Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Cranberry Pound Cake

by Sheila Connolly

Recently I wrote here about searching for a recipe to use with my vintage Swans Down hexagonal cake pans. I tracked down the corporate headquarters and asked if they could find a vintage recipe to match. They couldn’t, but they were quick to answer and kindly sent me a big batch of their recipes. I applaud their customer service!

Among their Thanksgiving recipes was one for Cranberry Pound Cake. Since I live in the home of Ocean Spray, I have a moral obligation to use our native cranberries, so I thought I’d share this recipe, in case you want something that isn’t apple or pumpkin pie with your holiday meal.

Swans Down Cranberry Pound Cake

3 cups sifts Swans Down cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries (chop first, then measure)
Optional: 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Sift the flour and measure. Then add the baking powder and salt, and sift again to mix.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the extra yolk one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth.

Mix the vanilla and the milk. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternative with the milk, and beating on low after each addition.

Fold in the cranberries (and nuts if you’re using them).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on the rack.

Glaze (if you want it)

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 Tblsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl combine the sugar and butter, then stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick, add more cream, one tablespoon at a time. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

I'm giving away a copy of Picked to Die to someone who leaves a comment here (random drawing!) about the first Thanksgiving dish you ever cooked yourself. (I roasted my first Turkey when I was 16 because I really wanted to go with my family to my high school's Thanksgiving Day football game.) The drawing will be held on Thanksgiving Day.

Meg, Seth, Bree, Max and Lolly, and all the citizens of Granford, wish you a bountiful harvest and a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  1. Wow! I call that a showstopper! What a beautiful cake. Cranberries are so wonderful in cakes. I think I probably baked a pie first. Either pumpkin or pecan. Must have worked out okay because I don't recall specifics. My mother isn't keen on cranberries, so she never made them for Thanksgiving. Once I discovered them, I always included them in our Thanksgiving meal. My dad and I couldn't get enough of them!

  2. My mother used to make a cake at Christmas like that - so pretty with the cranberries. I'm going to try this! (But I already have a copy of Picked [which I'm halfway through reading, and thought I had LOST it at Crime Bake - terribly unhappy about that - but found it last night and am eagerly finishing it!], so leave me out of the drawing.)

  3. Doesn't good customer service make all the difference? I wonder about companies who can't be bothered.

    What a fun idea and pretty, too.

    My family disliked fruitcake (thanks to the citron). The family alternative was a recipe my mother found in a 1940 something Jacksonville, Florida newspaper. It had dates, raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, and cherries. We replaced the icky maraschino cherries (I really don't believe they are cherries. Perhaps colored and flavored pressed paper.) with fresh cranberries. They added a great flash of color and tartness.

    1. Libby, I've never been wild about citron either. Not so sure about dates. And candied cherries always remind me of cough syrup. I think cranberries are useful in any part of the Thanksgiving meal because their tartness cuts through some of the grease, er, butter.

  4. The first Thanksgiving dish I cooked by myself was the dressing.
    Beautiful looking pound cake and I love cranberries.

  5. I love the story about the customer service. I wish more companies were that responsive. (And the cake looks wonderful!)
    The first Thanksgiving dish that I cooked by myself was a sweet potato casserole. :)

  6. I didn't do any cooking until I left home---so I did the whole dinner my first year away. It turned out pretty darn good, too.