Monday, October 28, 2013

Little Cranberry Tea Cakes & a Special Give-Away in Memory of Kelly

I know Thanksgiving is just barely five weeks away, but I couldn't help myself when I saw the first cranberries in the supermarket.  Bounce berries, as we called them because they do bounce, are one of my favorite fruits to bake with and when the weather turned very fall-like this weekend, I did just that.

Cranberries are one of the only three fruits indigenous to North America and one of the healthiest fruits to add to your diet.  As a woman, I've known of their properties to prevent UTI's (urinary tract infections), but did you know that it ranks in the top for antioxidants too?  Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA.

Native Americans enjoyed cooking with cranberries and probably sweetened them with honey.  For sure, they were on the Thanksgiving table.  By the 1800s, they were imported to England where they were also used as a poultice for wound healing and as a dye.  Surprisingly, there is an article in the November FoodNetwork magazine on dyeing napkins with this versatile berry!

Little Cranberry Tea Cakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-8oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans* (optional)
2 cups fresh cranberries, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray a decorative mini bundt pan with a baking spray or line a muffin pan with papers.

Wash and dry on paper towels fresh cranberries.  Slice each berry in half.
 
 In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together thoroughly.  Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, while the mixer is running on low, then, turn up to medium and beat until fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, turn it on again and add the eggs one at a time, incorporating them completely.  Again, scrape down the sides.  
Whisk together the dry ingredients lightly in a separate bowl and add to the mixture.  Mix on low just until combined.  Stir in the nuts, if using and cranberries.  (*Pecans are a big part of Southern cooking, which I'm embracing wholeheartedly!)
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.  
 Bake in the preheated oven for 25-28 minutes (depending on what pan you're using).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 to 7 minutes, then, turnout onto a rack to cool completely.
For Tea Cakes, I mixed up a simple glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T light Karo syrup
3-4 T hot water
...and drizzled over top of the cakes.
  
I couldn't let October pass without a special give-away in memory of Kelly; she was the epitome of giving.  I have mentioned before that The Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Foundation has been a focus for me to see a cure for breast cancer--100% of the donation goes to research. I attended a preview night at the store in our area recently and I chose this Tote Bag in Bittersweet that will be given to a lucky recipient this month.
It's perfect for on the go and I love this size especially to hold my knitting projects...and of course it's in the colours that Kelly loved!  Just comment on posts over the next few days and on the 31st, I'll announce the winner.

The fall weather is upon us and Little Cranberry Tea Cakes are wonderful treats--Enjoy!

25 comments:

  1. Absolutely love cranberries...and I have an apron in similar colours to the bag, which I also love!
    Jane x

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  2. I saw the cranberries at the grocery store the other day. Can you make these little tea cakes in a regular muffin pan?? I also did not know Vera Bradley had a Brest Cancer foundation. Thanks for the link.

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    1. Absolutely they can be made in a muffin pan, just adjust the baking time a little.

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  3. What a sweet giveaway my friend. I know you keep the good memories of Kelly close to your heart. How nice of you to share with all of us. Sweet hugs to you my friend, Diane PS We're in the mountains of NC now, enjoying the cool crisp air and the beautiful Fall colors.

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    1. Come on by and I we can enjoy these together, XOXO

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  4. Those cranberry cakes are making my mouth water! I discovered your blog recently and have enjoyed it. Thank you!

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  5. Cranberries! Love them...my favorite thing to do with them is to freeze them and use them as edible garnish in holiday punch bowls. Well, I am sure that these beautiful bundt cakes are fantastic, too. Will have to make a large bundt cake because I have no small ones. Beautiful gift this month! The tote looks like November. That kind of commitment...100%...amazes and impresses me.

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  6. The tea cakes look wonderful but I keep wondering, why use unsalted butter and then add salt to the recipe? It doesn't make sense to me.

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    1. The reason is that salted butter contains water which, for most recipes is not good. Also, I can control the amount of salt I add, which makes using unsalted the better choice. Thanks for the question.

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  7. Your tea cakes look delicious! I love the Vera bag. Thanks for the chance.

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  8. Goodness - I love me some fresh cranberries! And they've just arrived in our grocery stores around here - will have to try this recipe! Sign me up for your give-away, too! That's a lovely tote and for such a great cause - someday I pray that a cure will be found for all cancers! They seem to touch all our lives...

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  9. i made a baby quilt for the grand daughter of a friend that died 12 years ago from cancer. thanks for the chance

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  10. Ohhh, those look great Susan. Just yummy. And the tote is great, too. Kelly must love that you are doing her colors, as she looks down upon you from heaven! I hope I win it! ha! Susan

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  11. Cranberries are one of my favorite fruits. I am going to try this recipe closer to Thanksgiving!!! What a beautiful tote and I know your sweet Kelly would have loved those colors! Thanks for your generous giving all year long! Hugs, Linda

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  12. These tea cakes sound lovely! I look forward to trying them soon. As a breast cancer survivor twice I really appreciate all you do in memory of you sweet Kelly. Thank you!

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  13. I do like muffin type deserts and this one have cranberries...yum!
    stamping sue
    http://stampingsueinconnecticut.blogspot.com/

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  14. The cranberry tea cakes sound wonderful, and that's a special giveaway to honor Kelly.

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  15. I get excited when cranberries come out every year. I use them in a cream cheese dip and in muffins. Your tea cakes look so yummy!

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  16. Love these, Susan! Weather is changing here and a sweet treat in the afternoon with tea would be very, very nice. Happy Halloween, my friend! lv, me

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  17. The cakes look delicious and elegant! You've made me hungry so late at night :)
    How precious that you remember Kelly with a gorgeous bag!
    Big Hugs,
    Donna

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  18. Beautiful tote and special that you chose it in Kelly's honor!
    The tea cakes look delicious!

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  19. The tea cakes sound marvelous. I put pecans in almost everything.

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  20. I love cranberries and these sound so good. A great way to start my day.

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  21. Love cranberries! These mini bundt cakes are so adorable, Susan.

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