Nope, I am not talking about what you are likely to prepare in the next couple of days. I refer instead to the way I have perceived myself since our gluttonous trip to Barcelona. The last thing I need right now is to consume enormous quantities of potatoes, bread, cranberry sauce, gravy and rich desserts. Can we please just cancel Thanksgiving this year?
Given the fact that both of my kids are coming home (yay!), this is unlikely. Instead, I will spend most of next week in my kitchen. It will be a lot of work and at the end of it, I will be exhausted, but that's what we moms do and we love it, right?
Please remind me of this at the end of next weekend.
We will do the ritual thing on Thursday and turkey will make its requisite appearance. My mom will show up, along with any other stray people I can corral, and we'll have a wonderful time and eat way too much. The one thing we will NOT do is go around the table and say what we are all thankful for. I tried that one year and my kids almost threw me out of the house. Lesson learned.
I'm going heavy on the vegetables this year, but I will still make our usual Thanksgiving desserts. (Please, oh please let me keep my distance from them). There will be Hummingbird Cake, Caramel Pumpkin Pie and Cranberry Upside Down Cake. In for a penny, in for a pound, I say. Why make one dessert when you can make three?
The Cranberry Upside Down Cake is my favorite. It's sweet, tart and has that buttery/brown sugar combination that is irresistible. I think it's better the day after it is made, which makes it a perfect Thanksgiving recipe. I've made it for years and in fact, I used to sell it during the holidays.
You don't need to buy it. It's easy beyond belief to make. Here's the recipe. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!
CRANBERRY UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
For the topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 cups whole, fresh cranberries
Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in cinnamon and salt. Pour into a 9-inch round baking pan which has been coated with baking spray. Arrange cranberries in a single layer over the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
For the cake:
1 ¼ cups + 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick unsalted butter (6 tablespoons), softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons grated orange zest
2 eggs, room temperature (I used extra-large)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until blended. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter for 1 minute. Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is light in texture. Beat in the orange zest. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the milk, then add the remaining flour and beat until just combined.
Scrape the cake batter over berries in pan. Spread batter evenly over berries. Bake for 35-40 minutes in oven preheated to 350-degrees or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan set on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the outside edge of the cake to release it from the sides of the pan. Place a serving plate over the cake and invert cake and pan onto the plate. Carefully lift off the cake pan.
For the glaze:
¼ cup currant jelly or seedless raspberry preserves
In a small saucepan, heat jelly or preserves over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze evenly over the top of the cake.
The basic ingredients. Except for the cranberries, you probably have everything on hand already
Butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. I could eat this all by itself.
Don't be tempted by this, however, unless you want to burn your mouth off!
Careful not to let it spatter
If needed, use a small offset spatula to spread out in pan
Ready for the cake batter
Whisking the dry ingredients
Adding eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture
Batter finished. Don't look when I lick the beater....
Spreading batter over the cranberries. Again, an offset spatula is your best friend.
Ready to bake
Moment of truth. Fingers crossed.
* There is a certain amount of trepidation when you flip the cake pan over and hope like hell that it will slide out uneventfully on the plate. Help yourself out by banging the top of the pan lightly with a hammer (contradiction in terms, I realize) before you lift off the pan. If some of the caramelized sugar remains in the pan, you can spoon it over the top of the cake or just eat it yourself. I'm just sayin'......
* In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't glaze the cake when I made it. Yes, it will make it look much prettier, but if you don't have currant jelly or seedless raspberry preserves on hand, just omit this step. It will still taste just fine!
* I also didn't have an orange on hand when I decided to test this recipe. No worries. I simply used a splash of orange extract in the batter and it worked just fine. No orange extract in your house? How about orange liqueur, such as Cointreau?
* If you want to gild the lily, you can serve this with a little freshly whipped cream or a light dusting of powdered sugar. Or not.
After I made this cake, I gave it away to a dear friend who is really my gay husband (no, we are not referring to Henry here). We enjoyed a lovely lunch together, then he asked if I knew what my "porn" name was. Huh????
Here's the deal. Take the name of your first pet, then the name of the first street you lived on and... voila!... you now have your "porn" name. Holly Mercer, that's me! Henry is Breezy Serpentine and another friend (who will remain anonymous) is Candy Baby Deliciosa.
Since I'm not allowed to ask everyone at the Thanksgiving table what they are grateful for, perhaps we'll play this game instead......