December 7, 2010

Cranberry Apple Cake

easy cranberry apple cake

Inside my head there’s a tornado of Holiday TO-DO lists whacking into the side of my skull. Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, Christmas candy, CHRISTMAS ANYTHING. AHH!! MAKE IT STOP. The only thing that calms the storm is the sound of Scoop. Measure. Stir. My measuring spoons hit the bowl, my sink is littered with batter smeared bowls and the cake goes off into the oven. I’m standing in the kitchen licking the remains of batter off my wooden spoon and suddenly I smell the heavy scent of cranberries, apples & cinnamon waft in the air. The tornado disappears and I’m temporarily focused on things that don’t stress me out. CAKE! Ahhhhhhh.

first piece

I’m in love with this cake! The recipe comes from Ina Garten’s new book, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?— a new addition to my cookbook library, thanks to my INA OBSESSED mom. She knows I love a good/easy recipe and thank goodness for that because this book is chalk full of them! The top of this cake is a splendid union of tangy cranberries & juicy apples rocking a cinnamon sugar citrus vibe. Think pineapple upside down cake meets Christmas. A very light spongy cake (that has no baking powder or soda!) is what it sits upon…and at the very bottom of that is a crispy cinnamon sugar crust. Three layers of deliciousness are all waiting for you to meet them. Go ahead, introduce yourself! I suggest you top off a slice with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato. I’m sure it will silence your holiday tornadoes. I can vouch that temporarily silenced mine!

And we’re off!

Here’s all the fruit that’s involved! Such pretty colors.

fruit party!

Once you’ve chopped up the apple, toss it all in a bowl with brown sugar & orange zest.


Don’t forget the cinnamon (like I almost did!) Now stir!


Beat the eggs in a bowl. No beater necessary. Just a little elbow grease. How easy is that?

egg beat

Add in your sugar, melted butter, vanilla and sour cream. Add in your flour and salt. Batter=done!


Line the bottom of your pan with your fruit mixture.

lining the bottom

Spoon over the batter. Spread it evenly.

batter up!

Top with sugar & cinnamon mixture. Make sure you wear red socks. They are festive!

off to the oven you go!

Bake in the oven and SURPRISE! Look at the cranberries that came to the surface!

hello cranberries!

Cut out a piece! Flip it over and put it on a plate.


Top with some vanilla ice cream while it’s still warm. Watch it melt.


Do you realize you are in heaven now? Angels are singing! Look at that little cherub in the clouds!

Cranberry Apple Cake

(recipe slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? Cookbook)

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and medium-diced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 stick salted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray your pan with cooking spray, set aside.

    Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    In another medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until light & frothy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup granulated sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and sour cream and stir thoroughly until combined. Slowly add the flour and salt. Batter is done.

    Line the bottom of your prepared pan with the fruit mixture. Pour the batter over the fruit and spread until completely covered.

    Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a tooth-pick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature. It’s best with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato!

    • Klariza

      looks so good. i can’t wait to try this.

    • Megan Gordon

      Wow, angels are singing and I haven’t even had a piece. This looks so great! You’re lucky to have an Ina-obsessed mom. You need to send her on over to my house. Will talk to Santa about this one…

    • Jessica

      I’ve also got crazy to-do lists in my head, especially since I feel the need to make gifts and cards than buy them. Bad time to procrastinate! This looks so ridiculously good (and easy!). YUM.

    • Katrina

      This cake looks so good! Yum!

    • Hillary

      What size pan did you use? 8×8? This looks awesome!

    • michelle @ The Domestic Mama

      Oooo, that looks like I could justify it for breakfast-there’s fruit in there!

    • Julia

      This looks so good, I wish I could make it right now. I love how simple this is too! I love recipes that make it look like you were in the kitchen all day, when really you jsut whipped it up. I will have to check out Ina’s new cookbook. Thank for the tip!

    • Nicole

      Dang, someone out there on the interwebs said Ina’s latest wasn’t worth getting and this cake alone looks worth owning the book! I should know to never doubt Ina or her catch phrase.

      • Tracy

        There are a lot of re-vamped recipes from her other cookbooks in this one…so that might be the reason why. There’s also a lot of good tips in the book for making things easier in the kitchen (which I appreciate). Some of it is basic knowledge though. I’d say it’s a really great gift for someone who is intimated in the kitchen and could use some good pointers. I don’t mind owning another Ina Book. They are so colorful on my shelf.

    • lisa s

      cranberry anything gets me going ! 🙂
      [your christmas tree looks great. i’m going up in the attic to get our stuff now thanks to you]

    • wootowl

      i’m surprised to see ewe in red socks! i wore the ones that ewe handed me down yesterday. this looks scrumdilly-umptious.

    • Kris

      This looks great. Do you think I could use large eggs though? Or like, 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white? Thanks!

    • Kris

      Thank you!

    • Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger)

      The looks wonderful. I make a similar recipe from Molly Katzen’s cookbook -Enchanted Brocolli Forest. It has some walnuts too, which really complements the apples and cranberries. this looks great!

    • Kris

      I ended up making this (with the large eggs, which were fine!) and it does indeed smell like Christmas and look very colorful. It was a smidge tart for me & one of my friends. However, my boyfriend, who loves all things pucker-y, liked it a lot. It already has a good amount of sugar in it for such a small cake, but I might up the sugar just a hair next time.

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