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Glazed Cranberry-Lemon Cake

Fresh cranberries and bold, bright lemon zest and juice add refreshing qualities to this butter-rich cake. As the cake bakes, the cranberries are transformed into a sweet-tart compote-like topping. A simple lemon glaze is the finishing touch for this delightful dessert.

Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter for greasing pan, plus 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, about 12 oz.
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 lemons 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar in the bottom of the pan, then evenly distribute the cranberries over the sugar.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Finely grate the zest from the lemons over the sugar and mix briefly.

Squeeze the juice from the lemons. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the buttermilk and vanilla; reserve the remaining lemon juice.

Add the 12 Tbs. butter to the lemon zest–sugar mixture and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 batches. Raise the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes to aerate.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the cranberries. Bake until the cake is browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a cake plate, lift off the pan and let cool completely.

Once the cake is cool, in a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 1/2 Tbs. of the reserved lemon juice until thick and smooth. Test the consistency by drizzling a bit of glaze over the cake. If it runs off the cake, whisk in a little more confectioners’ sugar; if it sits on the cake without moving, whisk in a little more lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and let set for at least 15 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve. Serves 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).