Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cranberry Upside-Down Molasses Cake

Pop reminded us a month or so ago that he likes gingerbread, when he brought home a [gasp!] mix he fixed for himself. With that in mind, I decided for Christmas, I'd have to make a cake for him from scratch.

He added dried cranberries to his mix, and asked about icing recipes, so we put together a cream cheese frosting he seemed to enjoy. 

With Pop in mind, the Bat looked through her cookbooks, I scoured my cookbooks and recipe sites online, looking for one that would make Pop happy. Nothing really seemed quite right, so we improvised.

What we finally came up with was this, gooey enough it needed no icing:

Cranberry Upside-Down Molasses Cake

Cranberry Molasses Upside-down Cake close-up photo CranberryMolassesUpside-downCakeclose-up_zps2b9511eb.jpgIngredients:

For the Fruit Caramel:

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter 
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
Juice of 1 orange*, approximately 1/3 cup
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries

For the cake:

1 1/ cups water, brought to a boil 
1 cup strong molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon powdered ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 large egg


Preheat oven to 350º F.

Grease thoroughly a 9x13x2-inch baking pan.

Cranberry caramel:

In a medium saucepan or frying pan, melt butter and sugars, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Allow to boil about 2 minutes, remove from heat, add orange juice & zest.  Pour into baking pan, spread cranberries over the top. Set aside.


In small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat, add molasses and whisk in baking soda.  Set aside.

In medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and seasonings).

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, add & cream brown sugar, add & cream egg. When they are light and fluffy, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix thoroughly, then add 1/3 of molasses mixture, mixing completely before adding the next 1/3 of the dry ingredients, and repeating process until all is mixed.  

Pour batter over cranberry mixture, covering completely. Put on medium rack in oven bake at 350º F for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  

Allow to cool slightly, with a thin spatula or knife make sure the sides are loosened from pan, set cookie sheet over the top of it and flip it.  Top with vanilla ice cream, if you desire. Serve warm.

*We do NOT recommend navel oranges for this recipe. While they may be easier to peel, and conveniently seedless, they are less juicy and flavorful.  If you can, use a juicing orange such as a Valencia or Texas sweet.

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