Apple Cranberry Caramel Cake

The holidays may be well over, but it's freezing here in Minnesota and I can't help but crave all things warm.  Roasting and baking are two of the best perks of winter in my book.  So with a high of 6 degrees the other day, making a winter fruit dessert seemed like a no-brainer. 

It's apple-cranberry-caramel, which at first I was a bit skeptical about (I had caramels, so why not throw them in?).  The man gave it a "Cake part? Perfect. Fruit part? Perfect." rating so I'll take it as a winner.  The caramel added a creamy sweetness to the fruit filling, while the cranberries did their thing without competing.  

This is a great weekday dessert cake - you can whip it together very quickly, and it makes a super yummy breakfast with a dollop of greek yogurt.  Because breakfast should always be last night's dessert.

Apple Cranberry Caramel Cake
adapted from Barefoot Contessa

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (I used a bit less)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cake flour (or, you can use 1 cup all-purpose flour and omit the cake flour if you don't have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 325.  Mix the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, apple cider, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a stand mixer (or whatever your style), beat the eggs for a minute on medium speed.  Then, with the mixer running, add sugar, butter, vanilla, and sour cream and mix until combined.  On low speed, stir in the flours.  
In a pie pan (I used a standard glass one), pour the fruit mixture evenly across the bottom.  Pour the batter over the fruit and spread evenly.  If you want, you can sprinkle some extra sugar or cinnamon across the top.  Bake for 55-60 minutes until the top is beautifully golden and you can't wait anymore.  Serve with freshly whipped cream or cinnamon ice cream for extra brownie points. 

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