Lemon Cranberry Cake
Until this cake, I thought I wasn’t a fan of cranberries. However, its festive look captured my eye, and I figured it would be fun to try something other than chocolate cake or cheesecake for the Christmas dessert.
The recipe begins with brown sugar on the bottom of the bundt pan and fresh cranberries piled on top of that. When it cooks, that brown sugar caramelizes with the cranberries as they burst and soften, creating a compote-like topping. The sugar tempers the tartness of the cranberries, too, which then complements the slight tartness of the lemon cake. Top it all off with a lemon sugar glaze and you have one heck of a festive cake, perfect for the holiday season … or any gathering.
By the way, the sugared cranberries placed around the cake add a decorative touch, and I’ll post that recipe as soon as I finish this one.
Lemon Cranberry Cake
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a bundt pan with butter or shortening.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bottom of the bundt pan, then layer the cranberries over the sugar.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it is infused with the lemon fragrance.
- Add the butter to the sugar; beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine buttermilk and 2 tbsp. lemon juice.
- With mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Add 1/2 the buttermilk mixture; mix until just incorporated. Repeat. You should end with the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
- Spoon batter into the bundt pan over the cranberries, smoothing out as needed.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, until golden brown on top and knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
- When cool, carefully transfer cake to serving platter (scooting it onto a cookie sheet works well for the transfer).
- For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice; whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cake; let set before slicing.