Cranberry and Cornmeal Cake with Caramel-Walnut Topping Sauce

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 12 min
  • Prep: 12 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan

1/2 cup yellow fine cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup orange zest (from 2 large oranges)

3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

Caramel Walnut Sauce, recipe follows

Caramel-Walnut Sauce:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, optional


  1. Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Measure 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture into a small bowl. Add the chopped cranberries and toss until coated. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolks and whole eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Using a spatula, gently fold in the cranberries.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the cake into wedges, arrange on a serving platter and serve with the Caramel Walnut Sauce. (The cake can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight in a plastic container.)

Caramel-Walnut Sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the cream, brown sugar, and butter over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and sea salt, if using. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before serving.
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