Breakfast, brunch and all things good · Cakes, cookies and other sweet treats · Festive feasts and treats · Snack time

Cranberry and Pecan gingerbread spiced cake

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The first time I made this cake my mum immediately asked that I made a second one for us to wrap up and bundle off to a good friend. In a house where we go through a lot of different cakes, that is very high praise indeed. The moment you bite into this cake along side a big long sip of coffee, you’ll see why. It’s gently spiced to add just the right amount of warmth that only cinnamon and ginger can, whilst balanced with big pockets of fresh cranberries and pecan nuts. All of this is topped off with a streusel topping that is sweet, crumbly and hellishly moreish.

So celebrate the beginning of this festive season and all things good in the world by whipping up this cake. This is your reward for battling with the Christmas tree that is intent to take you out, for wrestling out those hidden and forgotten boxes of Christmas decorations from the very back of the cupboard, and for finding that perfect Christmas present for your ever difficult to buy for brother who is moving halfway across the globe. Or at least it feels that far.

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This cake is comforting when the dark nights creep in early. An energy boost when you exhaust yourself from wrapping present, after present, after present…it never ends. But this cake is easy to whip up. Easy to store. And if you have room in your freezer, and more forethought than me, then it’s the perfect recipe to double and stash away in the freezer to be baked just as unexpected guests arrive.

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Ingredients (makes one large load – adapted from here)

Cranberry and pecan cake

2 cups of plain flour

1 cup golden caster sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large oranges, zest and juice

1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped

 Streusel topping

1 tablespoon plain flour

2 tablespoons oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1/4 cup flaked almonds

1 tablespoon golden caster sugar

1/8 stick of unsalted butter, cold

Steps

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F) and put on ‘But not for me – vocal’ by Chet Baker. Grease a loaf tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper. Attempt to badly croon along to Chet and his beautiful voice.

2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a large bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Break the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour mix to form large breadcrumbs.

3. Beat the egg, vanilla extract, orange juice and orange zest in a bowl and then pour into the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir through the chopped cranberries and pecan nuts to incorporate and then spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared loaf tin.

4. Make the steusel topping by combining all of the ingredients bar the butter in a large bowl. Mix well then gently rub the butter into the mix to create large butterly flakes. Spoon on top of the cake mixture.

5. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a sewer comes out clear. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin before tipping out to cool on a rack.

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