Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Project 4: Cranberry upside-down cake

So somewhere along the line, I decided that KP and I shouldn't show up at his family's Thanksgiving empty handed.  Surely I can find something yummy to bake for dessert, right?  I've got baking down!

I picked this.  I'm on a bit of a cranberry kick recently, and it just sounded delicious.  So tonight after work, I stopped by Kroger to grab my ingredients (that was my first mistake, going to the grocery the night before freaking Thanksgiving) so I could get back to the house and get my bake on.  I ran into issues, even at the store.  The recipe calls for buttermilk, and there is none.  A quick google search on my phone shows that there is a way to make a buttermilk substitute, but my phone sucks and I can't actually see what that solution is.  I cross my fingers and hope that whatever I need, it's at the house already.  You know what else I couldn't find?  Cranberries.  You know the things that are really important to making "Cranberry" upside-down cake?  Yeah.  Apparently we don't sell those here.  At least Kroger doesn't.  There's no fresh cranberries, there's no frozen cranberries, and there's no cranberries in a can (like pie filling) or anything.  There's cranberry sauce, but I'm pretty sure that would have been a bad idea.  I finally find these packets of dried berries, which have cranberries, cherries, and blueberries in them.  I grab two packets and hope that along with the buttermilk, I can figure out a way to make my not ideal berries work for my recipe.  Oy.
These count as "fresh or frozen cranberries", right?

At home, I find out that buttermilk substitute can be made by adding lemon juice to milk.  This sounds gross, but several baking sites claim this is the way to go, and I'm desperate.  The berries, I put in a quarter cup of the cran-grape juice we have in the fridge, put saran-wrap over the container, and put it into the microwave for a minute to kick-start the rehydration process.  When it's time to put the berries in the pan, they're not really all that hydrated, but it looks like maybe they've soaked up a little of the juice, and I don't want to still be baking this at two in the morning, so into the pan it goes!

The dry ingredients go into the wet ingredients, and there's an awful lot of stirring.  While stirring, I consider how life would be so much easier if I would use boxed cake mix.  Let's face it, this recipe probably isn't any healthier than the boxed mix, so really it just comes down to bragging rights.  "I made the cake from scratch!" But flour is such a pain in the ass.  (At least it isn't confectioner's sugar.)

The cake goes in the oven at 350.  I taste the spoon to see if it kills me.  Maybe that whole buttermilk thing will work our afterall!

The cake is out now, and I'm slightly terrified.  It smells good, and looks good, but what if it sucks?  I cannot show up at Thanksgiving dinner with an awful cake.  I have no idea what the berry top tastes like, or whether it goes well with the cake (which may taste differently now that it's baked).

...I think I'm going to go curl up in bed and pretend I'm not taking an untested cake to dinner in twelve hours.

P.S: I had a little nibble of a piece that stuck to the pan when I flipped the cake.  It's not bad!  Unfortunately, the dark color of the berries and the juice make it look totally overdone.   It's not like a pineapple upside-down cake where everything is a golden color.  Ah well. You can't judge a cake by it's color?

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think it looks fine. You can also buy dry buttermilk, and add it with the dry ingredients, then add the water for it with the wet. All in all, the cake looks good enough to eat!