. And let the New Year begin. 2012, what do you have in store for me?
My guess is too many desserts to keep track of [good thing for LSM] and some exciting trips Robbie and I are already conjuring up.
I know, I know, we just got back from a trip, right? Right. And it was wonderful. Hence, our need to schedule more. They have apparently become an evil necessity in our lives. But who am I to argue?
So let me fill you in on the trip Robbie and I just returned from, a special trip down to Scottsdale, Arizona. Robbie's parents recently bought a house on the outskirts of Scottsdale, in a 'neighborhood' called Desert Mountain [no need to Google, I included a link for you]. When you go to their website, you're hit with the header 'An Award Winning Lifestyle' and I can't really come up with any other way to describe it. The area is gorgeous, settled in the hilly terrain of Arizona and dotted with ah-mazing houses. Truly, these houses are indescribable. Check out the website for sneak peaks. And not to mention, absolutely perfect weather. Mid 70's every day we were there. Oh darn, nice day again? Spoiled. And for you golfers out there, welcome to the golfer's paradise. I kid you not. Again, check out that website.
So needless to say Robbie and I got our fair share of sun and relaxation the last few days, spending time golfing, shopping, laying out at the pool, biking, walking, and just enjoying family time. Oh yes, and we also got to celebrate bringing in the New Year with his family at one of the [many] clubhouses over a gourmet buffet and live music/dancing. Once I get all of my pictures uploaded from Christmas and New Years, you can bet I'll be plastering them in a post. Patience, my friends.
But you can see why Robbie and I are already itching to get our vacation on again. It's a disease. I swear.
Anywho, to kick-start 2012, I decided to share with you all a recipe that I made for our pre-Christmas softball gathering I mentioned in a post the other week. As I also mentioned, I made Cherry Walnut Fudge and Eggnog Cookies for the 'party' but c'mon, I couldn't just stop at two things. No, I had to make a third and oOoo, am I glad I did. Not only was this dessert easier than I thought, but it was outrageously delicious, far exceeding any [already high] expectations I had using a recipe from Dorie Greenspan.
This dessert has all of the wonderful elements you could hope for in a cake. Soft, sweet, brown sugary cake topped with fresh, tart cranberries and crunchy pecans together with a simple butter-sugar mixture. To round out the treat, red currant jelly is slathered across the top, which ever-so-slowly drips down the sides of this warm cake. This recipe is sweet enough for a dessert, but could also be served as a decadent breakfast. Or just as a snack here or there, it's really up to you!
When you bite into this cake, that's when the magic truly happens. To me, the appearance of this dessert wasn't anything outrageous [gasp]. But the moment my taste buds got a sneak peak, that all went out the window. My favorite part is the burst of tartness you get every once in a while from the cranberries, complemented by the deep, rich nuttiness from the pecans and brown sugary goodness from the cake. It all works together in complete harmony.
Well, I hope everyone's New Years and New Years resolutions are off to a good start. If not, make this cake. It'll make anything and everything brighter. Happy New Year all! .
- I'm saddened to write that I don't have step-by-step pictures for this recipe. I was in a mad rush making all of the goodies for the party and didn't have time. But don't fret, this cake is easy peasy to put together.
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
14 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. minus 2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. chopped pecans
2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
1/3 c. whole milk
1/3 c red currant jelly
- Heat oven to 350°F. Place 8-inch pan onto baking sheet; set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in small saucepan. Sprinkle in 6 tablespoons of sugar and cook, stirring until mixture comes to boil. Pour evenly into bottom of pan. Sprinkle over pecans and top with cranberries. Set aside.
- In large bowl, beat remaining 8 tablespoons of butter on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue beating until pale and creamy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Pour in vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low and add half of dry ingredients, mixing only until it disappears into batter. Mix in milk and then the remaining dry ingredients. Spoon batter over cranberries and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until cake is golden and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and run a knife around edges before inverting cake onto serving platter (scrape any of the cranberry mixture left in the pan onto cake).
- Warm red currant jelly in small bowl in microwave. Gently brush the jelly over the hot cake.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings