November 19, 2007

Martha Martha Martha!

Every time I attempt "a Martha" I feel like her awkward freckled and bespectacled middle sister.

Don't get me wrong; her recipes usually taste phenomenal. But coming out of my kitchen they just always fall an inch or two short of my expectations physically. They never quite look like they're pictured in the magazine or the cookbook.

And then it hits me. She's paying a food stylist and a photographer living wages to ensure it looks that good in the picture. And for the fifteen minutes or so that my untrained self fiddles with it before impatience and/or hunger settle in, my creation looks pretty good. Just not as good as Martha's.

For today's installment of Magazine Monday I reach into my CSA box and pull out a pound of fresh cranberries and I turn to Martha for inspiration. And while again it's not as pretty as the cover art, the cake itself turned out quite tasty; a delightful balance of tart and sweet.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food - Issue #8 - December 2003

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
(heaping) 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
(heaping) 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 3/4 cup cranberries
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8 inch round cake pan liberally with butter. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon and allspice. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan, arranging cranberries in a single layer on top.

Cream remaining 6 tablespoons of butter with sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beating until well-combined.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine.

With mixer at lowest speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. When flour is incorporated, add 1/4 cup milk. Repeat this process - flour > milk > flour until well combined.

Spoon cake batter over prepared cranberries, smoothing the top. Bake on a baking sheet at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (my cake took nearly 40 minutes).

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the cake. Invert cake onto a rimmed platter to serve.

Resources used:
Farm Fresh to You cranberries
Organic eggs, butter and milk from Draegers and Whole Foods.

This just in: Tami loved this cake too.

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Elisabeth said...

This sounds good. I've made a coffeecake using cranberries and I have to say I'm surprised at how delicious it was.

It's hard to take good pictures of food isn't it? I agree with you!

Anonymous said...

Every time I attempt "a Martha" I feel like her awkward freckled and bespectacled middle sister.
I love this description and know just what you mean!