This week's Tuesdays with Dorie was selected by Sabrina of Superfluous: cranberry upside-downer. Though my neighboring state of Massachusetts is one of the biggest producers of fresh cranberries in the US (we drove by a few bogs on the way to one of Shane's triathlons last year - so cool!), it's just a tad too early for them. I normally keep my freezer stocked so I have enough to last me from one season to the next, but I've used all of mine up already. They'll be popping up in stores everywhere soon enough, but this week I was happy to make some substitutions, especially since I actually tried this cake with fresh cranberries back in February of 2009 (post here). I think that may be the only time I've jumped ahead and made something from Dorie's book that hadn't already been selected, but I simply couldn't resist the gorgeous photo accompanying the recipe!
This week, I used some fruit I'd stashed in my freezer earlier this summer. I halved the recipe and made two mini cakes in my 4" springform pans - one with peaches and the second with cherries and pecans. A combination of melted butter and sugar lines the bottom of the pans before the fruit is placed, then the cake batter tops it all. While my cakes baked, a lot of the juices seemed to escape out the bottom of my springform pans. I'm not sure why as I haven't had issues with these pans before - maybe a springform just isn't the best choice for this recipe. The cakes baked in about 24 minutes and when I removed them from the oven and flipped them from the pans, they released perfectly. I wish I'd used more fruit, especially on the cherry cake, as it looked really bare - note to self for next time. I glazed the peach cake with thinned apricot preserves and the cherry cake with thinned raspberry preserves, which made them both shiny and gave them a little more color.
The mini peach cake was dessert tonight for me, and it was outstanding!! The cake in this recipe has a warm spiced flavor from the cinnamon and is really sturdy, though tender, and absorbs the juices from the fruit without getting soggy (nothing worse than a soggy cake!). The butter/sugar combo on the bottom of the pan doesn't really caramelize, but instead makes the fruit buttery, sweet and ridiculously tasty. It would be the perfect counter to the tartness of fresh cranberries. I can't wait to make this cake when fresh cranberries start popping up all over New England.
Many thanks to Sabrina for hosting this week! You can find the recipe on Sabrina's blog or on page 206 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Speaking of Dorie's books, her new one arrived on my doorstep late last week and it is stunning! Dorie's books, for me anyway, are the kind of cookbooks that I open and read from cover to cover, engrossed by the stories and photographs. I remember when I picked up my copy of Baking several years ago, I did the same thing. There aren't too many other cookbooks that have held my attention the same way, and I am so excited to start on this new one!