I’m enjoying this concept of tryouts for Thanksgiving dessert. Why didn’t I think of this years ago? It’s a perfect excuse to sample several desserts, test the recipes, and eventually make a decision for our menu. Today’s contestant hails from the LA Times. I believe I stumbled upon it two years ago when it was part of a slideshow of Thanksgiving dishes, but it was originally published in the paper in 2008. I hope you’re not thinking this is a light and healthy dessert with the fruit and cornmeal in its title. I wouldn’t want you imagining this isn’t rich and decadent enough for the biggest food holiday of the year. No, this is a buttery cake with plenty of eggs and ricotta to make the crumb very tender. There are also maple syrup and vanilla along with the orange zest and fresh cranberries. It has all the flavors we love at this time of year, and it’s easy to make.
The recipe recommends using a nine-inch cake pan that is three inches tall. My cake pans are two inches tall. So, I used a nine-inch springform pan which is taller. You’ll want to butter and flour it well, and place a round of parchment in the bottom of the pan. My cake stuck on one side of the springform pan just a little. Next time, I’ll add a ring of parchment around the inside of the pan as well. The dry ingredients were whisked together, and those included flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, eggs, maple syrup, vegetable oil, and vanilla were combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer, butter, sugar, and orange zest were creamed. The egg mixture was added to the butter and combined. Then, the dry ingredients were mixed into the batter in two parts. Ricotta was added with the second addition along with some fresh cranberries. The batter was poured into the prepared springform pan, more fresh cranberries were scattered on top, and they were topped with a little sugar. The cake baked for an hour and fifteen minutes. To serve, you can choose whether you’d like the cranberry surface to be the top or bottom. I flipped it so the top was completely flat.
The cake was shown served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Since this was just a tryout, I served it plain with only a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. A dollop of maple whipped cream on each slice would be another nice way to embellish it for dessert. Or, I think this would make an excellent coffee cake for breakfast or brunch. Pies usually get more attention at Thanksgiving time, but we should make some room for cakes on the dessert table too.