Growing up, one of my favorite books was Cranberry Thanksgiving. Despite it being one of my favorite childhood reads, I couldn’t tell you much about the plot. The real reason I liked it so much was that, on the very last page, there was printed a recipe for Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread (subtitled, Get Mother to Help).
My mother “helped” make more than a few batches of that cranberry bread over the years. It’s a great recipe, producing a loaf closer to pound cake than anything I’d call “bread.” Perfumed with orange zest and studded with chopped cranberries and golden raisins, it’s the perfect sweet and tangy dessert cake.
In my updated version of this classic, I’ve added a little bit of whole wheat flour (why not, right), upped the quantities of cranberries and orange zest, and halved the berries instead of chopping them into smaller pieces. This makes for a more dramatically pretty loaf, with big jewels of cranberry throughout. Oh, and I also added semisweet chunks of chocolate instead of golden raisins. Use the Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks as I did, or coarsely chop your favorite dark chocolate bar.
Cranberry Orange Chocolate Loaf Cake (printer-friendly version)
Makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 C. bread flour
1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour
1 C. organic cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 C. butter, cut into small pieces
1 jumbo egg
zest and juice of 1 Navel orange
1/4 C. water
2 C. whole fresh cranberries, halved
2/3 C. semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Measure the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together until throroughly combined.
3. Add the butter, and use your fingers or a pastry blender to cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles dry sand and all of the butter is incorporated. Make a well in the center of the bowl.
4. Add the egg, orange juice and zest, and water to the well in the center of the dry ingredients. Use a dough whisk to stir everything together until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and you have a fairly stiff, wet batter.
5. Fold the cranberries and chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter into the parchment-lined loaf pan and let sit for 15 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake the loaf for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.