This picture is actually my the first draft of the recipe. If you notice, there is a lot of crumbs on the plate. That is actually almonds. One of the changes I made is that the almonds go in with the cranberry mixture, that way they are in the cake and not apt to fall off, like in this picture. There were some other trials and errors, but I will save you all that detail.
The cake is better served the next day. With time, the flavor of the creme de noyeau develops more. The burst of cranberry flavor with the almond cake is exactly what I was looking for in taste as well as texture. Now on to the final recipe that I arrived at:
Cranberry Invasion Cake
1 1/2 cups cranberries
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds (optional)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup creme de noyaux
1 cup sour cream
1 tbs vegetable oil
red food coloring
Prepare a 10 cup bundt pan by brushing all the inside with melted butter and then dusting with bread crumbs. Set aside.
To make the filling, place all ingredients (except for the almonds) in a medium size sauce pan. Put saucepan over medium high heat and stir. Cook filling for 15 minutes or until thickened. Filling mixture should reduce down to 1/3 of the original mixture. This is basically a cranberry sauce, so it will thicken quite a bit when cooled. Transfer mixture to a heat proof bowl and let cool completely before using.
Now, you can start making the cake. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees or if you are using a dark pan, 325 degrees.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. This should take about 2 minutes. Add one egg and beat for 30 seconds. Then beat in the additional egg. Pour in the creme de noyaux and the vegetable oil. Beat on low speed until evenly distributed. At this time, put in 2 drops of food coloring and beat. Continue with this process until desired color is met.
Fold 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the batter. Then blend in 1/2 cup of sour cream. Repeat this task, ending with the dry ingredients, until completely mixed together. Be careful not to over work the batter.
Spoon 1/2 of the cake batter into the pan and smooth it out even. If using almonds, mix them into the cooled cranberry filling. Carefully spoon the filling on top of the cake batter in the pan. The trick is to get it even but not touch the edges of the pan. If you touch the edge with the filling, that section will most likely stick and you will have difficulty getting your cake out of the pan.
After you have used up all the filling, spoon the rest of the batter on top and smooth it out. Place cake in oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until done. Cake is done when tester comes out clean and it is golden brown on top.
Let cake cool in pan set on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Then invert on to rack to finish cooling. If you have some difficulty, slide a butter knife around the edges and then try to invert cake. Once cooled, you can dust with confectioners sugar or drizzle with glaze (click here for recipe).
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