I don’t recall ever having seen a fresh cranberry in Australia. Sweet, shrivelled little dried ones, yes, but not fresh ones. They must have been there, but I suspect further south than where I lived in the sub-tropics. When I first spotted them in the markets here in Switzerland, I passed by them with a mild sense of curiosity which was quickly erased by a complete lack of familiarity with them. Well, curiosity generally wins out in the end, especially when the internet is full to bursting with pages determined to overcome my ignorance. So I bought a box and started searching. Cranberry sauce, cranberry jam and candied cranberries filled tab after tab of my browser. The latter won out.
I’m now a fresh cranberry convert.
And I think I could live quite happily on the ones rolled in sugar. A little sweet, a little tart and utterly moreish.
Makes 1 x 25cm (10″) ring or bundt cake
Cranberries need to soak overnight
Cake: 15 minutes plus 45 minutes baking
Frosting: 10 minutes
340g (12 oz) fresh cranberries
400g (2 cups) granulated sugar
500ml (2 cups) water
additional sugar for coating cranberries for decoration
250g (2 cups, spooned and scraped) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch fine salt
225g (1 cup or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
3 large eggs (about 200g or 7 oz), room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
180g (3/4 cup) sour cream, room temperature
115g (4 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
55g (2 oz or half a stick) unsalted butter, diced, slightly softened
85g (2/3 cup, unsifted) powdered (confectioners’) sugar, plus extra as required
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Rinse the cranberries and prick each one with a toothpick, then place them in a heat-proof bowl.
Pour the hot syrup over the cranberries, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Drain cranberries, reserving liquid (to use in cocktails or mixed with soda water).
Take about 1/4 cup of the cranberries and roll in additional granulated sugar to use as decoration for your cake – either larger ones to cut in half or smaller ones to keep whole. Spread on a sheet of parchment to dry.
Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour a 25cm (10″) ring or bundt pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.
Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, folding in with a firm whisk until just combined after each addition.
Fold in cranberries that you did not roll in sugar.
Spread batter evenly in pan.
Bake in centre of oven until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool before frosting.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth and creamy, adding extra as needed to get the desired consistency. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Spread the frosting all over the cake.
Take the reserved sugar-coated candied cranberries and arrange them on top of the cake.