Yellow sticky notes decorate our refrigerator most days; notes to myself, to do lists, don’t forget this, don’t forget that, pick up here, drop off there. When the holidays come my lists double. Before I went out last night for dinner with two of my oldest, dearest friends I wrote yet another list and stuck it on the fridge.
“Why so many notes, Mama?” C asked.
“Because I have a lot to remember.” Me.
“You better not forget!” C said as she shoveled another bite of Annie’s mac and cheese into her mouth.
I thought about what she said on my drive into the city. What about if I did forget my list? What if all the balls I keep juggling in the air came crashing down? Would they be ok? Would I be ok? I think so, I hope so. After all, they are just lists.
When I feel overwhelmed, I bake. I stop my busy mind and focus on the present. I accomplish something, sometimes with great results and other times, not so much. A few days ago, I baked a breakfast cake and it was delicious. I found a recipe in Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook (love her!) and altered it a bit. Her recipe calls for maple-pecans. I know what you are thinking: why take out maple pecans? They sound amazing. I agree! My older boy has a nut allergy, so we are a nut-free house. I replaced the pecans with dark chocolate chips and orange zest. The ratio of the dark chocolate and tart cranberries was perfect. The maple syrup infused the tender, buttery cake and the orange zest just worked, subtly complimenting both the chocolate and cranberries.
The icing on this holiday cake made me swoon. A little confectioners’ sugar and a few tablespoons of maple syrup bring this breakfast/anytime of the day cake together in one perfect bite. Enjoy and happy holidays!
Cranberry Maple Breakfast Cake With Maple Glaze
Makes 3 mini-loaves or 1 9-inch loaf
recipe adapted from Joanna Chang’s Flour
1 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 6 pieces
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of one medium orange
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Butter and flour mini loaf pans or 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
Using your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or hand-held mixer, beat together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes. The mixture should look like sand. (Beat for about 5 minutes if using a hand-held mixer.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, orange zest and 1/3 cup of maple syrup. Once thoroughly combined, add half of the buttermilk mixture to the flour/butter mixture and beat on medium/high-speed for about 1 minute or until light, fluffy and pale. Stop the mixer and scrap the sides of the bowl. On low-speed add the rest of the buttermilk mixture. Be sure the buttermilk is fully combined with the flour mixture!
Fold the chopped cranberries and chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter into prepared pans and smooth out the top. Bake the mini-loaf pans for about 35 minutes, but I would start checking them at 25 minutes. (If using a 9×5 inch pan, bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.) Let cool in the pan for about a half hour. While the bread(s) are cooling, make the maple glaze.
In a small bowl whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup. Spread or pour the glaze over the still warm bread.
The cake will last, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days at room temperature. I think the cake tastes better the next day because the flavors really soak in! Make this now and it will be perfect for Christmas morning. Enjoy!
5 Quick Bread Recipe Links For Christmas!
Need a citrus kick to get you through the holidays? Check out Two Peas and Their Pod’s recipe for lemon almond bread. Sounds like the perfect quick bread to make all winter long!
Cranberry season is almost over so grab a bag and make Cake Duchess’s cranberry streusel quick bread. I love a good streusel topping and this one looks delicious!