We had two ideas for what to bring for dessert last night. It was going to be either Ruth Reichl's New York style cheesecake or Ina Garten's easy cranberry apple cake. Trust me, when you are cooking for a masterful chef like Barb, you need the security of a brand-name recipe.
The cranberry-apple cake won for three reasons. One, we had most of the ingredients on hand. Two, Phil remembered that Paul didn't eat cheesecake. Three, this was a new recipe (from a cookbook that Ann gave us for Christmas). All the cooking advice I've ever read recommends making something tried and true when cooking for others. Fluting that advice, we decided to make something brand new. We like surprises!
This recipe is a keeper because it really is easy and the cake is a nice melange of sweet and tart flavors. And I think it's pretty healthful, especially compared with many of Ina's recipes. (You don't mind if I call you by your first name do you, Ina? 'Cause I have every cookbook you've ever written on my kitchen shelf, so you're getting to be like a family member around here.)
As the recipe suggests, this cake is best served warm with vanilla ice cream.
Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake
From Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?
12 oz fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 Tblsp grated orange zest (use two oranges)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (use the same two oranges)
1 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temp
1 cup plus 1 Tblsp sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.
Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. (I sprayed mine with Pam). Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a tooth-pick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.