A successful failure.

mini cakes with cranberry 2

I am full of cake intentions.  I submit my “To Bake” collection over on Food52 as evidence.  I’ve been so into baking the past several months that we’ve started a semi-regular Sunday Cake tradition (aka søndagkake).  I may even be in the midst of Cake Wars (Kakekrig) with a Norwegian baking rival.

Then a week or so ago, this showed up on my radar.  Cranberry and ginger?  Yes!  I’d never cooked a cranberry in my life, and cranberry sauce wasn’t something anyone in my family ever cared about.  But this seemed like the perfect fall flavor combination (I’m so tired of seeing recipes for pumpkin everything).

I wasn’t feeling up to the task of making such an elaborate cake though, so I took a different cake recipe and turned it into mini cakes (or cupcakes if you must).  My intention was to create a cranberry ginger jam that would reside in the center of the mini cakes and be a little surprise when you cut into them.  What actually happened was that the jam sank to the bottom of the mini cake and fell out when I removed them from the muffin tin.

I had to improvise.  Using a serrated knife I removed the tops of the cakes, turned them upside down, and spooned the fallen jam back into the cake.  Not exactly the presentation I was going for, but the flavors were amazing and the cakes super moist.

mini cakes with cranberry

Olive Oil Mini Cakes with Cranberry Ginger Jam

Makes about 24 mini cakes

For the jam:

  • 1 1/2 c fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • zest of 1 small orange

Combine the cranberries, sugar, ginger, and zest in a small pot over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil and smash the berries with a wooden spoon or potato masher.  Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture thickens – about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and stick in the fridge to cool completely.  This will make a bit more jam than you need for this recipe.

For the cake:  I pretty much followed this olive oil cake recipe exactly.  I did sub extra orange juice for the Grand Marnier though.  In a greased muffin tin, fill each well halfway with cake batter.  Add a heaping teaspoon of the chilled cranberry jam in the center of each cake, and cover with more batter to about 2/3 full.  Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.  Let cool

Once the cakes have cooled, remove them from the pan.  Using a serrated knife, cut the domed top off each muffin (save the scraps for a snack) and turn them upside down.  If any jam fell out of the cakes, spoon it back in.  Top the cakes with ginger whipped cream.

For the whipped cream:

  • 1/2 c chilled heavy cream
  • a few big pinches of powdered ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Mix the cream, ginger, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Beat with a hand mixer or whisk until you form soft peaks.



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