Being a big fan of cranberries, I decided to turn some of the fresh ones currently in the shops into desert for our annual Christmas bookclub dinner last week. For the last few months I’ve been experimenting with Clotilde‘s versatile Gâteau au Yaourt or Yoghurt Cake, making different flavoured versions, including an All Spice Upside Down Plum Cake for dinner with my uncle, aunt and cousins in the cottage and, when the Boyfriend was hosting his Arabic class at our flat, a Middle Eastern-inspired Pine Nut, Orange and Rose Water Cake.
This time round, after catching sight of Nigella‘s Cranberry Upside Down Cake in her How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook, I decided to adapt her recipe for my own purposes. The cranberries became extra Christmassy when flavoured with port and the cake batter that Nigella uses was replaced by a simple cinnamon-scented yoghurt cake. Although I didn’t quite manage to get the cake out of the tin with all cranberries intact, it still – served warm with plenty of pouring cream – tasted good, the tangy yoghurt base complementing the tart cranberry topping, the seasonal jewel-like berries glistening with rich caramel. And, at a time of the year when stodge seems to rule, it is good to have a decently light desert in your repertoire. Merry Christmas everyone!
Cranberry Christmas Cake
Butter – 80g
Light Muscovado sugar – 100g
Port – 2 tablespoons
Fresh cranberries – 200g
Natural yoghurt – 250ml
Eggs – 2
Light Muscovado sugar – 225g
Vegetable oil – 125ml
Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
Plain flour – 300g
Baking powder – 2½ teaspoons
Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Melt the butter and Muscovado sugar in a heavy-based saucepan. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat, adding the port and cranberries. Mix well so that the cranberries are completely coated then scrape and pour into a 23cm leakproof tin.
Place the yogurt, eggs, Muscovado sugar, oil and vanilla into a large mixing bowl and combine gently. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon on top and mix together quickly but thoroughly. Take care not to overwork the mixture.
Pour the batter on top of the cranberry mixture in the prepared tin. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and well risen.
Remove from the oven and place a serving plate on top of the tin. Quickly – but carefully because of the caramel mixture – turn upside down and gently lift the tin off. Remove any stubborn cranberries from the base of the tin and set them in place on top of the cake.
Serve warm with plenty of pouring cream. Serves 6-8.