When I first made this seemingly innocent vanilla cake, it was to kill off the rest of the fresh cranberries sitting around after using some for a Thanksgiving pie. I was pretty deep in holiday baked goods all around and was nervous that my boyfriend might evict me on grounds of excessive pastry accumulation, but my anxiety over half-used bags of perishable items won and this cake bullied its way into our home.
It was quickly decided that the cake wasn’t safe to have laying around. It was too moist, too perfectly sweet and crunchy on the top, and too gooey, too cranberry-y in the middle. I didn’t want to get busted one more time for eating cake in the middle of the night while crouched– crouched— in front of the refrigerator. My general rule is that if you have to eat something while perched in the style of someone who practices covert assassination then it’s time to put down the food. So we shipped a large chunk off to our neighbors!
Things were looking up but then my neighbor sent me this email, “That cake… that cake that came from your house is so.f*cking.good. I just ate some, and now I can’t wait to get up in the morning and have some more with my coffee. The children will get none.”
Ummm… Awesome! This cake is so hardcore that it will even make you want to punish your children! What more incentive could one possibly need? Make this today and you’ll be denying your children pleasure and snacking in a dark closet while shaped like a ninja in no time.
Vanilla Cranberry Coffee Cake
Reprinted from Gourmet
½ Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise
1 ¾ C Sugar
2 C Fresh (or thawed from frozen) Cranberries
2 C + 1 T All Purpose Flour, divided
2 tsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp Salt
1 Stick + 1 T Unsalted Butter, softened and divided
2 Large Eggs
½ C Whole Milk
Confectioners Sugar to garnish
Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a food processor with tip of a paring knife (reserve pod for another use if desired). Add sugar and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl.
Pulse cranberries with ½ C vanilla sugar in processor until finely chopped (do not purée).
Whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat together 1 stick butter and 1 C vanilla sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.
Spread half of batter in pan, then spoon cranberries over it, leaving a ½” border around edge. Top with remaining batter and smooth top.
Blend remaining ¼ C vanilla sugar with remaining Tbsp each of butter and flour using your fingertips. Crumble over top of cake.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted into cake (not into cranberry filling) comes out clean and side begins to pull away from pan, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up. Serve garnished with confectioners sugar.