Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cranberry-Pecan Pound Cake

My family's Christmas dinner is tonight. In a couple of hours I will go over to my mother's house and begin to help her with the food. Doing so, is tradition. Right now I'm waiting for the beeps that will let me know that my Cranberry-Pecan Pound Cake is done. This is the third cake of the day. The first and second refused to come out of my highly decorative, fluted, non-stick Bundt pan even though I buttered it liberally. Don't you just love non-stick pans that give you all kinds of false confidence.

No matter, I'm sure this one will be perfect and my children and husband got to snack on the less than perfect first cake and I have another less than perfect cake for the freezer where it will stay until all signs of sugar glut have vanished. Then I will thaw the cake and be a hero.

I love this cake. It is a perfect balance of sweet and tart, creamy and crunchy, and the bright yellow of the cake is offset by the red of the cranberries and the light brown of the crust is a beauty to behold. We have ambrosia every Christmas and this cake, with its hint of orange, creates a lovely backdrop for the once a year food of the Gods. What's more, it reminds me of Ms Gladys who was the librarian when I was in junior high and high school. She made books and the library cool because she talked to us, not as children, but as people. Anyway, in the last years of her life I visited her each Christmas bearing a smaller version of this cake. She loved it and any time I saw her during the year she mentioned the cake. I suppose I should have kept her in constant supply, but I did make sure she had a small cake each Christmas.

Cranberry Pecan Pound Cake

1 cup Pecans -- chopped
1 ½ cups Cranberries -- coarsely chopped
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Butter -- room temperature
5 lg Eggs
¼ cup Sour Cream
¼ cup Orange Juice
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Orange Peel -- grated
1 ¼ cup Flour, All Purpose
1 cup Flour, Cake
½ tsp Salt
Sugar, Powdered

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 1/2 quart tube cake pan. Place pecans on cookie sheet and bake until lightly colored and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Cool. Coarsely chop cranberries.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, scrapping sides of bowl once. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in sour cream, then juice, vanilla and orange peel. Sift all purpose flour, cake flour and salt together. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients to egg mixture and stop when all flour has been added. Mix by hand until just combined. Fold in pecans and cranberries. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Tap pan on counter to release any air bubbles. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 and up to 3 days. Cake may be frozen up to 1 month. Dust cake lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

*****Instead of the orange juice you can use orange liqueur. I have never used cake flour in this recipe, only my standard King Arthur Unbleached. Don't expect a bright yellow color unless you use yard bird eggs.
Tonight, I'll make a private toast to Ms Gladys and all the other librarians who make it cool to read while tasting her favorite cake.


ZILLA said...

I love that your directions start with placing the rack in the center of the oven because I'm one of those flakes who always forgets to check the position of the racks before I preheat. Without fail, I've got to put my sheets or pans down, reposition the racks, and wait for the oven to come to temp again. This cake sounds as pretty as it sounds delicious.

Meredith said...

Oh, as a fellow Bundt lover, I can just tell that this recipe is a keeper!

I have learned the hard way to invest $2.50 in a can of Baker's Joy or Crisco For Baking spray. The oil/flour spray ensures a perfect release every single time.

Mrs. G. said...

This sounds delicious!! Merry Christmas to you and yours. See you in the new year.

Angela said...

Oh, this looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing it, and I hope you had a lovely holiday my dear! Love the card! (mine are soon to be on their way! )

Melora said...

okay, I've got the recipe printed out and sitting on the counter. All I need now is a bag of cranberries and one of pecans. That sounds Delicious!