Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TWD: Cranberry Shortbread Cake

  This week Jessica of A Singleton in the Kitchen chose Not-Just-for Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread cake

 Fresh, tangy cranberry and orange jam sandwiched between two layers of soft sweet cake made for a delicious fall treat. We loved that it was a combination of two of our favorites- shortbread and cranberry. The cranberry filling still had enough of the tart and slightly bitter flavors that we love in the fresh berries, and the cake had the perfect amount of sweetness to complement the cranberries without making them too sweet. We thought that they tasted even better after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.
The rich jewel tones of the jam and the soft ivory cake make for an eye catching dessert and a very pretty addition to a holiday dessert tray. I made ours in a 9x9 square pan instead of the round spring form pan called for in the recipe, dusted them with powdered sugar and cut them into bite size bars, which I liked because you were able to see the layers really well in each piece. 

I love to cook with fresh cranberries while they are in season, and this will definitely be added to our list of cranberry treats we look forward to every year!
Not-Just-for Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread cake
Baking: from my home to yours Dorie Greenspan

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Jam filling
1 large navel orange
About 1/4 cup orange juice
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
Make jam:
Grate zest of orange into a medium saucepan. Slice off the peel, removing white pith, slice between membranes to release segments, cut segments into 1/4 inch pieces and toss into the pan. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into a measuring cup and water or juice to measure 1/4 cup. Pour it into the pan. Add the cranberries to the pan, stir in 3/4 cup sugar and set pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Cook, stirring almost constantly, until cranberries pop and your spoon leaves tracks, about 5 minutes. Scrape jam into a bowl, taste it if it is too tart add more sugar to taste. Cool to room temperature. Store I fridge up to 2 weeks.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter on medium speed until soft and smooth. Add 1 cup of sugar and continue to beat until it dissolves into the butter. Reduce speed to low and add the egg and yolk, beating until they too are absorbed. Beat in vanilla . Add flour, mixing only until it is incorporated, do not over beat. Dough will be thick.
Turn dough on to a work surface and gather it into a ball, then divide in half and pat each half into a disk. Wrap disk in plastic and refrigerate 15-30 minutes.
Pre heat oven to 350f. Lightly butter a 9 inch spring form pan. I used a 9 inch square pan fitted with a parchment sling.
Work with one piece of dough at a time. For the bottom layer, roll or pat 1 disk of dough into bottom of pan. Spread the cranberry jam over the dough. Unwrap the second disk leave on plastic wrap and roll or press until it is the dimension of your pan. Carefully lift the dough and invert it onto the filling, lift off the plastic wrap and use your fingers to even it as necessary so that it covers the filling. Brush the top of the cake very gently with water and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is lightly golden and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Release from pan (lift out sling or run a knife around the inner edge of spring from pan, remove sides)and let cool to room temperature.

  Visit Jessica for the recipe and visit our blog roll to see just what the other TWD bakers thought.