As I went for this morning's walk, which was truncated due to the nip in the air, I could smell winter lurking. The leaves are all down, smoke is churning out of a few chimneys on this quiet Wednesday morning, and the wind is blowing the water on the pond making it choppy and gray. The smell is welcome, really, because it's new and it made me excited about the holidays coming up, mostly for the food. Gravies and creamy potatoes, and all sorts of heavy things. I'm never able to fit too much dessert in because the main course always ruins it, doesn't it? So, I'm making some holiday cake a little early so I can enjoy it while it steams away in my hands, not ruined by a crispy pile of turkey skin (yes, I can't resist it) or a gratin of some sort. I'll still make it for the holidays though because it was one of the easiest recipes around, somewhat good for me (yogurt and whole wheat flour! Come on, give a girl a break!) and looks just so homey and pretty with it's sparkling cranberries and crisp layer of brown sugar crust. Visions of sugar plums, indeed!
This is based on the yogurt cake I wrote about here. I tweaked it to make my own slightly tart, not too sweet, holiday version. I also made some cranberry sauce with cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest to plate the slices with, but I'm not sure I'll get that far today!
2 cups of whole wheat white flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup brown sugar, and a handful extra for topping
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of whole milk plain yogurt
1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves--yeah, I'm lazy, so sue me! I got this at the health food store in the bulk section to save me some time this season. Also, it's fresher!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. spiced rum
Preheat the oven to 350° F, and grease a ten-inch springform pan. In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil and rum. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and spices. Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and blend together. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and top with cranberries--as many or as little as you like. I didn't pack them in so they could have space to mix with the handful of brown sugar that you need to scatter over them. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is crispy brown, the cranberries are popping and oozing their tart goodness, and a knife comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, run a knife around to loosen, and turn out on a rack to cool.
P.S. I entered my Cranberry Spice Yogurt Cake in the Bon Appetit Holiday Bake-Off contest. You can vote here.