I’d stick with the amounts as Ina wrote the recipe. Adding another apple would alter the moisture content and I hesitate to predict the results. My guess is adding more apple would make the cake gooey — something that a longer baking time wouldn’t fix properly.

      I think you’ll like the recipe as is. Let me know how it turns out!

      Happy Thanksgiving!

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