This cake can only be described in the words of a 12-year old girl at the mall: OMG OMG OMG. I just can't believe how good this is! It's very easy - maybe a few more ingredients than I had thought would be in an easy cake recipe, but Ina talks you through exactly how to add them.
You prepare the fruit first and put it in a bowl with brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and orange juice. This is set aside and then the eggs are beaten with an electric mixer and the remaining ingredients get added to the egg mixture. The dough ends up tasting like a sugar cookie dough (oh yes, I tasted it) and the sour cream gives it this great, soft consistency and a tiny hint of tang without messing with the sweet sugary goodness.
Then you dump the fruit in the pie plate (it seemed like a lot of fruit to me, but it worked out perfectly) and the dough is spread on top. While it's baking, the dough sinks and fills in all the gaps around the fruit, and gets a beautiful "crust" made of airy, golden cake on top.
There are two small details that ended up being the major reasons I loved this cake. The first is the brightness that the orange zest and juice gives the cake. It's like a magical cranberry enhancer. Everyone knows that cranberry/orange muffins are delicious, and the combination is amazing in this cake.
The other is the simple tablespoon of granulated sugar that you sprinkle on top of the cake. It just makes all the difference in the world, creating this sweet, invisible sugar crust on the cake.
Of course, I did what I always do and I forgot to put the sugar on and had to add it half way through baking (whoops!) but it still turned out great and was a huge hit. I will make this again and again!
Easy Cranberry Apple Cake
Ina Garten, How Easy is That?
12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
11⁄8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange
juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer
on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla,
and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly
add the flour and salt.
Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the
batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon and
sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick
inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.
Serve warm or at room temperature.