For Fans of Steamed Pudding: Cranberry Spice Cake

Around Thanksgiving, I stocked up on fresh cranberries without having a solid plan for how I was going to use them. I know you can freeze cranberries, but freezer space is always at a premium at our house. So I looked for some fresh cranberry recipes and decided to try Karen DeMasco's Cranberry Spice Cake

I've made a lot of cakes and desserts with fresh cranberries, and I don't think I've ever made one that uses finely chopped cranberries -- but this recipe calls for cranberries (fresh or frozen) that have been run through the food processor. Other than that, the recipe is straightforward. You combine  flour, baking soda, ground cardamom, cinnamon, and salt in one bowl; combine sugar, dark brown sugar, oil, eggs, lemon zest, orange zest, sour cream, and vanilla in another; alternately add the flour mixture and apple cider to the sugar mixture; and fold in the chopped cranberries.
I baked the cake in a parchment-lined pan and while it was still warm from the oven, I topped it with a glaze made from powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. I waited until the glaze was the set and the cake was completely cooled to cut it.
 
The texture of this cake really surprised me. While the headnote says that the cake is "very moist, perfect for fans of steamed pudding," I would describe this cake as not just moist, but wet and heavy. The chopped cranberries had a ton of moisture in them, and I found the wet texture in the finished product unappealing. If I hadn't made this cake myself, I might have assumed it had been steamed. The recipe instructs you to store the cake at room temperature, but I found that I preferred it chilled, when the texture was firmer and seemed less wet.

The flavor of the cake was lightly spiced and pleasantly citrus-y, and my favorite part was the zingy lemon glaze. The cranberry flavor was less pronounced than I had expected, I think because the cranberries were chopped so small. I liked the idea of a cake with cranberries and citrus and spice very much -- but wasn't a huge fan of the wet finished product.
 
Recipe" Cranberry Spice Cake" by Karen DeMasco, from Fine Cooking.

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