So how many of you stock up on stuff to make sure you don't run out of a favorite ingredient? I'm not talking about things like flour and sugar, though I keep those well-stocked. I'm talking about the 4 or 5 jars of raspberry fruit butter in my pantry. And the extra couple bottles of golden syrup. The four cans of pumpkin. (Is that enough? Maybe I need to buy some more.) Combined with the staples I keep on hand, it's amazing what I can whip up at a moment's notice. I should clarify--I'm just talking about baking. For instance, I once had no problem making a pumpkin ginger pound cake at the last minute for an occasion at work, but the same night had trouble coming up with something that I could actually cook for dinner. =)
Last December, I added cranberries to the list of ingredients that I hoard. It was the end of the season, and I was able to pick up a bunch of bags of them for a good price. I picked through them (since a few were clearly past their prime), bagged them up, and stashed them in the back of my freezer. So I had no problem making the cranberry upside-down cake for Tuesdays with Dorie a couple months ago. And I was all set for the recipe that my blogging friend Jessica picked for this week. She chose a recipe that I didn't even realize was in the book, Not-Just-for-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake.
I think it takes longer to say the name than to actually make this dessert. =) That worked out for me, since I had to work last weekend and didn't have much time to bake. I made the filling Sunday night, so it would have time to cool. It was basically like making cranberry sauce. The filling mixture consists of cranberries and sugar, along with zest, juice and chopped segments from an orange. These are all boiled together into a thick jam. I let it cool overnight, and finished making the cake Monday night.
The cooled filling is sandwiched between a couple layers of what is more or less cookie dough--butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour, salt and baking powder. The recipe calls for a 9" round springform pan, but I changed that. Dorie mentions in the recipe notes that a double batch can be baked in a 13"x9" pan, so I figured a single recipe would fit nicely in an 8" square pan. (I used a Pyrex one.) (I also saw that my blogging friend Pamela used a square pan successfully.) For the bottom crust, I didn't roll out the dough, I simply pressed it into the pan. I put the pan and the dough for the top layer in the fridge to chill while the oven was preheating. When I was ready to bake, I spread the cranberry filling over the bottom crust. Then I rolled out the second portion of dough between a couple of pieces of waxed paper and carefully laid it on top, tucking in the edges as necessary. I sprinkled the top with sugar, and baked the whole thing for 35 minutes.
The verdict? As many others have said, this recipe was surprisingly good! Not because I expected it to be bad, more because I didn't really know what to expect. The finished dessert reminds me of a couple other things I've made--Bakewell Tart and the Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake (another long TWD recipe title). I think there was a really nice contrast of tart and sweet between the filling and crust. As for everyone else, well, Gillian loved it while Brianna did not. No surprise there. I took a bunch to work and it got rave reviews there as well. I'll definitely be making this cake again; I can't wait to try some different fillings.
If you'd like to try this one yourself, you can find the recipe on Jessica's blog. And to see what everyone else did, check out this week's Links.