Hello there! It's me, Katie, coming up for air. I keep telling myself that the worst is over, and I do think that's true. The surge of contract work that saw me trying to squeeze studying in around 12 hour days of teaching is mostly done with, and I have to give a huge shout out to my parents who stepped up and shuttled me to and fro and without whom I would not have been able to get it all done. So thanks, it was just like old times. Only waaaay busier.
This is a note a classmate passed me this week:
Ha! Exhaustion, you haven't killed me yet!
While I do think that the worst is over, it ain't all over yet, so I'm going to try and keep my usual loquaciousness in check and get right down to business. You've been real patient with me during this busy time, putting up with a link list instead of a proper post, and the longest stretch to date with out a post at all. You know what patient people get? Cake.
A word about this recipe: it is a cake. Yes, there are some healthier ingredients swimming around in the cake batter; the bulk of the moisture comes from plain fat-free yoghurt, and a blend of all-purpose and spelt flours make up the structure, but this is a cake through and through. I used fat-free yoghurt because I don't often keep sour cream around but there is always yoghurt in the fridge. I used a blend of flours because I like the heartiness and the subtly tart flavour of the spelt flour, which I thought would be a nice complement to the tang of the yoghurt and the cranberries. I used raw Turbinado sugar because I had some kicking around and I thought this cake, neither dainty nor delicate, could handle it. What I'm saying here is, don't let the ingredients trick you into thinking you're not making dessert. You are. And you know what? You deserve it.
The streusel topping elevates this cake to the next level; it's all cinnamony buttery salty goodness in irresistible little clumps. The kind of clumps that my husband or sister-in-law would be stealthily picking off of the cake every time they passed it by. You have to watch people around a streusel topping like this. And a drizzle of a simple milk and icing sugar glaze over the top takes it home. Yum.
Cranberry Spelt Streusel Cake Recipe:
I love this cake for it's versatility. It makes a great addition to a weekend brunch buffet, can be dressed up all pretty for an afternoon tea, or would be a fantastic after dinner coffee cake. If you don't have a tube pan you could bake it in a loaf or a square tin, you'd need to increase the baking time slightly though. And you could spoon the batter into muffin tins and make little cakes, but do me a favour and call them cupcakes.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.
¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon coarse salt (I used Fleur de Sel)
¾ cup all purpose flour
In a small bowl combine all ingredients. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter (I prefer fingers), work the butter into the dry ingredients until all is blended well together, and streusel will hold together in clumps when you squeeze it. Set aside.
½ cup room temperature butter
1 cup raw Turbinado sugar, or granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups plain yoghurt or sour cream*
1 cup frozen cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C. Line the bottom of a tube pan with parchment paper, and butter the sides.
In a medium bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together, and set aside.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and blend until well combined.
Alternating, add flour mixture and yoghurt to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture (add the flour in 3 parts, and the yoghurt in 2 parts). Scrape down sides of the bowl and ensure everything is well combined. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared tube pan, and spread evenly around the bottom. Sprinkle the cranberries evenly over the batter, and top with the remaining half of the batter, spreading evenly around. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter - it will look like too much, but really use all of it.
Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. The cake should be golden on top and spring back upon being gently touched. You can insert a cake tester to check for done-ness as well. Let the cake cool for 10 min in the pan, then carefully run a knife around the edges to loosen, and release the cake from the tube pan (this will be easier if your tube pan has a removable bottom, but it is fine if it doesn't). Invert onto a plate, and then re-invert onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
*Spelt flour is pretty thirsty. If you use entirely all-purpose flour, reduce the yoghurt to 1 cup.
1 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoon milk
Whisk together. Drizzle over cooled cake. Serve.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2011