Have some leftover cranberry sauce after the big dinner? Chocolate Cranberry Snack Cake will make good use of your leftovers. Rich with the saturated flavor of tart cranberries and the bitter tang of chocolate.
Jumping into the snack cake fray
Is it a snacking cake or snack cake? This quandary was highlighted a couple of years ago when Melissa Clark published three snack cake recipes in the New York Times. Given the pandemic this year, the snacking versus snack cake question almost seems too light-hearted. But for a pastry chef, this is a legit question.
I think the cakes are the same thing. It should be baked in an 8x8 pan and have an easy recipe. There shouldn't be extensive directions or ingredients. The rise of the cake is dependent on chemical leaveners. You don't need a mixer, just a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. The operative word here is easy.
Leftover cranberry sauce?
It isn't Thanksgiving without cranberries. It is a bright spot in an otherwise heavy dinner. However, we often have cranberry sauce leftover. We certainly can eat them with the rest of the turkey, etc. for the next couple of days. But I think a Chocolate Cranberry Snack Cake is a great vehicle for the extra sauce.
The beauty of a snack cake is its unassuming nature. There are no fancy embellishments. There isn't a complicated recipe. It is a cake that you cut a slice or square to enjoy as a snack.
It's that word, snack, though. It makes a promise - the food will be tasty and fun. I think snacks are almost more delicious because of their nature. It's not a meal so it should satisfy a hunger pang. It is like a you are enjoying a small extravagance.
Quick bread technique
So using a quick bread technique will promise you a easy recipe for this extravagance. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients, about as simple as you can get for assembling a cake.
I sift the dry ingredients. I think it is important to fully incorporate the cocoa powder with the flour. Also, break the big pieces of brown sugar apart so that you don't find a sodden lump in the middle of your batter. Distribute the baking powder and baking soda throughout to guarantee equal leavening.
This cake is dairy-rich. Butter, sour cream, eggs, and heavy cream. No apologies.
Whisk the sour cream into the melted butter. The mix may look like it is separating. That is where the eggs help. Egg yolks are perfect emulsifiers and will help the wet ingredients become a cohesive mix. Mix in the heavy cream and the vanilla extract to finish. There is no huge investment in time here. I think this step takes less than 5 minutes.
Add the dry to the wet. I use a rubber spatula to incorporate all the dry ingredients. It is a thick batter almost like brownies. But you aren't finished, yet.
Not to be satisfied with cocoa powder, I add semi-sweet chocolate chips. The chips are like little pops of intense flavor within the cake.
I want the cranberry sauce to be like ribbons within the cake. Fold it in with the chocolate chips, just until it looks like it streaks within the batter. I don't completely mix all the ingredients. You will find that the batter loosens a bit - it isn't quite so stiff.
Rich and full-flavored
No need for frosting on this cake. That would be over the top for an already rich and full-flavored cake. I like to add a small dollop of whip cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
If you are hankering for a little something or have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying, I suggest a slice of Chocolate Cranberry Snack Cake. Take a break in your busy holiday schedule to treat yourself.
Need a cranberry recipe - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/red-wine-cranberry-sauce
Chocolate Cranberry Snack Cake
- 8x8 cake pan
- fine mesh strainer or flour sifter
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour 7.1 ounces/201 grams
- ¾ cup light brown sugar 6.1 ounces/168 grams
- ½ cup cocoa powder 1.9 ounces/54 grams
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter 3 ounces/ 4 grams
- ½ cup sour cream 3.6 ounces/102 grams
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup heavy cream 175 ml
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups cranberry sauce 1 lb. 2 ounces/508 grams
- 1 cup chocolate chips 6.4 ounces/180 grams
- Preheat oven to 350 °. Coat an 8x8 pan with cooking spray or neutral oil. Sprinkle with flour, lightly, to cover the oil.
- In a medium-sized bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. This is to remove lumps in the brown sugar and to completely incorporate the cocoa powder with the flour.
- In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with the sour cream. The mixture may look a little separated. Make sure the butter isn't hot.
- Add the two eggs, whisking to incorporate. This will emulsify the wet ingredients, making the batter look more cohesive.
- Whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, using a spatula to mix. The batter will be thick. Only mix until all dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Add the cranberry sauce and the chocolate chips by folding them in with the spatula. Don't mix too much - the cranberry sauce will be like ribbons in the cake. The batter should start to loosen a little.
- Add the batter to the prepared pan, lightly smoothing the top.
- Place in oven and bake for 1 hour. Depending on your oven, the cake may take more or less time. After 50 minutes, test the doneness of the cake with a skewer or toothpick. If the tester comes out clean and the top of the cake feels firm, remove it from the oven. If there is batter and crumbs stuck to the tester, put the cake back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Test again. If the cake is still not done, put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.