This time of year, with a pleasant chill in the air, bakers are always looking for ways to use their favourite seasonal ingredients and spices. In addition to fresh cranberries, we also recommend using Blood Oranges which are in season during the cooler months. They are a sweet orange with a bit of a twist -- a berry twist! This smooth and less biting flavour makes them great for not just this recipe, but also for a fruit spread or jelly.
If you can't find any at your fresh market or grocery store, substituting with your favourite oranges or orange juice will work just as well. Remember though to always taste as you go. The sugar for taste in a recipe like this is simply a guideline. Adjust it accordingly based on how much sugar is in whichever variety of citrus you wind up using so that you achieve the favour you'll enjoy the most.
The nuts are optional, but give a lovely little crunch. Sunflower nuts (seeds that have had their shells removed leaving behind the kernel or nut) are a nice alternative to almonds or walnuts as they are much smaller and have a lighter crunch for those with sensitive teeth or other dental issues.
As a bonus, you'll have some lovely cranberry sauce left over depending on how much you opt to use in your bread.
Cranberry Sauce (You can omit this step if wish to use the canned variety with berries, though not recommended):
- 1 bag of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- .25 tsp cinnamon
- .25 tsp nutmeg
Cranberry Orange Bread:
- 2 cups of pastry flour
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- Zest of one large orange
- .75 cup of orange juice
- 6 tblsp of melted butter
- 1 egg
- .5 cup of nuts or seeds (Your preference. Adjust salt accordingly.)
- 1 cup of prepared cranberry sauce, canned or from recipe above. (Adjust up or down to your taste.)
Cranberry Sauce Preparation:
- Rinse and remove any stems and withered berries. These can be either fresh or frozen. Do not defrost prior to cooking.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water and sugar. Using a silicon spatula, stir to dissolve sugar while working toward a health boiling.
- Dump in cranberries, reduce heat to medium and return to a gentle boil.
- Watch cranberries for bubbling and release of pectin, which will work as a natural thickening agent. Add spices as the bubbling begins.
- Optional crushing of some cranberries can begin for added texture.
- Boil for ten minutes stirring regularly.
- Once thickened, switch off heat. Leave to cool covered off burner.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prep your bundt cake pan with a bit of spray or butter and a light dusting.
- Sift together your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt).
- In a smaller bowl, beat the egg, stir in orange juice, add orange zest, pour in butter until evenly mixed.
- With a wooden spoon, begin add in the first half of the liquid ingredients. Stir until blended before adding the last half. Stir again until all dry and wet ingredients from the two bowls are well combined.
- Remove a quarter of the batter into a small bowl and mix in nuts or seeds thoroughly.
- Pour the batter/nut mixture into the bottom of the bundt pan.
- Scoop some of the room temperature cranberry sauce and mix with the remaining batter. Fold in gently for a light taste and marbled appearance or pour in a full cup and stir well for a richer taste.
- Now add the rest of this cranberry-flavoured batter into the bundt cake that already has the batter-nut mixture
- Even out with a spatula.
- Place in oven to bake. Begin checking around the thirty minute mark. Cook time will vary depending on ovens.
- Once out of the oven, cool on a rack for fifteen minutes. Then thump pan to loosen cake before dumping out onto dish to cool completely.