Updated Thursday, August 16th, 2012
Yield: Makes 16 servings.
This cake’s pale pink hue makes it a welcome addition to any holiday table. Substitute homegrown or fresh beets, cooked, for the jar of beets, if you like.
Butter and lightly flour a 10-inch (12- to 14-cup) Bundt pan, knocking out the excess. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the cranberries into a small bowl and add hot water to cover. Set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl. Set aside. Combine 1 cup of sugar and the drained beets in a food processor. Process for about 30 seconds, to a purée, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Set aside. Combine the remaining 1-1/4 cups of sugar and the eggs, butter, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and airy. Blend in the beet purée. Add the orange and lemon zests and the vanilla. Mix briefly. Add half of the dry mixture, then all of the buttermilk, and finally the remaining dry mixture, beating on low after each addition. Drain the cranberries and fold them into the batter. Scrape the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly. Bake on the center oven rack for about 50 minutes.
When done, the cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the pan, and a long tester (such as a thin wooden skewer) inserted deep into the center will come out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a large serving plate and continue to cool. Glaze the cake while it is still warm.
Sift the confectioners' sugar into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, orange juice, and lemon juice and whisk to blend. Add the melted butter and vanilla and whisk. The glaze should be thick enough to coat the cake without running right off; adjust by adding more orange juice, by the half teaspoon, if it seems thick. Spoon half of the glaze over the cake. Sprinkle with walnuts, then cover with the remaining glaze.
In this issue: Summer Off the Beaten Path
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