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One-Bowl Cranberry Snack Cake, To Lift My Spirits

quick cake, one bowl cake, easy cake

Baskets of New York State cranberries made me smile at the farmers market on Sunday. I had no idea they grew in my home state. Inexplicably, learning that they do brightened my day. I bought a quart, and now I smile again every time I open the fridge and spot those taut little rubies.

I’m struggling. Every so often I stumble into a trough of depression, and right now I can feel my feet slipping out from under me. Getting back into therapy is forcing me to look at things I’ve been trying to ignore, and that hurts.

Parents Need to Eat Too was born as Words to Eat By ten years ago this past Saturday. A decade of blogging is no small feat, and I’ve been trying to write a commemorative post for two weeks now. Ten Memories for Ten Years, I’m calling it, but I’m stuck at memory number five, when I realized that my cooking class for new parents might make a good book. It seems I don’t have much to say after that.

I don’t have much to say about the Imperfect Family Kitchen, either. When the responses started pouring in to that post and the Washington Post picked it up, I wondered if perhaps this would be my book two after all. But I can’t make myself focus on exactly what form that would take.

Instead I’m doing what I’ve always done when depression begins to press down on me—I fight it off with food. Eating, yes, but also cooking and baking. Going through those motions makes me feel normal, at least for a little while.

Today I pushed back armed with bright, tart berries. I played around with simple snack cake ideas until I found one that made me—dare I say it—happy. It only uses one bowl, one whisk, and a spatula. An egg serves as the only leavener. The almond extract and cinnamon add depth, but you can skip them if you like. And the end result tastes sunny and sweet, but bursts of mouth-puckering, jammy cranberries keep it from cloying.

Another reason to smile, today.

One-Bowl Cranberry Snack Cake
Serves 9

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour [all-purpose works, too]
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg until it’s foamy. Whisk in the sugar, then the melted butter and almond extract.
  2. Whisk in the flour, cinnamon, and salt until just mixed. Stir in the cranberries, then transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish. Spread it evenly in the dish with a spatula.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until top is golden brown and cranberries have burst.
  4. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 9 squares.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Joy @ WhatIWeighToday

    Debbie, I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling down. That’s hard. Big congrats on a decade of blogging. What an amazing achievement!

    1. Debbie Koenig

      Thanks, Joy. Feeling a bit better today–the cake must’ve worked.

  2. Claudia

    Oh Debbie, I hope things are turning around. I’m glad you’re taking the chance to see your therapist, even if that’s the last thing you want to do. (My husband has depression, and I had post partum depression with our first child…and didn’t listen to him when he told me, again and again. It’s not fun, not great to talk about, not what you want to work on. So great job doing it anyway!). And I’m glad baking helps. If I’m not in the kitchen often enough, my mood (and my family’s) suffers. I’m glad you have an outlet, and that it helps.

    Also, I’m glad you shared the recipe. 🙂

    Prayers things turn around soon, and stay that wys for a good long while again.


  3. Carrie Havranek

    I hope you are finding some solace in therapy. And in response to something different you posted elsewhere, I just want to say you are deserving and you are good enough to feel great and achieve wonderful things. I know it takes a while to get that through our heads sometimes. It’s something I often struggle with, too, and something I just wrote about on my site.

    That aside, I was looking at this and have been thinking of something similar, but a more pronounced fall palate with pumpkin and crystallized ginger. And then I saw Claire’s post and it looks like something I made and blogged about a couple months ago–a blondie with raspberries, dark chocolate and leftover granola. Great minds think alike. Stay tuned! Who knows where this will lead us all…. Fresh cranberries rock.

    1. Debbie Koenig

      Thanks, Carrie. I saw your new post–those pumpkin bars look fantastic!

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