Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cranberry Orange Nut Loaf/Cake

Not yo' Mama's fruit cake... well, actually it is!  My Mom has made this delicious cranberry orange nut loaf cake for years, it is one of my Dad's and my favorites and I thought it would be fun to have her show me how she makes them.  This is a delicious fruit and nut bread/cake perfect for your holiday table.  It combines tart cranberries, nuts and dates, and it is soaked in a sweet tart orange juice, sugar mixture that makes it moist and delicious! 

My Mom and I decide to make a large batch of this to enjoy over the holiday season.  It freezes well so we will have plenty to share with friends and family at holiday gatherings.  She clipped the original recipe out of the Oakland Press about 30 years ago and still has it in her recipe box! 

Cranberry Orange Cake (Loaf)
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

3 eggs beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup oil

1 cup diced dates
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chopped cranberries
Zest of 2 oranges

1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
Stir to dissolve

Directions:  Mix orange juice and sugar and stir to dissolve, set aside.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Stir in cranberries, orange zest, nuts and dates.  Mix eggs, milk and oil in separate bowl, add this to flour mixture, mixing well. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until toothpick in center comes out clean.  Bake in  10" tube pan (bundt) or smaller loaf pans that have been sprayed or greased and floured (we also put some wax paper into pan to make removal easy.)  Let set in pan for about 10 minutes then remove to cool to luke warm on a cake rack.  Place rack over a wide dish or pan.  Pour and spoon the orange juice/sugar mixture that you made at the beginning over cake using the drippings until all is absorbed in cake.  Wrap cakes in foil and refrigerate 24 hours.  Serve with whipped cream.  Keeps in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Freezes well.

Cooks Notes - The original recipe calls for it to be baked in a Bundt cake pan but we usually make it in smaller loaf pans to make it easier for gift giving. We made a double batch today and it made 1 large loaf, 1 medium loaf and 3 smaller loafs. When completely cooled we wrapped them in foil and set them in the fridge for 24 hours to let the flavors combine, then we will put some of them in the freezer to pull out as needed over the holidays!

First mix the orange juice concentrate and sugar and let set while
preparing everything else, stirring  occasionally.  
This insures that the sugar dissolves well!  


 Cut up your dates... they are sticky we just used some clean scissors


Coarsely Cut up your cranberries... I would have use a chopper 
for this but we did it Mom's way :)


Coarsely chop pecans


Prepare loaf pans with grease and flour or use cooking spray with 
flour for baking.  We also put in some wax paper to help get them out easier


 Add your dry ingredient together in a large bowl


 Blend together


Add pecans


Add chopped cranberry's


Add Orange Zest


Add dates


Stir into dry ingredients to coat fruit and nuts


In separate bowl add eggs


To eggs add buttermilk and oil


Mix well


Pour egg mixture into dry fruit mixture


Blend together well until you have a nice thick batter


Pour into prepared pans


We doubled the recipe and it made 1 large loaf, 1 med loaf and 
3 smaller loafs (The big one is for Thanksgiving!)


Place in preheated 350 degree oven


Bake until a tooth pic in center comes out clean.  
The smaller loaves only took about 30 minutes, and the larger loaves 
took about 50 minutes.  The recipe says bake about an hour in a bundt pan


Let cakes cool in pans about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and 
place on wire rack that is over a pan or a dish


Let cakes cool until just slightly warm and spoon the 
orange juice/sugar mixture over warm cakes


Keep spooning mixture over cakes until most of it is dissolved.
We kept pouring the juice from the pan back into a bowl and kept spooning it over and over (this took several times to get most of it absorbed)


This is my Dad, he was our taste tester today


He was hamming it up for the camera


It took a few shots but I finally got him to smile for me 


And after finally tasting it...


We got a thumbs up!

Baking for the holidays is fun, and it is always even better with someone else... Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend.  Take some time and do some holiday baking with someone special.  You will not only make some yummy goodness, but some great memories too!

Love'n from the oven,
Sandy