The Cranberry fruit is something that I discovered here in America. Since then the rich eye- popping, red colored fruit with a tongue-tingling tart flavor has me absolutely hooked on to it.
I sure had seen these fruits around back in India too, but there, they were found mostly in dried form and that too only in specialty grocery stores like Food hall, Nature's Basket and Modern bazaar. Having tasted the dried cranberries I had found them to be delicious- sweet with a slight tinge of tartness in them.
After coming here, to the U.S, on one of our many trips to the supermarkets (and believe me in the beginning we were there almost every day as initially something or the other 'important' item would be forgotten or left out in the shopping list), I came across packets of fresh cranberries in the vegetable section. Red and plump, the fruit looked really attractive and I immediately grabbed a packet, keen to try out what they tasted like. Well!! nothing in the world had me prepared for the tartness of the fresh cranberries leaving me to wonder why on earth was this sour fruit so popular here in America.
Sure enough after the first 'sour' experience they were lying neglected in a corner as nobody wanted to look at them. After a few days,tired of seeing them lying around, I thought instead of throwing them away and wasting the fruit, why not stew them with sugar and make a sauce. The sauce turned out to be absolutely mind blowing. I just couldn't have enough of it and needless to say everyone loved it too. The added sugar and spices cut down the tartness and instead gave it this perky, tongue tingling flavor which with every bite left you wanting for more.
And this is exactly when my love affair with this ruby like fruit began!!
When we shifted here to U.S two months back, unfortunately our daughter could not come with us. She had applied for admission for the spring session in the College of Houston here and was waiting for her confirmation from the college. As everything was a little uncertain and she was already pursuing a course of her choice and that too in one of the best colleges in India, we thought it best for her to continue her undergrad course so she does not waste her year. With a heavy heart we had left her back home in India, though we were comforted by the fact that she was not completely alone as both her grandparents were there to look after her.
It was a tough time for all of us, more so for me as being a mother one tends to be too emotionally attached to your kids and however much the kids might grow up, you would always think they need looking after. Though of course my daughter thought otherwise and managed quite well on her own.
A few weeks back we got the much awaited news that her application has been accepted by the college. We were all thrilled and made excited plans for her to join us here soon. it is only when one family member is not present you realize how incomplete one is as a family, as if something important was missing from your life.
Of course this was just a small trailer of what we would be facing in the future when the kids flow the nest, but hopefully we will be much better prepared by then.
My daughter arrived last week. To celebrate her arrival I planned a special dinner and also baked a cake as in our house no celebrations are complete without cutting a cake.
I wanted to try out something different from the usual chocolate cake that everyone is so fond of. I thought of baking something with my new found love, fresh cranberries and searching the net I found this interesting recipe of a Cranberry upside-down cake.
The topping is made with sweet and sticky caramelized cranberries which is beautifully paired with a light and fluffy butter cake. The best thing I liked about this recipe is because of the cranberry layer it is almost like a self saucing cake, the stewed fruit on top keeping the cake really moist. I absolutely fell in love with the flavors.
Indeed it is a special cake to celebrate a special moment!!
Recipe slightly adapted from EVERYDAY FOOD
6 tablespoons lucerne light spreadable butter
11/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice powder
1 3/4 cups fresh cranberries
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (2 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center.
Rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with 2 tablespoons butter.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon and allspice.
Sprinkle mixture evenly over bottom of pan; arrange cranberries in a single layer on top.
I also heated a handful of cranberries with 2 tbsp brown sugar till they popped about 3-4 minutes. Then layered the bottom of a greased/ buttered pan with the fruit.
Sprinkle some extra brown sugar on top. It gives the cake a lovely caramelized flavor.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar till fluffy for 4-5 minutes.
Heat the butter in microwave for 40 seconds till melted.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and rest of the dry ingredients.
Add flour mixture into the egg mixture alternating with milk till well combined.
Add in the melted butter and vanilla essence and mix well.
Spoon batter over cranberries in pan, and smooth top.
Place pan on a baking sheet.
Bake cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake.
Invert onto a rimmed platter.