Chocolate CRANBERRY Cointreau cake

The cherished CRANBERRY got the spa treatment....
in this deliciously moist and scrumptious torte.

This cake got lavished with...
as well as...
a spirited splash of the French...
orange flavoured liquor of COINTREAU.

If you can stand seeing just one more cranberry embellished cake...
I highly suggest you stick with me for the next few moments.

I figured, since we'll be blessed with these...
healthy 'Bouncing berries' for a while...

...one more recipe might just be what...
your repertoire was begging for ;o)

Historically the Indians gifted these tart...
little crimson gems to the Pilgrims.

which was otherwise,
once known as the...
'Bearberry' or ‘Bouncing Berry
was then further named the 'Craneberry'
The latter originated because the long pistils stemming from the pink nodding flowers had reminded them of 'cranes'. 

Later this name was finally abbreviated to the 'Cranberry' which stuck and was favoured over the 'bearberry'...a name referring to the fact that bears loved to feed these fruits.
photo credit: Soili Jussila

The very beneficial health characteristics:
Cranberry carries one of the richest
in health-promoting antioxidants
which helps protect our livers
and cardiovascular system.

Although this fruit is very high in fibre...
and in vitamin C which protects our immune system...
it is mostly incredibly high in phytonutrients.
The latter was studied with apparently...
very impressive results regarding the
cranberry's anti-inflammatory and
anti-cancer properties.  ref. here 

Cranberries by themselves would have been too tart for me to...
even consider having the desire to concoct this cake.

Therefore, in went some ingredients which...
I call my 'character' boosters:
excellent chocolate cocao pastilles from Madagascar ...
some chopped dried dates for more contrasting sweetness...
walnuts for a punch of crunchy omega-3 goodness,
orange zest for a zap of extra fragrance...
and finally all balanced off with the enhancement of...
the wonderfully smooth Cointreau (orange flavoured) liquor.

I worked with my no-fail...no beater...very reliable basic torte recipe.
This is the one I use every time I'm trying new ingredients.
For those who may notice...yes, I do rarely use A.P. flour...
however, when I’m testing a new cake recipe...I do make the exception.
Later on, when I’m satisfied with the results...
I usually experiment with gluten-free flours etc.

For now, I didn’t want this succeeded torte to go under the radar...
because, it turned out too fabulous not to share with all of you. 
Happy festive baking ;o)

Chocolate CRANBERRY Cointreau
torte cake
serves 8-10 persons
NO electric beater required ;o)


(American / Metric measures)

. 1 cup (150g) unbleached All-Purpose flour*
. 1 cup (210g) granulated sugar
. 1/4 cup (55g) brown sugar
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking powder
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) baking soda
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon spice
. pinch of sea salt
. 2 cups [9oz. weight] / (250g) fresh Cranberries (frozen can also be used)
. 1/2 cup (75g) dried dates, coarsely chopped
. 1/2 cup (90g) bittersweet (65%) chocolate pastilles **
(or other premium chocolate chips)
. 1/2 cup (80g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
. 1 medium orange, finely zested
. 1/2 cup (120ml) grapeseed oil *** (canola is fine)
. 1/4 cup (60ml) Cointreau liquor **** {orange-flavoured liqueur}
. 2 xLarge eggs

* The FLOUR content can have half of it replaced by another flour like: whole wheat or spelt flour.

** The CHOCOLATE pastilles I use are from the French Chocolate house of Michel Cluizel.  My preference is a 65% bittersweet cacao from Madagascar.

*** The OIL content can be lightened by replacing half by an applesauce or prune purée.

**** Cointreau LIQUOR is a blend of sweet as well as bitter orange peels with a pure alcohol from sugar beets. This premium liquor with over 150 year history is prized for its unique aromatics and flavour. It is in reality a brand of Triple Sec liquor produced since 1875. It is produced on the West coast of France in the town of Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou, suburb of Angers.
It can be substituted for: Grand Marnier, Orange Brandy, Marie Brizard-Orange Curacao.
. Although the Cointreau liquor gives this cake an extra depth...one could also substitute it for a NON-ALCOHOLIC choice such as a very concentrated Orange juice.

. Use a shallow, round sized 10 x 2in. (26 x 5cm) corning ware or similar cake pan.
. Pre-heat oven at 350F/180C/Gas4
. Position oven rack on 2nd level from the bottom.

1. In a large bowl, hand whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  
2. With the aid of a spatula, to the flour mix, add and fold the following in this particular order so that each ingredient gets properly coated.    First, put in the sticky chopped dates.  Continue and repeat the process with the cranberries, chocolate, walnuts and orange zest.
3. Once everything is well separated and coated with flour, add the oil, liquor and the unbeaten eggs.
4. Lastly, with the spatula, combine the batter by folding and mixing just until there are no traces of flour left.  Do not over-mix.   Pour batter and spread into the well oiled cake pan.
. Bake the cake for 45 minutes if using a light colored pan.  However, if darker pan is used, a 50 minute baking is sufficient.
.  When the cake is taken out of the oven, have it rest on a metal rack for at least 1 hour before serving. 
. Note: You can keep the cake out at room temperature for 3 days with no worry of spoiling.  This cake, sliced largely, will also freeze very well.   Just take out of the freezer and warm pieces in a very low heat oven temperature .  Serve and enjoy.

If you've used up most of the fresh cranberries...
I urge you to stock up so that you can benefit from their incredible healthy goodness.
Get your cranberries before they run out.

Hopefully you'll have a chance to try a big morsel of this cake too ;o)
Happy festive baking and flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

 Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

More CAKE TORTE recipes that may inspire you:
. APPLE cranberry SAMBUCA maple cake
. CLEMENTINE CHOCO NUT flourless torte cake
. FIG and NUT torte cake and Gluten Free
. PEACH berry Grand Marnier cake
. PINEAPPLE SPICE reversed CAKE torte