I was talking to my cousin who lives in the UK, and she told me a shocking fact: they might not have canned pumpkin in stores there. They have whole, real pumpkin-pumpkins, the kinds with stems and skins and all that, but no “solid pack pumpkin” like all our American recipes call for. At least, she’s never noticed it in the store.
“We don’t have Thanksgiving,” she said.
Okay, I know that, even if I don’t think about it very often, but pumpkins aren’t only about Thanksgiving are they? Maybe they are.
I’ll admit, I had to warm up to pumpkin. I used to find it completely detestable. I associated the fanciest chai-pumpkin-cinnamon-nutmeg-spice-chai-seasonal-spice lattes with that gloopy, slimy, orange goo that sticks to the back of your forearm when you scoop out the center of a jack-o-lantern. When I realized pumpkin is all about the spices that go along with it, I finally started to appreciate the gourd in all it’s gourdiness.
Why am I talking about learning to love pumpkin? Because when I realized that Americans and pumpkins go together because of Thanksgiving, I started to think about all the other food traditions I associate with certain holidays. Foods that I love and have no conflicting feelings about. Like cranberries.
Now, cranberries…I can get on board with that. Not to be a pumpkin hater, but think of how many delicious things we could have if
the world the United States had as much passion for cranberries as they do for pumpkins. You (probably) can’t carve them, but think about the untapped well of cranberry recipes out there.
Cranberry Cookies – Could be good.
Cranberry Spice Latte – I’d try it.
Cranberry Muffins – Sounds epic.
Cranberry Chai Milkshake – Yep, sounds great.
Cranberry Pie – Why the heck not.
Cranberry Bread – Yes, please, give me all the cranberries.
Aside from being a nice way to mix up the heavy pumpkin rotation, this cranberry amaretto upside-down cake is exactly the type of baked good you want around during the season of long visits with extended family.
It’s easy to throw together (1 bowl!), it’s forgiving (more sugar, more cranberries, follow your heart), it travels well (no arriving at your Aunt Laurie’s with a pile of smashed meringue instead of a pie), and you can serve it at any time of day.
Is it breakfast? Is it dessert? Is it tea time?
PS – This cake has almond extract, so it tastes boozy. Bonus! And it has this super satisfying crackle on top because of the bottom (top) layer of sugar.
Now you tell me, how would you rank cranberries against pumpkins?
And to my Canadian readers: is pumpkin pie “a thing” up there, is everyone crazy about pumpkin, and do you eat pumpkin pie for Canadian Thanksgiving? I could ask Google, but I’d rather hear it from you.
1 ¾ cups (170 g/6 oz.) cranberries
½ cup (105 g/3 ¾ oz.) sugar
¾ cup (225 mL) unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
¼ cup (55 g/2 oz.) sugar
¼ cup (55 g/2 oz.) brown sugar
¼ cup (75 g/ 2 ½ oz.) unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup (50 g/1 ¾ oz.) grapeseed oil*
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 ¼ cups (165 g/5 ¾ oz.) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: Cranberry Sauce for serving.
*Or other flavorless cooking oil
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a 9-inch springform pan (or cake pan) with parchment paper. Lightly grease pan.
- In a measuring cup, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
- In the bottom of the springform pan, sprinkle ½ cup sugar in an even layer and top with cranberries.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, grapeseed oil, and and almond extract, whisking to combine.
- On top of the wet ingredients, add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, and whisk to combine. Don’t overstir, but try to get the big lumps.
- Pour the batter over the cranberries gently, then bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen and invert. Slice and serve.
Optional: Serve with fresh cranberry sauce spooned over the top.