Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cranberry-Orange Relish and Cranberry-Orange Cake with Lemon Glaze

Naked Simplicity.  An orange.  A bag of cranberries.

It’s already November, though here in LA you still wouldn’t know it by the weather. It was a ridiculous 88 degrees yesterday. It occurred to me, as I wiped my sweaty brow, that I should start posting my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. I love making my Stepmother’s simple cranberry relish. It is a three-ingredient recipe that despite its naked simplicity is delightfully complex. I usually have some left over after Thanksgiving and I fell asleep last night thinking about using the leftover relish in a cake. I got up this morning, made the relish – which takes two minutes – and then invented a cake for it to be in. My children, housekeeper and French teacher gave the cake eight thumbs up. It is super moist, full of flavor and easy to prepare. Getting it out of the pan is the only challenge.

Cranberry Orange Relish
  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 naval orange including peel and pith, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup, less 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
This used to be a recipe for a 16-ounce bag of cranberries and a cup of sugar. This year I cannot find any 16-ounce bags so I modified by dropping some of the sugar. If you find a 16-ounce bag add a full cup of sugar.
Place the cranberries and orange pieces in a food processor. Process on pulse until the orange and cranberries are small enough to make relish.
Remove from the food processor. Add sugar, mix well. Put in the refrigerator. The relish will be best if it is made two days in advance of use (I put some straight into my cake recipe today and it worked fine).

Cranberry-Orange Cake with Lemon Glaze
  • ¾ cup of Cranberry Relish (recipe above)
  • 2 cups less 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces whole milk plain yogurt
Lemon Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (I use Mayer Lemons)
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The easiest way to measure the flour is to put 2 cups of flour into the sifter and then remove 4 tablespoons of flour from the sifter BEFORE you sift or add any other ingredients. Once you have removed the extra flour, add the baking powder, baking soda and salt and sift.

In the bowl of a mixer cream together the sugar, butter and vanilla. Thoroughly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the sifted dry ingredients in four additions, alternating with the yogurt, just until smooth.

Turn half of the batter into a greased and floured 9x13 inch angel food cake pan or similar sized spring form pan. Dot the batter with the cranberry relish. You don’t want to mix it in – just place it lightly on top of the batter trying to spread it evenly around the cake pan. Carefully add the remaining batter, spreading it gently so that the cranberry relish is covered.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Allow cake to rest for 15 minutes. Loosen sides and turn out on a platter.

While the cake is resting, whisk together the lemon juice and the powdered sugar. This is a glaze, rather than frosting and it will be a bit runny.

Once you have the cake turned out on a platter, drizzle the lemon glaze over the top. It will harden in about 15 minutes. This cake is wonderful served warm, and will also be lovely at room temperature. It makes a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving or Holiday dinner.


  1. 1. Must go eat dessert now.
    2. Would you mind sharing: What kind of camera do you use?

  2. Canon 5D Mark II - but it is the lens that matters for these photos. I use a 50mm MACRO lens to shoot food and I only shoot it in the full sun. People look best in open shade, food looks best in full sun. Do you want a photography lesson? I'm happy to give you one.

  3. Ohh, that would be great! I would definitely take you up on the lesson. I'm getting a new camera soon - won't be an SLR, but it'll be an upgrade. It would be fun to see what it can do if I know what I'm doing.