With so many things being extra sweet at this time of the year, using fresh cranberries for a bit of pucker makes a refreshing addition to the cookie tray.
Cranberries and British Columbia go way back. They are native to this part of the world and were traded as far away as California by 1827 when a Hudson’s Bay Trading Co. fort was established in Langley, B.C. There is an annual festival honouring this sour fruit and a shop on the street in the village that sells only items cranberry related products.
From a health perspective, cranberries have a number of health benefits including urinary tract and stomach ulcer health. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and manganese and recent research suggests that eating the whole berries is a better choice than consuming the individual components via pills or juices.
You will need:
1/4 cup shortening or butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. orange zest
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberries coarsely chopped
1/2 cup green cherries, chopped
2 cups icing sugar
Yule can be a very busy time and we forget to take a breath and stay centered on the rush to get through the to do list. Time in the kitchen can be a good way to shift focus, be creative and stay in the present moment. So invite in the compassionate spirits and connect to your inspiration before beginning this recipe.
Grease a medium sized casserole bowl. The old fashioned kind with the rounded bottom.
Chop the cherries and cranberries and put aside. ( Hold back about 5 of the best fresh cranberries for sugaring )/
Wash and zest the orange skins and then juice the oranges.
Cream the shortening or butter until soft. The original recipe was from my mother, at a time when using shortening when baking was more common but if butter is your preference that is just fine. Add the sugar and zest, mix well and then add the eggs*, continuing to beat until the mixture is smooth.
Sift the dry ingredients together.
Toss 1/4 cup of the flour mixture with the cherries and cranberries to help them combine into the batter and not fall to the bottom while baking.
Starting and ending with the flour, alternate the orange juice and flour mixture.
Gently mix after each addition and do not over beat.
Turn the finished mixture into the well greased casserole dish and bake in the center of the oven for one hour.
Allow the cake to sit for 10-15 minutes before unmolding. Using a blunt knife separate any parts that are sticking and then invert the cake onto a cooling rack.
Allow the cake to fully cool before topping with a simple glaze of icing sugar and hot water.
The intention is that the icing is thick enough to not go all the way to the bottom of the cake immediately. It should spreadable not pourable.
Keep the cake with the rounded side up and spoon the icing on the “bottom” of the cake, using the spoon to shape the flow of the glaze. Decorate with the sugared cranberries and holly leaves, candied orange strips or any other festive choice. I cut this cake into slices as shown below. It is not so much intended as a full wedge kind of cake but more as a slice to go beside a tea cup or on a plate of goodies.
The tartness of the cranberries is a change of pace and the red and green highlight the colours of the season.
Cranberry Casserole Bread from My Kitchen Wand