A quintessential holiday meal can only be called such if it ends with a state-of-the-art dessert to be enjoyed with family and friends, and since cranberries are popular ingredients when it comes to adding a proper Christmas feel to a meal, we decided to make a delicious and super-soft sponge, and to pair it with a stunning cranberry sauce to create a final cake to die for. And not only that, but we also decided to serve it with a delicious, two-ingredient chocolate sauce, and believe me if I tell you that this combination has the potential to thrill guests of any kind, regardless of how fussy they are.
- To begin with, preheat the oven to 160°C or 320°F.
- To make the cake, place the sugar, the milk, the oil, the vanilla extract and the lemon zest into a bowl, and whisk the ingredients well to dissolve the sugar.
- Now, add the flour and the baking powder into the bowl and whisk again to disperse the dry ingredients and complete the batter.
- Grease an eight-inch round pan (about 20 centimetres) and pour in the batter. Transfer the pan into the oven and cook the cake for 25 minutes, remembering to rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time to allow for even rising.
- To ensure that the cake is cooked, pierce it with a toothpick; if the pick comes out dry and with no mixture on it, it means that the cake is properly.
- Whilst the cake is cooling down peacefully, place a saucepan over a medium heat and tip in the sugar followed by the orange juice. Stir the ingredients to dissolve the sugar and bring the liquid to the boil.
- As soon as the liquid begins to boil, add in the cranberries and stir to properly coat them with the syrup.
- Bring the liquid back to the boil, and cook the ingredients for about eight minutes, or until the filling like a thick, delicious jam. Make sure to stir the ingredients every now and then and remember to let the sauce cool down completely before using it.
- Once the cake is cool, use a serrated knife to split the cake into two layers and remove the top layer.
- Then, carefully top the bottom layer with the cranberry jam, making sure to leave no border.
- Now, simply place the top layer back onto the bottom one, and gently push it down so that the entire surface comes into contact with the jam. The cake is now complete, so let it set for two hours at room temperature before slicing it and serving it.
- To make the chocolate sauce, place a small saucepan over a medium heat, pour in the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle simmer.
- Then, place the chocolate into a bowl, pour in the hot milk and start stirring with a spatula to completely melt the chocolate and complete the sauce. If you’d prefer not to prepare this sauce, simply dust the cake with some icing sugar and I’m sure that both you and your guests will enjoy the cake just as much.
- Feel free to use any kind of granulated sugar you want for this recipe, as they all work well.
- Feel free to use any non-dairy milk you want to prepare the cake. Soy, oat and almond milk work perfectly.
- It is likely that wholewheat flour (sifted) and gluten-free oat flour will work wonderfully for this recipe, as they do in many of our sweet preparations. However, I haven’t had the chance to try these flours myself, so I can’t guarantee they will work.
- There are many legends and myths about what you should do to prevent your cake from cracking on top, but the reality is that every recipe needs specific attention. The reason why cakes crack on top is that the surface becomes dry before the rising occurs and this causes it to crack under the pressure of the batter that is rising underneath. The best suggestions I have to prevent this from happening are to bake the cake at a lower temperature, to bake it on the lowest rack of the oven, and to use cold liquids as opposed to room temperature ones.
Preparation Time: 20m
Cooking Time: 35m
Total Time: 55m
Cooking Temperature: 160°C - 320°F
Storage Times: Keeps for 3 days in the fridge