Wintery Cranberry Cake with Lemon Sponge

And here it comes, a wintery cranberry cake with lemon sponge! Pshhhhht, this was the cake I baked for the 40th birthday of my husband and it was gone so quickly! This cake is tart and so perfect for a cold winter day. Yes, you can bake this cake also during another season in case you find fresh cranberries, however, I find it particularly refreshing in winter. So as stated, you will find airy lemon sponge cake combined with cranberry filling and a light mascarpone and cream frosting. So delicious!

My hubby admits, since I bake so many cakes all the time, he has pretty high standards by now. He won’t give a cake a five-star review unless it really deserves it. I even made more cakes in 2020 and 2021 when I was preparing for the two wedding cakes I was lucky to make for friends and family. My hubby will have to try all of my cakes and if he shakes his head, I know that that particular recipe won’t make it on the blog. So you can imagine, pressure was high, this needed to be a cake that was perfect for him, even more so because of his 40th birthday. Since my husband likes anything tart, citrus and vanilla, I knew what I was looking for. He does say that this cake fulfills the requirements, so this definitely means something.

Wintery Cranberry Cake with Lemon Sponge

Serves: One 16-18cm/6 inch ∅ cake
Prep Time: 2hr 30 Cooking Time: 30min Total Time: 3hrs

This cranberry cake with lemon sponge is a refreshing cake in winter.

Ingredients

  • Lemon Sponge Cake
  • Juice and zest of one organic lemon
  • 65 grams of butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 160 grams of regular sugar, 60 grams of the egg whites and 100 grams of the egg yolks
  • 160 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams of cornstarch

  • Lemon Syrup
  • 40 grams of water
  • 40 grams of regular sugar
  • 40 grams of lemon juice

  • Cranberry Filling
  • 400 grams of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 50 grams of brown sugar (keep in mind that my husband loves it extra tart, you may need to increase the amount)
  • 4 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Cream Frosting
  • 400 grams of whipping cream
  • 90 grams of regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoon of milk powder
  • 400 grams of mascarpone

  • Decoration: fresh cranberries and another organic lemon

Instructions

1

For the lemon sponge first zest the lemon and then juice it. Melt the butter either in the microwave or a small pot, set aside. Divide the egg yolks and egg whites in two large bowls, add the sugar amounts as listed. Weigh the flour and cornstarch into a small bowl and set aside. Line two 18cm cake pans mit parchment paper, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2

First beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. You don't need stiff peaks, it is OK if they are still loose. Without cleaning your beater, mix the egg yolks with the sugar for a few minutes until pale and thicker in consistency. Sift the flour and cornstarch on top. Then add about one third of the beaten egg whites. Gently mix, then add the next third of egg whites and mix again. The last third should be added with the lemon zest, lemon juice and butter. Try to keep in as much air as possible. Divide evenly between the two cake pans and bake for about 30min. Do not open the oven door during the half hour. An inserted toothpick should come out clean. Let cool completely, then release from cake pan and cut each in half. You should have four cake layers at the end.

3

For the lemon sirup boil the water with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then add the lemon juice, stir and set aside.

4

For the cranberry filling simmer the cranberries with the sugar and orange juice for about five to ten minutes while stirring in between. The cranberries should break up and the consistency should become thicker. Only add the vanilla extract at the end. Stir and set aside. It should become even thicker after cooling.

5

For the cream beat the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla extract for about 30 seconds, then add the milk powder and beat until almost stiff. Add the mascarpone and beat until fully stiff. The mixture should be pipeable. Transfer some of the cream to a piping bag without a tip.

6

Now we will assemble the cake. First brush the first cake layer with the lemon syrup, then pipe an outer ring with the cream, this will serve as a dam, spread one third of the cranberry filling in the middle of the piped cream. Add two tablespoons of cream and spread evenly on top of the cranberries. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the whole procedure with the second and third cake layer. Place the fourth cake layer upside down so that you have a nice even and straight cake. Frost the cake thinnly with the remaining cream. Reserve about 3-4 tablespoons of cream in a piping bag with a Wilton M1 tip. Chill the cake for half an hour or overnight.

7

Shortly before serving pipe swirls all around the cake. Place a fresh cranberry on each swirl. Cut a lemon into slices and cut out triangles from a slice. Place these triangles between every second swirl. The cake can chill again and will stay moist for a few days as we used the syrup for the cake layers. The cake can also be frozen as a whole without decorations. First freeze loosely for one to two hours, then gently wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminium foil. Defrost overnight in the fridge and let come to room temperature before serving. I recommend decorating the cake shortly before serving.

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