It is that time of the year when all can think about is baking and all I want to do is eat those baked goods by the light of a Christmas tree. Holiday baking to me means decadence, elegance, and comfort; sometimes those qualifications may not go hand-in-hand (elegant shoes are not always comfy!!!)—but this quick bread hits all those notes. When I first saw the recipe on NYtimes, I knew I had to make it, and I was not disappointed. It is warm and cozy from the ginger, gooey from the maple syrup and molasses, and the flecks of bright red cranberries add that particular holiday elegance. This bread is great for gifting or adding to the holiday dessert table.
2 cups/ fresh frozen cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup whole milk
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup molasses
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9-inch square or 4 mini loaf pans pan with baking spray.
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together cranberries, granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir the cranberries over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and cranberries form a sauce that is syrupy and bubbling thickly, about 10 minutes. Aim to have about half the cranberries broken down, with the remainder more or less whole.
In a separate saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, milk, maple syrup, and molasses over medium heat. Bring it to just barely a simmer and then remove it from the heat. Do not let it come to a boil, or the mixture may curdle.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper. Beat in the butter-maple syrup mixture and then beat in the eggs.
Scrape the batter into the pan. Drop fat dollops of cranberry sauce onto the surface of the cake batter. Drag a long, slender knife through the batter in a swirly design, as if you are marbling a cake.
Transfer the cake to the oven and bake it until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire baking rack and let the cake cool completely before eating it.