Erik and I hosted a dinner party for 8 of his colleagues on Friday night. After a busy and stressful week at work, I knew we needed to keep the menu relatively simple and light on the prep work.
On the menu:
Brie and blue cheese with crackers and baguette
Caramelized onion tarts with asiago cheese
Cream cheese with pepper jelly served with crackers
New York strip steaks
Creamy mashed potatoes
Sparkling cranberry white cake with lemon filling
After seeing this beautiful image on Pinterest, I was inspired to do something similar. But I knew there was no time to make a homemade cake. That’s when Target bakery saved the day. On Thursday morning I called and put in an order for an 8 inch white cake with lemon filling (lemon and cranberry pair quite nicely together). I told them white frosting only and please keep it simple (I didn’t want any ruffles or edging). They agreed to put the order through even though they typically require 48 hours. And the cake was only $16.99. Thank you Target.
I’ve been wanting to make sparkling/sugared cranberries ever since I saw them on 101 Cookbooks 4 years ago. I had to go with a super modified version because I waited until the very last minute to prep the cranberries on Friday evening. And they turned out great.
When the cranberries were sugar-coated and sparkling and absolutely gorgeous, I literally dropped them (gently) by the handfuls on the cake. I assumed the bigger the pile and the bigger the cranberry mess I made atop the cake, the lovelier it would be.
And I was right.
Sparkling/sugared cranberries (recipe adapted via 101 Cookbooks)
1 bag of fresh cranberries
3/4 cups water
2 3/4 cups sugar
In a small sauce pan bring 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved and remove from heat. Let simple syrup cool for about 20 minutes then add cranberries to the pan (be sure it has cooled down quite a bit because you don’t want the cranberries to burst). Let cranberries steep in the simple syrup for at least 15 minutes to overnight (my cranberries were only in the simple syrup for about 20 minutes).
Remove the cranberries with a slotted spoon and transfer to a baking sheet. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes (this gets them nice and sticky). Add 2 cups sugar to a large bowl. In about 1 cup batches, drop cranberries into the sugar and fully coat them. Remove and transfer to another baking sheet. Continue with remaining cranberries until all have been coated.
Allow cranberries to dry for at least 30 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and serve or add to cake (or cupcakes or tarts, etc).
Eat and enjoy!
Fresh cranberries are so tart, I was wary these would be edible because I didn’t allow them to steep in the simple syrup for very long. But trust me, they were perfect. The sugar coating gives you a sweet burst as you bite into the tartness. This balance is just awesome. Even Juliet loved them and kept asking for more.
I posted this photo on Instagram on Friday and it was quite a hit. Our guests devoured the cake and loved the cranberries. I ate the leftover cake right out of the container standing over the countertop yesterday. Yum. Yum.
Be sure to head over to this post to see if you were the winner of the Nespresso giveaway. The winner is announced in the Rafflecopter widget and I will be contacting them on Monday. Thank you so much for all the entries, I was super pumped about the response!
I’ll be posting regularly this week (I’m off work all week after Monday, hooray!). We are staying in town for the holidays and will be eating great food and enjoying time with family.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!