Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cranberry Maple Pecan Breakfast Cake

Almost a month has passed since I've posted anything, and it feels like an eternity.  We had a full house for Christmas week, and even though I did a lot of cooking, there was no time to take photos let alone write about what I had cooked.  The day after Matt and Lauren went back to Florida, we received the news that my father-in-law had passed away and we were off to California.  These past few weeks have felt like a whirlwind.

I'm home now and have come to realize that I sort of missed my routine.  Don't get me wrong, I loved having the kids home for Christmas.  And as sad as it was to say goodbye to Paul's father, we had the rare opportunity to have the entire Kipp clan together, a bittersweet gathering.  Time passes all too quickly, and with the family spread all over the country, it seems as if weddings and funerals are the only times we all get to be in one place.

So, I'm back in NY, I've gone back to work, and wouldn't you know it, it's a three day weekend!  I LOVE three day weekends.  They allow me time to do my normal weekend things, with a bonus day to play and do whatever I see fit to do.  My "play" usually involves some culinary or photographic adventure.  Since it was absolutely FREEZING this morning, I opted to bake something and play around with my new lens that I have been dying to put to use since Christmas.  I've been also browsing through a cookbook I received for Christmas, and decided to make a simple breakfast cake.  It was a very good decision.  It was quick and easy to prepare, and quite delicious.  I had plenty of time to play with my camera.  I'm still learning my camera, determined to avoid using the auto mode, so photographing anything takes time...I'll get there eventually.

This recipe comes from:  flour,  Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe.  If you enjoy baking, I highly recommend this cookbook.  It is one of those books that I would like to bake, cover to cover.  I first learned of Flour Bakery from the Food Network.  I've been making their banana bread for some time now, and it's become a favorite.  I have a feeling I will be discovering many new favorite recipes from this book in the future.  You might notice that measurements of ingredients are listed in weight and volume.  I've learned that I get consistently better results in baking when I measure by weight. (especially when it comes to flour and sugar).  The original recipe includes a maple glaze.  I decided the cake was sweet enough without a glaze.  If you have a super sweet tooth, just drizzle a mixture of 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar dissolved with 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup over the cake while it is still warm. Oh and by the way, I'm talking real maple syrup, Mrs. Butterworth's simply will not work in this recipe.

Right before Christmas I bought some extra cranberries and popped them in the freezer.  If you can still get them, I suggest you do the same before they are gone for the season.  Cranberries are great to use in chutneys, salsa, and all kinds of baked goods.

Cranberry-Maple-Pecan Breakfast Cake

                                    by Joanne Chang with Christie Matheson
Makes One 9x5 inch loaf 


Maple Pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) toasted and chopped pecans
The remaining cake ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups (160 grams) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (86 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt, mixed with 2 tablespoons low-fat milk at room temperature (the original recipe calls for 1/3 cup buttermilk)
  • 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/3 cup (110 grams) maple syrup
  • 1 cup (100 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan and lightly flour the bottom of pan.
  3. Combine 2 tablespoons of maple syrup with the toasted pecans in a sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat stirring constantly for 3 or 4 minutes until syrup is absorbed by the pecans.  Remove from heat and transfer pecans to a plate and cool completely.  Set aside.
  4. Using a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar with the softened butter.  Mix on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  This should take about 4 minutes.
  5. In a separate small bowl, combine the yogurt-milk mixture (or buttermilk) with the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla.  Whisk until completely combined.  
  6. Pour half of the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy.
  7. Turn off mixer and scrape bowl.
  8. Turn the mixer back on to low, and slowly add the remaining liquid mixture.  Mix for half a minute, stop and scrape sides, then mix for another minute.
  9. Remove bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the maple pecans and chopped cranberries.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  (start checking at 50 minutes - it should be nicely browned and the top will spring back when lightly pressed in the center)
  11. Cool on rack for 30 minutes.  Remove from pan and allow to finish cooling.
  12. Cake will keep wrapped in plastic for 3 days.

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