17 December 2009

Dessert for a crowd

When I'm not enjoying the coziness of home or out with friends, I am most likely to be found in the lab, studying the embryonic development of worm intestines. Before anyone of you thinks "worms, yuck!" let me tell you that I work on elegant worms. They're even called C. elegans! Anyway, these worms have been sucking up more than their fair share of my attention of late, and as a result I feel like it's been a while since I've been here sharing with you what's been going on in my kitchen. If it gets quiet around here, let's blame it on the worms, or on writing of papers about worms. I guess all this to say, I've missed you! So I'm slowing down, and getting back to some of the more important things in life.

I really wanted to share this fantastic new recipe with you for Cranberry Crumble Coffee Cake. Just saying the name is kind of fun, isn't it? Roll your rrr's and try saying it again. Crrranberry Crrrumble Coffee Cake. I needed dessert for a crowd one evening a couple weeks ago, and I thought a nice big cake would work well. Then I had a ton of fresh cranberries left over from Thanksgiving (anyone else with me on that?) and this cake evolved from there. It comes out as a nice soft and fluffy cake with a layer of sweet cinnamon-spiced cranberries and a crumbly, crunchy topping of cinnamon walnut streusel. This is great served as dessert or at a holiday brunch, and it would be super cute cupcake-style, baked up in muffin tins! So enough talking about this cake, here's the recipe, so you can get in the kitchen and enjoy it yourself!

Using seasonal cranberries and adding the festive flavors of cinnamon and nuts, Cranberry Crumble cake is perfect for this time of year.

Cranberry Crumble Coffee Cake

Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup flour
1 cup walnut pieces

Cranberry Layer:
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. cinnamon
4 cups fresh cranberries

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
3 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk

Combine all ingredients for the crumble topping and mix until well blended and crumbly; chill in refrigerator while mixing the rest of the cake.

Rinse and drain the cranberries, allowing some water to remain on the berries (this will help the sugar to stick). Place berries in a large bowl. Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a small bowl, and then sprinkle over the cranberries, tossing to coat well.

For the cake, cream together butter and sugar; beat in the egg. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Spread dough in a lightly-oiled 9 x 13 - inch pan. Top with cranberries and then with the crumbly streusel. Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

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