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TWD: Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake

In the three years that I have owned Dorie’s [1] Baking: From My Home to Yours [2], her Cranberry Shortbread Cake flew completely under my radar.  I probably never would have noticed it, much less baked it, if it hadn’t been this weeks TWD [3] pick.  Why?  Well, first of all, because there was no picture of the cake in the book for me to drool over.  And second, because the recipe didn’t jump out at me as being a showstopper.  I just never gave it more than a casual glance as I flipped through the pages searching for the showier selections with that “wow” factor.  I now stand corrected. Dorie’s Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake might not be the prettiest dessert I ever made, but it definitely is one of the tastiest. It just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case, an unassuming little recipe without a flashy photo.

This cake consists of two components:  a luscious sweet/tart homemade cranberry-orange jam, and a shortbread “cake”.  It’s kind of like a great, big, giant shortbread sandwich cookie.  Except, the cookie isn’t quite really a cookie.  Nor, is it quite really a cake.  It’s a buttery, crumbly, slightly puffy cross between the two.  And oh, is this cake delicious!  Actually, it’s more than delicious.  It’s delectably delicious!

I did make one small change to the original recipe.  (You know I can never just leave well enough alone!)  Instead of making my jam with a quarter cup of orange juice, I swapped out half of the juice with some orange liqueur.  The alcohol burns off during the cooking process and adds a nice pop of flavor to the jam.

I could see making this cake using lots of other kinds of fruit fillings as well, such as strawberry, blueberry or apricot.  Or how about a Nutella Shortbread Cake?  Now that would be something to behold!

In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy a big slice of my cranberry shortbread cookie/cake with a nice steaming mug of coffee and hope that no one comes home until I’m done.

Many thanks to Jessica from Singleton in the Kitchen [4] for choosing our TWD recipe for this week.  You can find the recipe on Jessica’s site [5] or in Dorie’s book [2].  And, please check out the TWD blogroll [6] to see what the rest of the group did with this one.