What do you think of when you hear the word cranberry?
Most people think about cranberry sauce to complete their turkey for a warm Thanksgivng meal. Ironically, cranberries have a sweeter side than what most consider to be a tart fruit.
And the word tart inspired me to create a vanilla cranberry torte.
Fall is here, but that hasn't stopped my soul from searching the answers I seek from nature. The Pacific Northwest, but specifically Seattle, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It gets cold here. And the damp coolness can chill you to the bone, but at least it's easy to spend time in nature during this seasonal transition to winter solstice.
What is most fascinating, are that the flowers, trees and shrubs bloom during this transition into darkness. It's another sign that the light is here even when the darkness rises.
These beautiful berries remind me of my time in Germany. I rode my bike along the paths, decorated with red, orange and yellow-berry bushes. To my surprise (or I never realized), these bushes exist in Seattle. They sort of look like cranberries.
It was a sign to experiment in the kitchen with the sweeter side of the holiday spirit.
Cranberry is a native evergreen shrub that grows throughout North America. Throughout medical history, cranberry fruits and leaves have been used as an alternative remedy for stomach, bladder and liver conditions. Pure cranberry juice has potent affects for urinary tract problems.
Eating cranberries as a dessert is not the best natural cure for stomach problems, but they sure do taste delicious. But, as a seasonal desert, this cranberry vanilla torte can warm the home during the holiday season.
Simple, easy and delcious, this torte bridges the gap between a sweet bread and traditional vanilla cake. I ate it as a dessert, but also for breakfast. Apple and cranberry combinations are synonymous to fall and winter desserts.
I used applesauce as the egg replacement, which decreased the amount of sugar used (as seen in traditional vanilla cake recipes).
You can experiment with a liquid sweetner, but most likely agave nector and maple syrup will change the overall flavor of the cake.
Vegan Cranberry Vanilla Torte
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Equipment: 6 inch round spring foam pan (or use a 7, 8 or 9 inch round or square pan)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh cranberries, washed
1/2 cup vegan butter at room temperature
1/3 cup cane sugar (plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top)
2/3 cups applesauce
1/2 - 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the more vanilla, the stronger the flavor)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with an egg beater or mixer. Once creamed, mix in the applesauce. Next, sift the flour slowly into the wet ingredients. Alternate sifting and mixing. Mix until batter forms.
Grease a pan and pour in the batter. Level the batter with a spatula. Next, take the cranberries and press them into the batter. Use the spatula to level out any holes on the top of the cake.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Test the cake by inserting a knife or toothpick; it should come out clean. Let it cool completely before removing the spring foam.
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com