Cranberry and orange streusel cake

ldonohuecrumbsonthetablecranberryorangestreusel-cakeThis cake makes a moist, festive and fresh-tasting treat for November and December when cranberries are in season and oranges are really good.  It has a lovely, fine crumb and isn’t icky sweet.  The tartness of the cranberries provides a great contrast to the streusel topping and the delicious orange icing made with fresh orange juice.  It’s colourful and very pleasing for morning coffee or afternoon tea when you want a bit of an indulgence and pick-me-up.  I also fancy it for lazy holiday brunches when I have house guests, to fill the muffin niche.  And why not? I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like having a suitable cake on the table for breakfast.

This cake is based on the David Leibovitz recipe I adapted for blackcurrants.  It’s a brilliant foundation recipe that you can vary with all kinds of fruits (he uses plums in his original and adds a toffee sauce, which I’ve also used to top an apple version).  It’s pretty easy to throw together, and the streusel topping is the nicest I know, with a subtle sweetness and excellent texture from sliced almonds. This is a well-balanced cake, with just the right proportion of foundation to fruit and topping.

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Finding time in the festive season

[This is one in a series of Crumbs on the Table columns published in Cambridge Magazine.  It includes recipes for a lightly curried Salmon Egg Gratin that’s a do-ahead boon for lunch, brunch, dinner or as part of a holiday buffet; plus a whimsical and light-as-a-feather gluten-free Chocolate Roulade with Ginger Cream, decorated with homemade meringue mushrooms and chocolate leaves.] [Read More…]

Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing

laura-donohue-crumbsonthetable-cornbread-stuffingThis is the dish that means Thanksgiving to me.  It’s a recipe handed down by my mother and I treasure it as much for that as for its taste.  It’s a family-heirloom, with roots in my mother’s Texas childhood, though she learned to make it for herself with the help of the Good Housekeeping cookbook she was given as a wedding present.  It had a ‘this is how you do it’ Thanksgiving menu, she tells me, and she followed the whole elaborate plan as close to the letter as she could for that first Thanksgiving she and my father shared.

It’s the cornbread that makes the stuffing.  Mixed with a roughly equal amount of dried bread cubes, the still-moist cornbread adds the slight sweetness and fragrance of maize, and a slight crunch that makes for an excellent texture.  Fragrant with herbs and moist with cooked onions and celery, it’s a lighter and fluffier stuffing than most – substantial, but not stodgy.  It keeps you coming back, though, and I can’t guarantee you won’t overdo it, as people mostly do. You need to make more than you think to allow for leftovers.

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