Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TWD: Not-Just-for-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake



This week's TWD recipe is for the Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread cake, chosen my one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen. Any child who watched cartoons in the early 80s could tell you that Orange Juice is Not Just for Breakfast Anymore, but the fact that Cranberry Shortbread Cake is not just for Thanksgiving anymore has not been as widely known -- until now. Because thanks to Dorie (for creating this recipe) and Jessica (for choosing it) I have no doubt that TWDers everywhere are spreading the word about this cake and its late October/early November/anytime fabulousness.

The recipe begins with a cranberry/orange jam filling. Dorie's recipes are famously clear and easy to follow, and this one is really no exception, yet for some reason all the talk here about orange segments/orange membranes sort of confused me.


I may have done better if I'd had charts and graphs and the steady hand of a surgeon, but lacking all of those things, the process of removing the segments from the membranes went poorly for me, as my segments never completely released from my membranes, and my segments contained leftover pith (which required additional sugar later to offset the bitterness). Basically it was an orange train wreck. Dorie then says to try to squeeze some juice from the membranes, and if you could get 1/4 cup, great! I could not even get 1/4 teaspoon. (Seriously, did anybody out there get any measurable amount of juice out of the membranes?) No matter, water or additional orange juice worked just fine. I added the cranberries and sugar (and extra sugar to taste, per Dorie's suggestion) and the jam cooked up beautifully.

The cake is a shortbread cake {as the recipe name would indicate} and the batter tastes EXACTLY like super awesome sugar cookie dough. Cranberry filling between sugar cookies? Sign me up! As it turned out, the cake definitely baked into a cake, not a cookie - the texture was a little on the dense and chewy side (in a good way!), and the sugary/buttery flavor paired so well with the tart filling. We loved this one!



Jessica, thanks so much for the fantastic pick! Hurry over to Jessica's blog for fun narratives, beautiful pictures, and the recipe!

12 comments:

Di said...

Hey, Cathy! That looks delicious. The whole segmenting the orange thing is definitely hard to follow if you haven't done it. This might help:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa-_O4vJqRw&feature=related

Once you've cut out the segments, you can squeeze what's left to get some juice--I got about half the quarter cup needed, and supplemented with additional OJ.

mike said...

Ok, I still don't understand, even with Di's directions. I separated the membranes and started squeezing them to get juice and thought whynot just take a reamer and juice the orange half? Which is what I did - I seriously need flash cards. But your end result (membrane or no membrane) was fantastic!

Kayte said...

This is where Whisk Wednesdays came in handy, I had done that whole orange segment thing for that and it isn't bad once you get used to doing it...very fun actually. I didn't get a full quarter cup of juice either, my orange must have been a little old, but I have in the past so it is doable if you know how to pick out the right orange, which I don't. I just subbed in regular orange juice, not the same, I know, but close enough. Your cake looks spectacular! Really really pretty and elegant.

Jess said...

OK, maybe I'm glad I didn't have an orange and had to use some OJ from a box. No membranes involved whatsoever! But whatever you did to your orange parts, your cake looks fabulous.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

You are oh-so-right about the chewy in a good way texture of this cake. I really can't read too many more posts about this cake, and look at fabulous pictures like yours, because even though I've been baking in my kitchen all day, what I really want is more of this cake!

I have no memory of exactly what I did with my orange, but I do know that I used plenty of orange juice from a bottle because there was a pittance after I squeezed the membranes.

Tracey said...

This was my first time segmenting an orange (though I've watched it done on plenty of cooking shows) and it was pretty messy over here, but still fun. I completely agree with your assessment of the dough - I loved the chewiness of it. Not a recipe I'd have chosen but a new favorite here for sure! Yours look terrific!

Thanks for your kind comment today - brightened an otherwise blah afternoon :)

Katrina said...

LOVE that loast photo with the red gingham and red plate. This was definitely a cookie masquerading as a cake.

Rachel said...

Yours looks lovely! I cheated and used an orange squeezer, it worked fine and I had tons of juice, more than the 1/4 cup (very juicy organic orange). Wasn't this so delicious? Mmmmm. :)

TeaLady said...

I used manderine oranges and didn't get nearly enuff juice. So used two oranges. Ah, well.
This was tasty wasn't it?? Definitely a keeper.

Pretty cake you have there.

Karen said...

Glad this turned out so well for you. I was confused by the membranes as well and had a difficult time getting them to release as well. Looks great!

The Blonde Duck said...

I've heard this was great!

Jessica said...

LOL! I had the same issue with the slicing of the oranges, etc. I gave up on that a long time ago, though. I think the perfectionist in me realizes I'm never going to get it just right, so I go the other direction and just sort of haphazardly hack at the poor orange. I'm so happy the tortfeasor family liked this pick! Thanks for baking along with me, Cathy!

 
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