I feel like uncovering a flavor combination for bakers is like unlocking a new level in a video game. I told y’all in my last post that I’ve never had cranberry sauce before- but I made it with orange juice and it was AMAZING! So of course I had to try this Southern Living cake that showcased the two flavors. I pretty much followed the recipe and directions exactly, except for what is noted below.
1. I’ve found that my cakes turn out better when I give myself ample time. Make your cranberry filling the night before so you don’t have to worry about whether it’s cool once you start decorating.
2. My Publix did not have cherry preserves like the recipe calls, so I substituted the same amount of cherry pie filling. I did mash the cherries down a bit before cooking.
3. I added an extra 1/4 cup of sugar to the filling because cranberries are TART! Even with the additional quarter cup, it is not overwhelmingly sweet.
4. I did that thing where I just assumed I knew what was in my fridge before I went to the store and it turns out my milk was expired. I did have heavy whipping cream on hand, so rather that adding 1 cup of milk to the batter, I substituted 60% heavy cream and 40% water.
5. I beat my egg whites first before I mixed anything else for the cake. I did this because I knew I wanted to use my mixer to beat them to stiff peaks, but I did not want to have to remove the cake batter to do so.
6. I added a tablespoon or so more orange juice to the frosting. It still has a very mild taste of orange.
7. If you make this, I would recommend not assembling your cake until the day you plan to eat it. I assembled mine today for Thanksgiving tomorrow and I can already tell the cranberry filling is going to leak down into the cake layers.
8. You will have to boil your cranberry filling for far longer that 5-6 minutes! If you have never cooked cranberries before, they will eventually pop and sort of peel. The longer you boil, the softer they become.
9. I did not add fresh, uncooked cranberries to the top of the cake. Gross. Cranberries are far too tart for that.
This is the perfect, most festive holiday cake! There’s still time to make this for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but it will suit any other holiday celebrations just as well.