Around the holidays, I like to have cake on hand at all times. Cookies are great, too, but it’s cake that really feels festive to me. I like admiring a pretty cake under a dome and I like serving slices of sweetness on Santa Claus plates. As much as I love sinking hours into an elaborate cake project like a Bûche de Noël, the cakes I enjoy most this time of year are the simplest ones. This cranberry torte has been a favorite of mine for a couple of years. It’s a breeze to make, it’s decked out with merry pops of red, and it’s a balanced, sweet-tart treat that feels appropriate at any time of day.
For example, there’s no rule against having a sliver at breakfast, packing a piece wrapped in foil for lunch, and tucking in to just one more piece after dinner. It’s also a great snacking cake to nibble on while writing Christmas cards. It would be a perfect sweet element to a holiday brunch spread. Really, the possibilities are endless for this versatile treat.
The recipe comes from Lottie and Doof, a site that never lets me down in the dessert department (it’s also the source of my beloved sprinkle cookies). The method is so straightforward that it’s not only possible, but genuinely easy to do on a weekday after work. You cream softened butter with sugar, mix in a couple of eggs, dribble in a bit of almond extract, and then add a flour mixture to pull it all together. After spreading the batter in a springform pan, you scatter a cup of fresh or frozen cranberries on the top and dust them with two tablespoons of sugar before baking. No tricks, nothing fancy, no fuss.
The cake keeps for a couple of days, so there is plenty of time to admire and savor it. And when you finish every last crumb, move right along to the Swedish Visiting Cake, another simple favorite. Happy holidays, everyone!
I never stray from the recipe as written on Lottie and Doof. You can find it here.