Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Treats: Cranberry Upside-Down Cake with Cognac Whipped Cream

A few years ago we hosted Christmas for the first time, and I served this cake.

It. was. A.MAZ.ING!!! It's best warm, so if possible, make it the day of, between dinner and dessert. I know that sounds like a pain, but I combined all the dry ingredients in a ziplock bag ahead of time, so all I had to do was mix it up and bake it, and it actually was not at all stressful.

And SOOOOO worth it!!

This only makes an 8-inch square cake, so if you're having large crowd, you may want to double it and make 2, or you could try making one in a 9 x 13 pan, but you'd probably have to adjust the cooking time.

2 tablespoons butter, melted
Cooking spray
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 large egg whites

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon cognac

Preheat oven to 350°.

Pour melted butter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350° for 2 minutes. Remove from oven, and top with pecans and cranberries.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; stir with whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Beat the egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form using clean, dry beaters; fold into batter. This part is important--if you don't beat the eggs enough the cake will be too dense.

Spread batter over cranberries. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen edges of cake with a sharp knife. Place a plate upside down on top of cake pan; invert onto plate.

Combine whipping cream and cognac in medium bowl and beat until whipped cream reaches the desired consistency. Serve with warm cake. Do NOT skip this part!!

The original recipe had people just combine cognac and frozen whipped topping, but I do not believe in this stuff. Real whipped cream is absolutely worth it, and pretty easy if you have a mixer.

I can't wait until Christmas so I can have this again!!

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