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I have a friend who feels mocked by cranberries.
Her reasoning goes like this: "Starting in October, the supermarket puts out a few bags of whole cranberries, knowing that I have no idea how to use them. It's like chestnuts. What are they for? And don't tell me cranberry sauce, because I like mine from a can."
I can see her point. Most cranberry recipes call for dried cranberries, and many shoppers default to Craisins, which in my opinion might as well be gummy bears. Where are the recipes that utilize tart, fresh berries? Do cranberries have to go the way of quince and whole artichokes, rarely used by the average cook?
This recipe is super easy to make will make you feel like a gourmet superstar as you casually throw your bag of whole berries onto the conveyor belt with the same abandon as the following packet of frozen peas. When the person in line behind you asks what you're going to make with those cranberries you can smile and say, "What, these old things? I've got a nice little coffee cake recipe. No big deal."
The base here is a moist, buttery coffee cake that's been dogeared in my copy of Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book for quite a while. I've added vanilla and a layer of cranberries that are lightly pulsed with sugar. The result is a hidden vein of sweet-tart cranberries that cuts against the richness of the cake.
This cake is gorgeous when made in a springform bundt pan, but if you don't have one, a regular spingform pan will work well. The easily-removed sides of a springform pan make life just a bit easier, especially in the morning.
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