Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not-Just-For Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake (TWD)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen: Not-Just-For Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake.  Dorie calls this "part cake, part torte and even part bar cookie."  It's a delicious layer of homemade cranberry orange jam sandwiched between two layers of shortbread.

The jam is so simple to make (takes about 10 minutes), but if you are short on time (or don't have the ingredients on hand) you can substitute 2 cups of your favorite chunky fruit preserve or citrus marmalade.  If you've never segmented an orange before, you'll find this video to be helpful.

There were several bakers that had problems with their cakes ending up too tart.  Dorie does recommend that you taste the jam at the end and add more sugar if it's too tart.  I was worried about ending up with a cake that was too tart for consumption, so I added quite a bit of sugar to my jam.  Even then, my cake ended up with a nice zing to it.  Definitely not too tart, but more tart than I anticipated it being.  My only guess is that the jam tastes more sweet when warm than when cooled to room temperature.  So, my advice would be to add the sugar until the jam has reached your desired level of tartness, then add a little bit more sugar for good measure.

This cake was delicious.  The crumb was so soft and tender, and the cranberry orange jam keeps this dessert light.  It would be the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table, especially since you can make the jam up to two weeks ahead.  Dorie says you can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight, but I had mine in the refrigerator for 2-3 nights without any problems.  So you could easily make each component in advance and then put it all together come Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks Jessica, for hosting this week.  I will definitely be making this again - maybe next time using Dorie's suggestion of layering caramelized apples in between!  If you would like the recipe, you can find it here.

Make sure you check out the TWD Blogroll, to see how everyone else enjoyed this wonderful cake!  If you love cranberries, these sugared cranberries were a hit when I made them last year!

* Recipe notes:
- It seems that the cranberry orange jam tastes more sweet while it is warm than after it cools. So, keep adding sugar until it's no longer too tart for your preference, then continue to add a bit more! 
- I did not do the knife test on my cake to see if it was done - I simply went by the color of the crust on top and that seemed to work well. 
- I did not place my springform pan on a baking sheet as directed; I simply placed my pan directly into the oven.  It was done baking after about 38 minutes.
- For more recipe tips, click here


  1. Good tip on the jam Jaime. I waited until it had cooled completely and tasted, then added more sugar because it was definitely too tart for me. Your cake is gorgeous and I'm completely with you on making it again soon with the apples :)

  2. The red jam is gorgeous!

  3. I love shortbread and now that you can turn it into a cake?! It's a must-do!

  4. This looks incredible Jaime. And I can only imagine how delicious a version with caramelized apples would be.

  5. looks so good! easy, tasty and festive...i loved this one!

  6. It looks perfect, glad you enjoyed it. btw you won the Dove chocolate give away on my blog. Please send me(epsteinrr5@gmail.com) your mailing address so Laura can send you your winnings.

  7. I thought it was a little tart, but the orange balanced it out. I loved this one. Yours looks gorgeous!

  8. gorgeous work, jaime! this is a unique cake and it's definitely got its looks going for it. :)

  9. Nope, I'm not waiting until Thanksgiving to bake up this beauty! I love cranberry desserts. I'm all about the tart and tangy. :)

    Thanks for the suggestion of tasting my jam at the end while I like it tart not everyone does.

  10. I love the idea of baking through Dorie's recipes. I'm going backward through your posts, and loving them! Wish we got cranberries here In India...