I was doing some baking for a holiday gathering recently, and decided to make a selection of coffee cakes (infinitely easier than fiddling with individual cookies!). I used two tried and true recipes and then ventured out on a creative limb to make an orange chocolate cake. Long story short: the cake looked fine and tasted delicious, but when I tried to remove it from the pan, it fell apart in my hands. Big oops!
So, I switched gears and made a festive tea loaf (or quick bread) instead. I’m glad I did, not only for its flavour, but also because it provided a variety of shapes on the serving table: two round cakes and one rectangular. What can I say … I notice things like that.
I loaded this tea loaf up with the flavours of winter: orange, cranberries and walnuts. And, it turned out great, dense and full of flavour. I served it with a butter dish beside the platter for anyone who wanted an extra touch of richness. This would be a good loaf to have on hand any time company is dropping by, or as an anytime accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea and a good book.
I’m not glad my first cake bombed out, but I am glad I got the chance to whip this one up! Oh, that first cake? It’s been eaten in all its tattered glory.
Wishing you all the best of the season, and if you have any baking fails, may you rise above them!
Cranberry Orange Walnut Tea Loaf
© Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life 2016
Pre-heat the oven to 350℉. Prepare a 9″x5″ loaf pan by buttering and flouring it. This cake takes 10 minutes or so to put together, and then about an hour in the oven, time during which you can sit back and put your feet up!
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup large flake oatmeal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange
- juice of half the orange (a scant 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
Combine the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl; stir together and set aside.
Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy (about 5 minutes), then beat in the eggs, vanilla and orange zest. Blend in the dry ingredients on low speed, alternating with the orange juice, stopping to scrape the bowl a couple of times. Add the walnuts and cranberries and pulse stir two or three times on low speed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to ensure the nuts and fruit are evenly folded in.
Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan, leveling the top, and then bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the top is a dark golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the cake and let it continue cooling on the rack.